I'm Matt Gibson, I co-founded New Culture with Inja Radman. We are a startup that uses precision fermentation to make real dairy proteins with microbes. We then use those dairy proteins to make delicious dairy cheese that has all the cheesiness you would expect from any conventional animal-derived cheese but with none of the environmental, ethical, or unwanted ingredient (lactose, cholesterol) drawbacks.

The reason why we're starting with cheese is that it is by far the most unsustainable dairy product in terms of GHG emissions, land usage and water usage. But what makes cheese even worse is that fact that the sustainable cheese alternatives (plant-based cheeses) do such a poor job at replicating the dairy cheese experience that no mainstream cheese consumer is buying them. Plant-based cheese has captured less then 1% of the US cheese market compared to plant-based milk that has captured ~15%. This is obviously a big problem due to how unsustainable dairy cheese ise

What we discovered is that dairy proteins, specifically casein protein, are responsible for all the cheese attributes we love, think about the stretch and melt of mozzarella, the crumbliness of feta, the crumbliness of parmesan, the gooeniss of brie - that is all due to casein protein. So if we can make animal-free casein with fermentation, we can make a delicious cheese with all the other ingrediants remaining plant-based (sugars, fats). And that's exactly what we are doing

Our first cheese is mozzarella for pizza and we are already making a lot of it :) We are planning to launch in pizzeria's in 2023 but also have showcases of our cheese next year

See photos/videos of our cheese in action on our Instagram or LinkedIn!


EDIT: As it has come up a bit, we are definitely hiring, see our careers page here and keep in touch as we will be announcing new jobs in the coming weeks

Comments: 2182 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

Moejoejojoe1805 karma

So with no cattle to feed or land to keep them on will the cost of this cheese be far less than real cheese or are you going for a "healthier" margin?

supercaz2581 karma

It will eventually undercut the price of animal-derived dairy. However, it will take a few years to get there. So we will be a premium product to start with and eventually as we scale our process and optimize we will bring the costs down

RobloxianNoob890 karma

So, is this technically vegan?

supercaz772 karma


Able1223590 karma

This is awesome! I am a chemist with a lot of experience with proteins in the Bay Area and would love to get involved with something like this. Are you currently hiring? I would love to talk to you about it.

supercaz507 karma

Yes!! We just closed our Series A and are hiring for a bunch of science, engineering and non-technical roles in the Bay Area. Check out our careers page and give us a follow as we will be announcing new roles over the coming weeks and early next year

rudbek-of-rudbek239 karma

If you have positions open for professional taste testers I can begin immediately. Will work for food and maybe a place to sleep underneath one of the desks after everyone goes home (if I can bring my cat)

supercaz116 karma

Haha yes one day we will

frix86296 karma

I'm from Wisconsin, if you haven't heard, we love our cheese. How easy will it be to scale your products to a mass market scale? Also, would someone be able to tell the difference between the two in a side by side taste test?

supercaz445 karma

Wisconsin makes a LOT of cheese :) To get to the quantities that Wisconsin produces we will need a decade. However we will not be doing this alone and there are plenty of other companies to help transition people to animal-free dairy.

People will not/have not been able to tell our cheese apart

MaHarryButt270 karma

What's the most challenging/most painful/most expensive part of the process for developing the right microbes to take in feedstock and produce a desired output?

It seems there's growing traction with eco friendly production with microbes, and I wonder if tech can help significantly accelerate that process

supercaz402 karma

The 'developing' of the microbes for casein protein production is very difficult due to the uniqueness of casein itself (it is what you call an intrinsically disordered (unstructured) protein whereas most other proteins have a structure). Once you have developed and optimized a casein-producing microbe, taking that microbe into fermentation is where the costs start to play a large factor. We need to scale to >100,000L fermentation tanks to really get the economies of scale and those tanks are expensive to run and build.

mano-vijnana260 karma

Cheese contains far more organic compounds and minerals than just casein. Are you planning to produce many of these with microbes as well?

supercaz180 karma

Only if needed, there is a LOT of small molecules in milk and most are not needed from a functional or health/nutrition perspective.

brigstan225 karma

Is your goal to make a wide variety of cheeses? What will the price point be for them?

