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Food Tech: Plant-Based Alternatives to Meat and Dairy

The future of food is plant-based. Here are 11 start-ups working on innovative plant-based (and lab created) meat and dairy alternatives.

We have a beef with the meat and dairy industry.

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, meat and dairy account for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Just one kilogram of beef requires 25 kg of feed, 20,000 litres of water and produces 22 kg of greenhouse gases. In fact one-third of all freshwater that humans consume goes to livestock, which then produce more environmental pollution than all the cars worldwide.

One of the most significant ways to reduce carbon emissions is to shift towards a plant-based diet. In a study published in Science journal researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent. The study's lead author Joseph Poore said: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use."

Fortunately, veganism, and plant based diets, have gone from being a fringe movement to mainstream. Issues of health, animal welfare and concern over climate change is driving more people to switch to a more sustainable and compassionate diet, with more and more food companies creating animal-free products to meet increasing demand.

The global market for sustainable meat alternatives is the fastest growing segment of the food industry and according to a Barclay’s report, it’s expected to reach US$140 billion annually by 2030. We’ve followed the skyward trajectory of plant-based milk companies like Califia and Oatly, and seen Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat extend their reach to everything from restaurants, supermarket shelves, and popular fast food chains (finally a vegan burger on your junk food cheat day). It seems that every week we see another food tech start-up, as companies develop bio-identical meat and dairy products.

The future of food is plant based. Here are 11 start-ups working on innovative plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.


Based out of Sonoma California, Miyoko’s Creamery makes creamy, palm-oil free, non-GMO, organic and 100% vegan cheese. Founded by chef, Miyoko Schinner, known as the 'Queen of Vegan Cheese', Miyoko's has won more awards than you can shake a cheese stick at. Crafted with organic cashews, Miyoko’s range extends to Mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese in a variety of flavours, as well as a delicious cultured vegan butter which cooks, melts and spreads like its dairy counterpart. Miyoko is also the founder of Rancho Compassion which provides a lifelong home to rescued farm animals.


California-based food tech company, Perfect Day, made headlines this year when it closed an incredible US$300 million Series C funding round for its fermentation dairy. The company has partnered with brands to bring you plant-based cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. Their plant-whey based ice cream from Ice Age has to be tried to be believed. You will never go back to cow’s milk ice cream again.


The latest animal-free product to come from process fermentation is honey. Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and then convert that into building blocks of honey—fructose and glucose. MeliBio simulates a bee’s work in the lab using microorganisms instead of bees resulting in biologically identical honey, replicating the taste, texture and mouthful of real honey.


Israel-based food tech company, Redefine Meat, makes plant-based meats that look and taste like the real thing. They apply proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modelling and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the appearance, texture and flavour of whole muscle meat—minus the cruelty and negative environmental impact. The process also reportedly uses 90 percent less water and emits 90 percent less carbon dioxide, and products are 100% vegan, contain zero cholesterol and are more affordable compared to animal meat.


This London based start-up is developing milk and cheese through yeast fermentation, in much the same way that yeast produces beer. The London-based company is currently in the R&D stages of developing products that are “molecularly identical” to traditional dairy without using animals as part of the production process.


Boston based ingredient start up, Motif Foods, uses biotechnology to recreate proteins from dairy, eggs and meat for use in animal-based product alternatives. They are currently working on new ways to make that connective tissue using plant-based substitutes, and a plant-based fat that has all the attributes of animal based fat.


San Francisco-based Clara Foods is hoping to become the world’s biggest egg protein producer by 2028 by using proprietary fermentation technology to create a product that tastes, has the same texture and functionality as animal derived eggs. They have also created the world’s first animal free pepsin—traditionally derived from pig stomachs— an ingredient in the manufacturing of many modern products consumers ingest daily.


San Francisco-based Eat Just develops plant-based alternatives to conventionally-produced egg products, such as scrambled eggs made from mung beans, and mayo made from a variant of the Canadian yellow pea. The company is also working on lab-grown meat products.


Israeli company, Remilk, uses microbial fermentation technology to recreate dairy proteins without cows, which can then be used to develop a range of dairy products, from a milk alternative that mimics the nutritional profile and taste of real cow’s milk to cheeses, yogurts and dairy dips. It requires 5% of the resources and produces 1% of the waste compared to old-fashioned dairy, and is 100% cruelty-free.


This Berkley, California-based start-up was founded by a former astrophysicist and data scientist at Google, SpaceX and plant-based food tech giant Impossible Foods. Climax Foods harnesses data science technology to solve the complex problem of removing animals from the food system to make sustainable diets accessible and affordable for all.


Hong Kong has the highest pork consumption per capita in the world. OmniFoods, the food tech arm of Hong Kong-based Green Monday, is the company behind OmniPork, a plant based mince pork that is a favourite for dumplings . The brand has also recently launched a vegan Spam substitute called OmniPork Luncheon which is now available in McDonald’s across Hong Kong and Macau.


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