AUSTRALIA – Global dairy nutrition company Fonterra has succeeded to interject the plant-based startup Perfect Day filing for a patent for manufacturing dairy substitutes.

In September 2019, the Australian patent office accepted the startup’s application while Fonterra opposed it on the grounds of inutility, insufficiency, lack of inventive steps, and lack of support.

In the ruling, IP Australia has rejected the patent application of animal-free dairy and protein company Perfect Day on two grounds.

The Australian agency of the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science stated that the patent fell short in terms of flavor and form derivative dairy products such as cream, cheese, yogurt, or butter when subjected to the same processes used on dairy milk.

In addition, it claims to disclose compositions having a similar taste, aroma, mouth feel, and nutritional value to dairy milk but lacking one or more of the components of mammal-produced milk, using only whey proteins without casein.

Perfect Day’s food tech features fermentative production of alternative dairy proteins and lipids with dairy-like properties.

The patent’s scope would have included two major whey proteins, β-lactoglobulin (~65 percent) and α-lactalbumin (~25 percent) when produced by fungal culture in its food composition.

Still, the plant-based startup can appeal the decision, but the chances look of winning are slim, with the judge noted: “Under the circumstances, I see no means by which the applicant [Perfect Day] could amend the specification to overcome the deficiencies identified.

However, I will provide the applicant two months from the date of this decision to file amendments to attempt to overcome the deficiencies.”

Perfect Day in recent years has grown to be a big player in the alt-milk market category, with several partners that have led to launches.

In June, the company partnered with Strive Nutrition Corp. to launch a line of milk alternatives enriched with animal-free whey protein in the US.

The lead product will be Strive FREE MILK Whole, an animal-free milk alternative that whips, foams, blends, cooks, and tastes like the real thing, according to Strive Nutrition, while also offering 25% more protein, 75% less sugar, and less saturated fat than regular whole cow’s milk.

This market space has also been the FISHING grounds for its peer, Fonterra, which has partnered with Dutch nutrition and bioscience company Royal DSM to accelerate its move towards manufacturing alt-dairy products using precision fermentation, with patents already filed.

The two companies already in their 3 years of strategic collaboration, formed a joint venture that will enable the acceleration of commercial product solutions utilizing the duo’s intellectual property while continuing to focus further on precision fermentation research and development.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.