supercaz405 karma

Yes! We will eventually expand our product line with new cheeses. The beauty of casein is that it can make any cheese we want. Mozzarella is the most consumed cheese in the US with the worst plant-based alternatives so we see it as a great first product. Where to from there however is an open question to us. We can do cheddar or more of an aged cheese 🧀

brigstan94 karma

What are all the ingredients in the mozzarella?

supercaz277 karma

Very simple: Protein (casein), Fats (plant-based), some salts and minerals you would naturally find in cows milk (calcium phosphate etc), and some carbohydrates

brigstan153 karma

Do you need volunteer taste testers?

supercaz165 karma

Soon... 😄

Laserdollarz192 karma

Is there any product you can make with this that wouldn't be feasible with bovine-derived casein?

supercaz264 karma

Great question! I think there certainly is for a number of reasons. Bovine-derived casein is composed of 4 different casein proteins (alpha s1, alpha s2, bovine and kappa) each with a unique functionality. Making only a few of these proteins instead of all four unlocks new and interesting protein/cheese behaviors that you simply can't get with bovine casein.

Laserdollarz75 karma

Actually, I have a follow up questions if you're still in the thread!

Would there be any non-cheese application for mass-produced custom casein protein isolates like that? Body builders could use custom proteins probably, I'm sure there's some health or beauty products that would like it.

If you had a target molecule in mind, could you produce it via fermentation with industrial processing in mind? I attempted a Pickering emulsion last year and in my research read about some neat compounds from mushrooms that are prohibitively expensive to extract.

supercaz93 karma

100% we can find the specific variant the degrades/digests faster or slower for example for bodybuilding.

WorldBelongsToUs151 karma

As someone who strives for a plant-based diet, but has to suffer with weird non animal-based cheeses, I really look forward to this.

Realistically, when do you hope to have it generally available throughout the US? (i.e. I can go to my local grocer and pick it up by the cheese section.)

supercaz151 karma

2023 for commercial launch and some limited showcases in 2022. We are targeting food-service first so you would go into your local pizzeria and order a Margherita with new culture cheese on it. A 'New Culture Margherita' 🍕

grammarpopo136 karma

I am a PhD microbiologist who has worked on dairies, specifically methane production in dairy “lagoons.” It is an extremely difficult industry - for the cattle, the farm workers, the owners, and the environment. I would give up all cow-derived dairy in a New York minute if you can come even close to the cheese experience. Have you considered culturing mammary gland cells and producing milk that way (probably a pipe dream)? Also, I need non-dairy milk and cream and I will be a very happy person. Yes, I’ve tried the nut milk etc., but it just doesn’t do the job. Are you considering trying to crack that nut so to speak?

Automod: I hope this is sufficiently “questiony” for you such that this post is not deleted.

supercaz149 karma

Yes we explored culturing mammary gland cells, however i'm sure you can appreciate the difficulty and cost of growing mammalian cells vs microbial cells. We think the cost simply can't come down enough with the mammalian cell route. Once technology advances sufficiently enough this will be a viable approach

Serious_Minute8410112 karma

Can this process eventually be used for all dairy products, in theory?

supercaz198 karma

Yes!! We could make Yogurt, Ice Cream, Milk with our animal-free casein. Cheese is our first choice for the reasons listed in the description. Casein can also be used as a functional ingredient for things such as emulsification so we have opportunities beyond the dairy isle

AerosolHubris40 karma

I got the impression from your post that your cheese is lactose-free. Isn't lactose necessary for making yogurt?

Snuffleysnoot60 karma

No, you can use other types of sugar.

supercaz78 karma

Correct! Most disaccharides will work

GingerAvenger4evah89 karma

I have Alpha gal Syndrome, more commonly know as “the red meat allergy” caused by a tick bite. Will these products also be carrageenan free, as most individuals with AGS have severe reactions to this ingredient that mimics the structure of alpha galactose 1,3?

supercaz81 karma

Yes it is carrageenan free :)

v8jet86 karma

I have absolutely no knowledge of this so this might be an obvious question: Does the FDA define what cheese is? And can you call your product "cheese?" Will there be a conflict and the FDA decide that it needs a different name?

