Animal-free dairy: Could this be the future of milk?
The Food Programme · 28 minutes ·

Animal-free dairy: Could this be the future of milk?

Dairy alternatives with real milk proteins but no use of cows are now becoming a reality. In the US you can now buy animal-free dairy ice cream, and around the world scientists and food technologists are aiming to create lab-cultured dairy products indistinguishable from the real thing. This is possible through precision fermentation, a process which uses genetically engineered microbes to grow the proteins in a bioreactor, which is how insulin and rennet are already produced. The proteins are then separated and used to create products like milk and cheese from scratch.

Companies creating precision fermentation-made dairy believe it could play an important part in reducing the environmental impact of traditional dairy production, and provide a much needed source of alternative protein. But as this new industry emerges it’s still not known how consumers will take to animal free dairy, and if it can scale up enough to make the products widely available and affordable to make an impact.

In this programme, Leyla Kazim visits a company in London creating an animal-free cheese, and asks if it can ever be the same as a traditionally-made product. And as this new industry grows – how far could it go in making dairy more sustainable?

Presented by Leyla Kazim and produced by Sophie Anton for BBC Audio in Bristol

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