Singaporean FoodTech startup TurtleTree debuts the first-ever animal-free milk protein lactoferrin – one of dairy’s most valuable and functional proteins.
A global leader in animal-free functional dairy proteins, TurtleTree has debuted the world’s first precision fermentation-produced lactoferrin – LF+ – one of the most powerful parts of cow milk with great functional benefits for immunity, iron regulation, and digestive health. Launching the animal-free milk protein at an exclusive tasting event in San Francisco, guests enjoyed LF+-powered food and beverages (F&B) filled with flavour and health-boosting benefits.
Also known as “pink gold,” high-value lactoferrin has an iron-rich pink hue and is naturally found in cow’s milk, but at low concentrations and involves a resource-intensive extraction process. In contrast with other dairy proteins like whey which costs around US$1/kg, lactoferrin’s retail value ranges from US$700 to $1,500/kg.
The protein’s iron-regulating benefits can improve physical performance, aid endurance, fatigue resistance, muscle strength, and energetic efficiency. Consumers who want to reap the benefits of the protein face the challenge of pasteurisation removing up to 50% of lactoferrin, and conscious buyers who have switched to plant-based milk will have even more difficulty maintaining intake.
TurtleTree’s technology uses precision fermentation to harness microbes as tiny factories embedded with lactoferrin’s unique recipe, thus removing high methane-emitting cows from the lactoferrin supply chain and unlocking a sustainable and affordable source. This will also enable plant-based milks to be fortified, widening access to lactoferrin to nondairy consumers.
The BioTech company aims to launch LF+ commercially in Q4 2023, projecting a path to profitability on a per unit basis within six to 12 months.
The Co-founder and CEO of TurtleTree, Fengru Lin, shared, “By unlocking access to one of the most powerful and multifunctional proteins in milk, we are envisioning a better food future where more people than ever before can improve their personal nutrition sustainably. Harnessing the power of precision fermentation will provide us with an abundant supply of these vital nutrients that can be enjoyed by all segments of the population through everyday food products.”
KBW Ventures Founder and CEO, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed added, “As one of TurtleTree’s early investors, KBW Ventures recognised that transforming the food system requires studied innovation; a commitment to the science, and both ingenuity and integrity to see it through. Transforming the food system as a mission is the business of changemakers, and I am proud that we could play a role in fuelling the world’s future in food. TurtleTree’s world first, the showcase of LF+, is what technology can do when mobilised for good.”