How would a consumer know if it's dairy cheese or your cheese used on a product?


supercaz90 karma

Yes, there are specifications and definitions of cheese by both the FDA and the USDA. That is why a lot of plant-based mozzarella for example are not called cheese they are called 'shreds' for example. We definitely will have to do some lobbying to get both the FDA and USDA to understand the times are changing and new definitions are needed

erewok73 karma

I think a lot of members of communities with widespread food allergies would be interested in this. Although it sounds unsafe(?) for people with dairy allergies, I imagine people with nut allergies or celiac or allergies to the top-12 food allergens would be interested: are you planning to have your products certified as allergen-free or gluten-free?

supercaz127 karma

Casein proteins are natively allergenic to a certain sub-population so we can't call it allergy-free quite yet. What we can look to do eventually is to eventually remove the allergenic epitopes from the protein (that have already been mapped) and eventually be able to provide our cheese with no restrictions to anyone.

TurboTBag72 karma

What is your biggest regret in life, Matt?

supercaz171 karma

Not seeing Prince or David Bowie live before their passing

young_otis66 karma

I own a vegan pizzeria in Portland, OR. What is your distribution going to be like? I’m very interested in trying this!

supercaz51 karma

We will be partnering with select pizzerias first. Give us a message and we'll get in contact!

young_otis29 karma

Awesome! What platform should I message on?

supercaz31 karma

Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram will all work

Zkenny1360 karma

Can you make cheeses that require the substance from calfs? Like parmasan?

supercaz101 karma

We can make any cheese we want. Any molecule that lends a specific attribute to the cheese product outside of casein can be made using the same technology we are using to make casein.

h0vi47 karma

Does it taste good?

RemoveNo404643 karma

Are you guys publicly traded?

supercaz38 karma

Not yet!

wildfire39339 karma

Have you looked at all into Kosher certification and supervision? Obviously this isn't going to be your foremost concern, but it is very likely this would be considered "paerve" (not containing meat or dairy) and as such it would bypass the usual restriction of combining with meat for those who observe Kosher laws. Kosher certification would then open up this market which would have extra incentive to partake, as even non-Vegan observant Jews would want this to be able to have a meat pizza or cheeseburger that's otherwise out of reach.

supercaz27 karma


KaneHau33 karma

I'm casein intolerant... I wonder to what degree your cheese would work for me.

Is this available for purchase?

supercaz122 karma

Unfortunately our v1 products would still give you the same reaction as we are making identical casein protein. However, we know the epitopes on the protein that cause allergenic and inflammatory reactions so a v2 product would likely be something you would be able to consume :). Will be available for purchase in 2023!

Sean_Patrick32 karma

Are your cheeses lactose free? I love cheese but it makes me fart something awful

supercaz91 karma

lol fortunately for you and any housemates you may have, our cheese is 100% lactose-free 💨 Two thirds of the world are lactose intolerant so we are really unlocking this delicious product to the majority of the world

rustedsandals29 karma

How do the inputs for these products compare to traditional dairy? Particularly in terms of land use intensity?

supercaz36 karma

We are yet to do a substancial life cycle analysis but from our internal work, we expect at least orders of magnitude less

yanxigong28 karma

Any way to sign up to test the cheese, or public to visit the showcases of the cheese in 2022?

What’s the latest valuation from the recent raise?

Any plans for direct to consumer sales of the cheese?

supercaz29 karma

You can join our tasting waitlist on our website! www.newculturefood.com

Can't talk about valuation unfortunately

D2C is a possibility for a few one-off product showcases

BubblesAndRainbows28 karma

Where does the actual cheesy flavour come from in cow-based cheese? And if the flavour is not casein molecule derived, what options do you have in terms of replicating the taste of dairy in your cheese?

Also, how does dairy cheese melt?

(I am so excited about your product, and hope you’ll come to Canada in the future!)

supercaz38 karma

Great question! The flavor can come from two main areas (protein and fat) but specifically the degradation products of those two areas. When proteins in cheese are broken down by enzymes/starter culture they become peptides that have certain flavor properties. Furthermore when fat breaks down and goes through things such as lipolysis they also provide sensory properties such as smells.

Melt comes from the interaction of casein/fats

Che006326 karma

Hey u/supercaz, could you please upload more substantial proof within the next 30 minutes please? See the relevant section of https://kb.askmeanythi.ng/en/FAQ . A photo of your identity with your reddit username would be sufficient.

