Australian Government grant unlocks greater public-private collaboration
(PALO ALTO, CA - May 5, 2022) – The Australian Commonwealth Government has announced a $1 million (AUD) grant to Change Foods to upcycle Queensland sugarcane fiber (bagasse). The project is intended to transform the low-cost waste fiber into highly valuable feedstock needed to produce sustainable animal-free dairy products made via precision fermentation.
Change Foods is a US-Australian food tech company founded in Australia by David Bucca and Prof. Junior Te’o, and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with research laboratories and teams on both continents.
The research will be a collaboration between Change Foods and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The project will support the manufacture of animal-free dairy, employing microbes in place of cows to produce real milk proteins, and further reduce the environmental waste from sugarcane. “This is a dynamic opportunity for public-private partnership with the Federal government and QUT. As part of our broader sustainability mission, we intend to upcycle local waste product into a high-value input that enables production of our animal-free dairy,” said David Bucca, Founder and CEO of Change Foods.
The Queensland agricultural region produces 30 million tons of sugarcane annually, resulting in 10 million tons of residual cane fiber. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are a vital feedstock for microbes used in creating a milk protein - casein - a key component in cheese-making. “We want to prioritize and strengthen our valuable partnerships between Australian businesses, our world-class research institutions and regional communities, ensuring regional Australia is at the forefront of innovation and change,” said Ms. Angie Bell, MP and Federal Member for Moncrieff, in a statement.
The competitive Commonwealth Government grant was awarded to Change Foods as part of the Securing Raw Materials Program, which helps businesses to expand operations in regional Australia and develop stronger ties with regional Universities. “We were successful in winning the grant because of our strong partnership with QUT and the recognition that Queensland - with a wealth of world-leading micro-biologists and access to sugarcane waste - is uniquely positioned to benefit from the shift to synthetic biology and future food manufacturing” said Tom Davies, Vice President of Research and Operations (APAC) for Change Foods, “we are developing more sustainable food solutions that are not dependent on animal agriculture – a major source of greenhouse emissions, and further reducing our impact by upcycling of waste to promote the circular economy.”
Change Foods is on a mission to transform the global dairy industry by creating real dairy ingredients by using microbes, instead of cows.
The company intends to enter the $89 billion global cheese category with products estimated to require 100x less land, 10x less water and 5x less energy than conventional dairy. Change is targeting initial market launch of their first products in late 2024.
About Change Foods
Change Foods is creating animal-free dairy foods by leveraging precision fermentation technology, starting with cheese. By harnessing the power of microbes instead of animals to create real dairy proteins and fats, the company is producing animal-free dairy foods that are indistinguishable from their animal-based predecessors in taste and texture, while delivering products that are more sustainable and better for you. Change Foods is a US-Australian food tech company founded in May 2020 and headquartered in Palo Alto, CA.