Food manufacturing heavyweights Nestlé and Fonterra have both debuted new protein powder products the companies say are derived from precision fermentation.

Nestlé SA recently announced its ‘Better Whey’ product, which the Swiss multinationals claims is an animal-free and lactose-free. The product is being sold under the Orgain brand, which Nestlé acquired a majority stake in in early 2022 to gain a larger share of the functional nutrition space.

Precision fermentation made whey powder from Nestle.
Image via Orgain.

The company says the limited edition product was developed in its Switzerland-based R&D Center for Nestlé Health Science in partnership with Orgain. Nestlé has been indicating its plans to explore emerging technologies such as precision fermentation since late 2022, when it launched its US R&D Accelerator.    

Precision fermentation refers to the combining of the natural process of fermentation with deep technology to produce ingredients such as the proteins found in dairy products rather than deriving milk from a cow. 

Meanwhile, Fonterra has also released its own precision fermentation-produced whey powder product by way of Dutch startup Vivici, which the NZ dairy giant founded with Dutch nutritional product company DSM in 2022.

Precision fermentation made protein powder by Vivici.
Image via Vivici.

Vivici – which claims its powder  is rich in essential amino acids and free from lactose, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics — completed funding in 2023.

Fonterra Chief Innovation & Brand Officer Komal Mistry-Mehta said at that time: “Vivici is an exciting opportunity to combine dsm-firmenich’s world-leading precision fermentation expertise with Fonterra’s world-leading dairy science and technology. This partnership aligns well with the Co-op’s strategy to be a leader in dairy innovation and science.”

Vivici says that it leverages the two companies’ decades of experience in developing and scaling bio-processes along with their knowhow in the isolation and application of dairy proteins.

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