EDIT: OP has provided confidential proof.

supercaz7 karma

Submitted proof via the AMA website

supercaz1 karma

Can I direct message to you?

Irrealist21 karma

I'm guessing you're based in the US. It's probably too early to tell, but do you have any plans to expand to Europe or other regions?

supercaz25 karma

Yes we are based in the Bay Area, the US is our first market but Europe is definitely in the future expansion plans!

UpSaltOS20 karma

Hi Matt, thanks for putting together this AMA. My name is Bryan and I’m a consulting food scientist for the plant-based food industry. Many of the feedstocks for the fermentation-derived ingredients come from highly defined bio-materials, such as sugars, amino acids, etc. Do you believe there is an opportunity in the future to close the loop by sourcing these components from food wastes or food sidestreams that are underutilized?

supercaz16 karma

Yes 100%, but I believe that is a bit further off then some people say. Precision is incredible important for this technology and so being able to develop a versatile and robust bioprocess that can withstand variations in feedstock that will come from sidestreams/waste is no mean feat. It can be done but more work is needed

Che006319 karma

In the plant-based meat industry, there seems to be a lot of reluctance for people not interested in artificial meat - do you think the cheese industry faces the same issue?
If so, what do you think is the best way to break down the barrier of the stereotype of artificial foods being "inferior" simply because they are artificially created?

supercaz28 karma

Great question. There are a number of ways to answer that. If you think about cheese it is already a processed product (you are taking milk and adding bacteria/enzymes to it to make cheese) so it doesn't have the same 'natural' bar as meat for example. Uniquely for cheese the gap in quality between animal-derived dairy cheese and plant based cheese is so large that consumers will be more adoptive of an animal-free product that can close that gap. The same can't be said for meat with great substitutes existing already in the market such as impossible and beyond. Lastly I think the alternative protein market sentient will change drastically over the next 10 years as companies like New Culture and others show how good products made using precision fermentation can really be :)

Snowchain-x219 karma

In your fermentation process are you able to screen what casein protein is utilized, as there is thought to be quite a difference in health outcomes between the consumption of casein A and casein B proteins?

Man I really hope this works out for you and the company. You'll be doing the planet a major service!! Thank you!!!!

supercaz23 karma

Yes we can deliberately choose to produce any specific casein out of the four different types of casein protein (alpha s1, alpha s2, beta and kappa) and within that chosen casein, a specific variant.

maxorange918 karma

Hey Matt! Two questions, do you forsee any issues of scaling up, I am assuming it may be a different process of making 1lb of cheese or protein vs 1M lbs?

Also have you tried perfect days ice cream? Thoughts on that and how do you think your proteins could differ in ice cream?

supercaz16 karma

Scale-up is an extremely tough engineering problem. Fortunately for cheese it is a solved problem and also for precision fermentation

Perfect Days icecream is great!

mineNombies16 karma

You say the cheese you make lacks lactose.

Lactose is technically a sugar right? So do you need to add sugar, or other sweetener to make the cheese not taste bitter (or not sweet enough)?

supercaz24 karma

Nope, suagar is only needed if we want to 'culture' and age the cheese. If we are making a fresh cheese such as mozzarella we don't need much or any sugar

retailguypdx15 karma

What is your casein derived from if not from dairy?

supercaz18 karma

From precision fermentation. Visit our website which will explain how we do it - www.newculturefood.com

realgamerperry13 karma

What are the biggest problems facing your product right now and what are you doing to address them?

supercaz13 karma

Scale. We need to scale scale scale and that is no easy feat :)

FunnyBunnyTail12 karma

Are you vegan ?

supercaz23 karma

Yes :)

andreew9211 karma

Do you use natural flavors in the products (added to the fermented proteins) to achieve vegan suitable cheese analoge? What is the calcium/protein content compared to real cheese? What about the melting properties?

supercaz6 karma

Calcium phosphate content should be on par. Yes we are aiming to use natural flavors if any are needed (a lot of cheese taste comes from the aging/culturing process)

jasonlitka11 karma

Lactose? Literally zero? My intolerance is basically off the chart at this point.

supercaz15 karma

Literally zero.

dohlant10 karma

Why do you think companies behind current plant-based cheese solutions were unable to innovate in this fashion?

supercaz14 karma

Because they don't have casein!

