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Bel Group’s research and development partner, Standing Ovation, receives €3m in funding boost

Bel Group's research and development partner, Standing Ovation, receives €3m in funding boost alternative proteins, Casein, cheese, dairy, dairy alternatives, Functional Dairy, Ingredients, plant-based, plant-based dairy, precision fermentation, R&D, Sustainability Food and Beverage Business

Standing Ovation, a start-up company, has developed a patented process for producing non-animal caseins, with the support of a partnership with the Bel Group, the maker of Babybel cheese. The unique process has the potential to revolutionize the dairy industry by creating superior cheese alternatives.

The collaboration between Standing Ovation and Bel Group is expected to yield a range of plant-based and non-animal cheese and dairy alternatives, with a focus on enhancing protein content. As part of this partnership, Bel Group has provided a substantial financial backing and acquired an equity stake in the start-up. The initial products from this collaboration are anticipated to launch in 2024 in the US and eventually in Europe.

In 2022, Standing Ovation secured funding of approximately €12m, with an additional €3m to industrialize the production of non-dairy casein. The company has received support from the French government through a program designed to encourage agri-food resilience and technological innovation. Furthermore, they have been approved to receive a €1m loan from public investment bank BPI France for ecological and energy transition projects.

Standing Ovation’s objective is to develop a purification line of proteins obtained by precision fermentation, which will provide highly nutritious and functional ingredients for dairy products. The company’s CEO, Romain Chayot, emphasized the importance of public authorities in preparing for the future food and ensuring food sovereignty.

Analysts predict that precision fermentation may offer a sustainable alternative to traditional dairy farming, with a potential to reduce climate impact and deliver equivalency in nutrients and functionality. While the market for precision fermentation-derived dairy remains small, there is increasing investment in this direction, driven by concerns about carbon emissions and sustainability.

Companies are exploring hybrid products, such as plant-based alternatives that contain dairy-identical proteins. This innovation has the potential to significantly reduce the climate impact of the dairy sector, highlighting the importance of advancing food and drink sustainability.

Standing Ovation’s partnership with the Bel Group and the support from government programs and investment banks demonstrates the commitment to advancing food and beverage industry trends and exploring innovative food processing technology. This collaboration also aligns with food and drink regulations and consumer trends, reflecting a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly options in the food and beverage industry.

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