During the Future Food-Tech Summit in San Francisco in March, CEO Diederik Brasser from startup MilkWays pitched the technology to transport large volumes of fresh milk highly cost-efficient over large distances without compromising on taste, nutrition and above all food safety, even after 45 days. The joint mission of Foodvalley, StartLife, Wageningen University & Research, and the pitch on stage resulted in invitations from several interested parties, specifically from Asia.
MilkWays spent 5 years and 6 million euros to develop their technology and -with support of the EU Horizon program- validated the solution on an industrial scale. It is now ready to be implemented.
“It takes 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 liter of milk,” says Diederik Brasser. He explains that due to the climate and the availability of land and fresh water producing milk is more efficient in some countries than in others. Moreover, some densely populated regions do not have sufficient agri-resources. For example China has 20% of the world population and just 7% of the arable land. Such regions can better focus on food production than on feed.”
“MilkWays’ solution enables to produce dairy in an optimal region and then transport the milk, to be processed locally into final premium consumer products with full shelf-life. By putting ‘the cow back in its natural habitat’ not only the environmental impact can be halved, but also the production cost. Therefor the solution also provides a strong business case, specifically for Asia.”
Food security, sufficient and safe food for the future, is a top priority in Asia, he says. “In many parts of Asia ground water level is going down. Local production may be increasingly limited and cold chain food solutions are key in providing these regions with sufficient food.”
He says that many consumers prefer -if offered at an affordable price- fresh milk to powdered milk. Moreover, he argues that the range of products you can make from fresh milk is considerably wider (cheese, fresh yoghurt). The interest in the startup company, that is backed by StartLife, comes from investors as well as food companies.
Apart from the new Asian contacts he met at the Future Food-Tech Summit in San Francisco as a result of the presentation, MilkWays was also well represented at the joint booth of Foodvalley, StartLife, Wageningen University & Research and Dutch startups. “The whole trip was very useful,” the MilkWays CEO remarks.