New Culture, a pioneering animal-free dairy company, announced today an investment from CJ CheilJedang, a $23 billion Korean conglomerate, the world's leading supplier of fermentation based bio-products, and 25% market-share holder in the U.S. frozen pizza market. The investment will go towards product development and scale-up of New Culture's animal-free mozzarella slated to launch in pizzerias in 2023.
New Culture is pushing the industry forward by redefining the boundaries of what's possible in the world of dairy. Using precision fermentation and traditional cheese making, the company is able to produce animal-free cheese that melts, stretches, and bubbles just like conventional dairy cheese.
"CJ CheilJedang has invaluable experience and connections in the food and pizza industries that will provide New Culture pivotal scale-up momentum as we push forward our go-to-market strategy," said Matt Gibson, co-founder and CEO, New Culture. "This partnership brings New Culture one step closer to being America's favorite cheese, animal-free or not."
CJ CheilJedang is a leading food and biotechnology company with more than 60 years' experience in fermentation technology, advancing proprietary amino acids for feed and food, savory flavors and seasoning materials, and plant based protein ingredients. The company also acquired Schwan's Company, the second-largest company in the U.S. frozen food market, in 2019. Schwan's Company operates various processed food brands, including the frozen pizza brand Red Baron, and has also grown its influence in the Asian food market since it was acquired by CJ CheilJedang. Global sales for frozen pizza were more than $16 billion in 2020 and are projected to top $23 billion by 2027.
"Our partnership with New Culture reinforces CJ CheilJedang's alternative protein investment strategy, and underscores the overwhelming demand for animal-free ingredients across the industry, said Yunil Hwang, CEO, BIO Business Unit of CJ CheilJedang. "New Culture's animal-free mozzarella will usher in a new era of bio-based innovations in the dairy category."
CJ CheilJedang is one of many partners New Culture is working with to create a revolutionary animal-free cheese at scale. In November 2021, New Culture announced a $25m Series A investment round. The company's investors include global food companies Kraft Heinz (Evolv Ventures) and ADM (ADM Ventures); leading venture capital firms Mayfield, Future Ventures, Ahren Innovation Capital, and SOSV; and leading food tech VCs S2G, CPT Capital, and Be8 Ventures.