Cell-Culture Startup Working on World’s First Cow-Free Yogurt
Israeli startup Wilk aims to develop the world’s first cell-cultured yogurt.
The foodtech/biotech company aims to replicate dairy yogurt – and all of its beneficial properties – without the direct involvement of cows.
Founded in 2018, Wilk currently holds patents on laboratory production processes that replicate the milk-producing cells to create 100 percent real milk and milk components in laboratory settings.
Their yogurt will be the first food product to incorporate a cell-cultured milk ingredient according to a statement from the company, and will serve as proof of the viability of its technology to minimize the need to use animals in future dairy production.
Co-founders Dr. Nurit Argov-Argaman and Maggie Levy, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, grow lab-cultured animal milk directly from milk-producing mammary cells in an artificial environment. The company was originally called Biomilk.
The yogurt will retain the nutritional benefits only found in real milk fats, including the full complement of essential macro and micronutrients.
The Wilk project, to develop a concept product, is expected to last approximately six months.
Wilk is also working to accelerate the production of cultured human milk components that will be integrated into infant formula to develop products that are optimized for infants’ growth and development.