FRANCE – Paris-based foodtech company Standing Ovation, backed by dairy major Bel Group, has successfully raised US$3.2M in funding to accelerate the industrialization of its precision fermentation process for non-animal casein production.

The patented technology developed by Standing Ovation aims to produce casein, a key protein in milk responsible for the stretch and melt properties in cheese, through precision fermentation using genetically programmed organisms.

The funding, which includes €2 million (with €1.2 million as a grant) from a French government program supporting agri-food resilience and technological innovation, and a €1 million loan from public investment bank BPI France, will propel Standing Ovation’s project over the next 20 months.

The foodtech company entered into a strategic partnership with the Bel Group in 2022, as part of the Babybel maker’s commitment to enhancing its portfolio of plant-based and non-animal cheese and dairy alternatives.

The collaboration, supported by Bel Group’s financial backing and equity stake in Standing Ovation, aims to develop dairy alternatives with improved protein content.

The first products resulting from this collaboration are anticipated to launch in 2024, starting in the US where regulations allow for the marketing of precision fermentation-derived dairy, with plans to expand to Europe pending favorable regulatory developments.

In addition to the funding secured in 2022, Standing Ovation’s latest financial boost of €3 million will be dedicated to industrializing the production of non-dairy casein.

The company’s objective is to establish a purification line of proteins obtained through precision fermentation, enabling the first industrial production of ingredients for dairy products.

The innovative approach aims to contribute to the food transition while minimizing the environmental impact of the dairy ingredients industry.

“BPI France’s strong support is helping us to drive the industrial deployment of the unique process developed by Standing Ovation, an important step before the upcoming commercialization of our ingredients,” Romain Chayot, CEO and co-founder of Standing Ovation stated.

As analysts predict precision fermentation to offer a sustainable alternative to traditional dairy farming, Standing Ovation’s focus on reducing the environmental impact aligns with broader industry trends.

With investments increasingly directed towards precision fermentation protein production, the company noted that the market is witnessing a shift towards innovative and sustainable solutions, highlighting the potential for hybrid products that combine plant-based elements with dairy-identical proteins.

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