KhaosElement9 karma

The big thing I notice with animal-alternatives is it's just so price prohibitive. I'd love to swap to something like Beyond meat, but holy crap it's like double the cost of regular burger. So - do you have any ideas or plans in place to prevent this from becoming another "That's be nice!" while I grab more regular cheese?

supercaz9 karma

Eventually, the costs will come down to parity with conventional dairy cheese and then will undercut those prices. It will take some time however so to start off with we will be a premium product

jankenpoo9 karma

What’s your IP (secret sauce) that will prevent large companies like Kraft from doing the same thing? Or is being acquired your exit strategy?

supercaz24 karma

Kraft actually invested in us :) Can't talk much about our secret sauce for obvious reasons but it is fair to say that what we do is technically very very difficult and a expertise/understanding that kraft and other large companies absolutely don't have.

We have no intention of being acquired, we can envision acquiring legacy dairy companies one day :)

howard4167 karma

Will your products have lactose in them? Because if not, it might be a really great way for that demographic to sustainably (haha) gain weight/bodybuild.

supercaz14 karma

No lactose at all :)

kevin_k7 karma

When you say that "dairy proteins, specifically casein protein, are responsible for all the cheese attributes we love", are you claiming that the diet (for example) of the cow doesn't affect the cheese made from its milk?

supercaz5 karma

There are definitely some taste profiles that come from the unique molecules/bacteria found in cows milk that are due to the specific feed that the cow is consuming. However the vast majority of the attributes we love about cheese are due to the macro elements in milk and of that, most is due to casein

niceguybadboy7 karma

How's the melting on the cheese coming along?

I live in Latin America, where there is more of a tradition of fresh cheeses over aged cheeses.

With either one, whenever they try to emulate a Euro-american cheese that tastes great melted, they rarely seem to get it right. Cheddar on a cracker. Stays solid. Yellow American on a burger? Doesn't get gooey. Mozzarella on pizza? Okayish results. (Admittedly, their Holanda -- Gouda -- melts rather nicely).

supercaz12 karma

Casein = melt :) So melt is going very well

sparky_9037 karma

is it as fatty as regular cheese ?

supercaz12 karma

We can control the saturated/unsaturated ratios and the fat content overall so we can make it less fatty if we want :)

GoodPumpkin56 karma

So, what is the endgame for dairy farmers? Do you believe that they should be put out of business? What will they and all the people that work in the dairy industry do for a job?

supercaz9 karma

Its a good question and the answer is that the land they own can be used for other agricultural initiatives. Furthermore, this transition will not happen overnight, it will take years and years so dairy farmers should have time to understand and plan for how they can transition their land or sell out of the business.

The_Patriot6 karma

You promise it's lactose free? Cuz, I found out this morning that there's no amout of lactose pills in the world that will make a DiGiorno pizza safe for me. Will the product you are making be safe for those of us with Lactose Intolerance?

supercaz7 karma

100% lactose free

Sael-er5 karma

This would still trigger a dairy allergy I assume?

supercaz9 karma

Yes for now it would

nrdsrfr5 karma

Won’t anyone Think of the microbes?! 🦠

supercaz5 karma

We treat our microbes well :)

theedgeofoblivious4 karma

This sounds so interesting! Where are your products available?

supercaz8 karma

They won't be available to the public until 2023 but we are hoping to be able to give select members of the public an opportunity to try our cheese next year :)

supercaz3 karma

Won't be available until 2023!

wingedcoyote3 karma

Very cool stuff, enthusiastically joined the tasting waitlist. I noticed the homepage prominently mentions cow cheese -- do you also have plans to mimic cheese from other animals? I'm especially thinking of the mozzarella di bufala (water buffalo) used in Neapolitan pizza, but of course sheep and goat cheeses are great as well.

supercaz3 karma


lil-stawberry2 karma

will this be available in Europe anytime soon?

i heard Jaap Korteweg of The Vegetarian Butcher wanted to do a similar project. Maybe you guys could collab with him for the European market? :D

supercaz3 karma

Yes eventually we'll get to Europe!

RobloxianNoob1 karma

Where do you guys plan on rolling out products first?

cough cough Arizona please?

supercaz5 karma

Likely CA or NY!