NewMoo Emerges from Stealth Using Plant Seeds as ‘Bioreactors’ to Grow Casein Proteins for Animal-Free Dairy

NewMoo has emerged from stealth mode, unveiling a plant molecular farming platform for producing caseins in agricultural plant seeds. “Our approach doesn’t require expensive bioreactor machinery to grow our proteins. The plant seeds themselves act as bioreactors,” explains the Israeli startup.

Considered the “holy grail” of milk structure by the dairy industry, caseins are responsible for the taste and functional properties consumers love about cheese: melting, stretching, and bubbling.

“Making previously animal-based foods from non-animal sources is a win-win situation”

NewMoo claims that its caseins are equivalent to cow-derived proteins in terms of nutrition, composition, and functionality. By utilizing plants instead of cows for production, NewMoo offers a cost-effective, animal-free, and sustainable method for creating a wide range of dairy products, including cheese.

Daphna Miller, NewMoo co-founder and CEO, comments, “This method of making previously animal-based foods from non-animal sources is a win-win situation. It benefits the consumers, the dairy producers, farmers, the health- and animal welfare-conscious flexitarians, and the global climate.”

Image courtesy of NewMoo

Empowering cheesemakers

Founded in 2021, NewMoo brings together a diverse team of experts in plant molecular genetics and product development within the dairy and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. The co-founder team includes CEO Miller, VP of Food Development Hod Yanover, CSO Yulia Fridman-Timaner, and Chairman Aviad Maizels.

The company has raised $7 million in seed funding led by Lool and Zora Ventures. With the capital, the company has assembled a highly skilled team, advanced the R&D process for seed development, and established the downstream processing of a liquid casein product instead of powder for cheesemaking, which helps streamline production and go-to-market.

Regarding protein production, NewMoo says it has established a straightforward production method, which allows it to be implemented smoothly and efficiently on a larger scale to meet demand.

Yanover comments, “We empower cheesemakers to create delectable and nutritious guilt-free products with ease and at no added costs.”

Miller shares, “As opposed to current precision fermentation practices, our approach doesn’t require expensive bioreactor machinery to grow our proteins. The plant seeds themselves act as bioreactors. This gives us the flexibility to produce these complex proteins in abundance and at exceptional cost parity.”

NewMoo team
NewMoo team © Tal Shahar

“Setting the cow free”

The Israeli startup explains that plant molecular farming is a highly efficient, cost-effective technology that “sets the cow free” from industrial milk production while sequestering carbon during natural cultivation. Therefore, casein development through plants is a more sustainable source of milk proteins.

As the global cheese market is projected to reach over $120.2 billion by 2028, many food tech companies are working to develop more sustainable dairy proteins. The Israeli startups Finally Foods and Pigmentum also focus on producing casein via plant molecular farming. Meanwhile, leveraging precision fermentation and its land-free possibilities, the Israeli firms Remilk and Imagindairy are developing fermented proteins to remove cows from the dairy industry.

Miller adds, “NewMoo’s caseins can form the basis for a cheese that has the exact melting and stretching behavior as animal dairy cheese, and delivers the typical aroma, flavor, and texture that cheese eaters crave.”

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