The dairy sector is evolving globally. Competition from non-animal produced food alternatives, including possible difficulties presented by synthetic milk, is one of the disruptions.
Cows or other animals are not necessary for synthetic milk. Although it is generated using a cutting-edge biotechnology method known as “precision fermentation,” which creates biomass cultivated from cells, it can have the same biochemical composition as animal milk.
More than 80 percent of the world’s population routinely consume dairy products. More and more people are urging us to switch from animal-based food systems to more environmentally friendly ones.
Dairy milk is available in synthetic forms without having to worry about methane emissions or animal welfare. But for it to be a just, sustainable, and practical replacement for milk derived from animals, it must overcome several obstacles and difficulties.
No sci-fi or fantasy
Megatrends in the global dairy industry were the focus of my most recent study. Possibly synthetic milks as well as plant-based milks have emerged as a major challenge.
Synthetic milk is marketed as having the same flavor, appearance, and texture as regular dairy milk, in contrast to synthetic meat, which sometimes struggles to match the richness and texture of animal flesh.
There is already synthetic milk; it is not a sci-fi fiction. For instance, the Perfect Day firm sells microflora-based, animal-free protein in the US, which is subsequently used to produce milk, protein powder, and ice cream.
Synthetic milk is being developed in Australia by the startup business Eden Brew in Werribee, Victoria. The business aims to appeal to consumers who are becoming more and more worried about climate change, particularly the role that methane from dairy cows plays.
The Eden Brew product’s technology was supposedly created by CSIRO. The same proteins present in cow milk are produced using “precise fermentation” in a process that begins with yeast.
According to CSIRO, these proteins offer milk many of its essential qualities and help explain its creamy texture and capacity for foaming. The finished product is made by combining the protein basis with flavors, sweeteners, and other additives.
direction of a new food system?
Additionally in Australia, All G Foods collected AU$25 million last month to speed up the manufacture of their synthetic milk. The business aims to make its synthetic milk more affordable than cow milk in seven years.
The dairy business might be significantly disrupted if the synthetic milk sector can consistently meet its cost objectives. It may lead people further away from conventional animal husbandry and toward utterly new food systems.
According to a 2019 research on the future of dairy, the US precision fermentation sector will provide at least 700,000 employment by 2030.
Additionally, if artificial milk can take the place of dairy as an ingredient in the industrial food processing industry, this might pose serious difficulties for businesses that make milk powder for the ingredient market.
Some conventional dairy businesses are hopping on board.
For instance, the New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra this week launched a collaborative venture to research and market “fermentation-derived proteins with dairy-like qualities.” The Australian dairy cooperative Norco is also supporting the Eden Brew initiative.
The whey forward in synthetic milk?
Before it poses a serious threat to dairy products derived from animals, the synthetic milk market must expand tremendously. A significant amount of money will be needed for this, as well as investments in research and development and new production equipment such fermentation tanks and bioreactors.
The Global South currently produces more traditional animal milk than the Global North, partly as a result of Asia’s explosive expansion. The conventional dairy sector is certainly not going away anytime soon.
And artificial milk is not a miracle cure. Although the technology has great promise to improve the environment and animal welfare, it also presents difficulties and possible drawbacks.
Alternative proteins, for instance, don’t always go against the homogeneity or corporatization of traditional industrial agriculture. As a result, large synthetic milk manufacturers may discourage the development of low-tech, small-scale, and alternative dairy systems.
Synthetic milk may also push many more workers out of the global dairy industry. What happens to dairy farmers if traditional dairy co-ops, such as those in Australia and New Zealand, switch to synthetic milk?
We must take precautions to prevent perpetuating present disparities in the current food system as synthetic milk grows popularity in the future years.
And the conventional dairy industry has to understand that a significant shift is about to occur. It should maximize the social advantages of animal-based dairy while minimizing its impact on climate change in the face of several threats.