[Provided by Maeil Dairies]
South Korea’s Maeil Dairies Co. and SK Group’s investment arm SK Inc., together with U.S. food tech startup Perfect Day Inc., are launching a joint venture in Korea to commercialize dairy produces from non-animal fungi and fermentation process.
According to multiple industry sources on Wednesday, SK, Maeil Dairies, and Perfect Day have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore businesses leveraging on the U.S. food tech company’s innovative alternative milk protein fermentation technology.
Under the JV, SK will be in charge of funding, Maeil Dairies manufacturing and distribution, and Perfect Day necessary technology.
Perfect Day makes milk from cow genes, using a swab to develop alternative milk in fungi and fermentation tanks to recreate milk protein casein and whey. It has developed cell-cultured ice cream and cheese.
Alternative milk protein development has not been made in South Korea due technology and permit limitations. Maeil Dairies President Kim Seon-hee in July had said the company had been discussing JV business with Perfect Day.
Perfect Day has raised up to $750 million through a series of fundraising, with the last $350 million Series D funding in September 2021 led by Temasek and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board including SK Inc. who also joined the 2020 round for a combined 120 billion won.
The JV will bring in raw materials produced by Perfect Day to Korea upon approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Maeil Dairies will produce and distribute non-animal dairy produces in Korea and later other parts of Asia.
Shares of Maeil Dairies opened Thursday 2 percent higher and SK 0.5 percent up.
By Jin Young-hwa and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]