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Danone takes minority stake in Israeli alt protein start-up Imagindairy

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Danone, the food conglomerate from France, has made a strategic investment in Israeli startup Imagindairy through its corporate venture arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures. This is Danone’s first foray into non-animal dairy and its second investment in alternative dairy within a month.The business has acquired a minority share in Imagindairy, which specialises in the production of animal-free dairy proteins using precision fermentation technology.

Imagindairy’s follow-on investment to a $28 million round

 

Drs. Arie Abo and Eyal Afergan founded Imagindairy in 2020, and the company has already secured $28 million in seed investment. The company is looking forward to entering the US market with its whey protein. In addition, it is developing a range of other dairy proteins, including casein proteins and alpha-lactalbumin.

 

Danone’s investment will provide strategic and operational support to Imagindairy, paving the way for potential future collaborations between the two companies. Danone is already active in plant-based dairy with Silk, Alpro and So Delicious. However, this investment in Imagindairy signals the company’s interest in diversifying its dairy offering by exploring the emerging non-animal dairy sector.

 

Danone has an appetite for early state alt protein start-ups

 

This action comes after Danone recently invested $2 million in Wilk, an Israeli business that replicates human breast milk for the infant formula market using cell-based technology. The partnership between Danone and Imagindairy is expected to be multi-faceted, with the investment on the one hand and discussions to establish collaboration with R&D teams create items without using animals.

 

This partnership might result in a business arrangement between the two organisations once the ideal product, cost, pricing, and taste are in place.

 

Precision fermentation and alt proteins become increasingly interesting for multinationals

 

This investment in Imagindairy, together with the investment in Wilk, signals the market viability of alternative dairy products and the likelihood of further collaborations with Danone.

 

Other multinational giants such as General Mills, Bel Brands, Starbucks, Nestlé and Mars have also partnered with precision fermentation producers such as US-based Perfect Day to develop animal-free dairy products.

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