Got Milk? Cows, Not Needed: Scientists Bioengineer Milk


Scientists believe they are on the cusp of a huge change in the way we produce milk in history. Cows won't be needed.

Race to Bioengineer Milk

Please consider Made Without Humans or Cows: Inside the Race to Bioengineer Milk.

From Silicon Valley to Switzerland, hundreds of millions of dollars are being pumped into a new technology to produce “real milk” - containing identical casein and whey proteins to the genuine article - but without any humans, cows or other animals involved at all.

There is a lot at stake. The global dairy industry was worth $413bn in 2017 while the market for infant formula is expected to top $70bn this year, according to Save the Children.

From animal cruelty on factory farms to deforestation and a rising portion of the emissions linked to climate change, raising cattle to produce milk is facing a growing reputational challenge.

“If you see how cows are treated in the milking process… from a moral standpoint it's appalling to most people,” says Niccolo Manzoni, founding partner at Five Seasons Ventures, an agricultural technology fund based in Paris.

A study published by the World Health Organisation just last week involving almost 30,000 children across 16 countries suggested breast-feeding has a “protective effect” in staving off fat tissue. Bottle-fed babies, the study found, are 25pc more likely to end up obese.

Corporate giants such as US-based DowDuPont, BASF, Nestle, as well as start-ups such as Sugarlogix, Gnubiotics Sciences and Jennewein Biotechnologie are busy pouring money into lab research. They are developing products that are very similar to human milk, a complex hybrid of over 1000 proteins and a unique ingredient called human milk oligosaccharide (HMO).

Udderless Future?

An udderless future is eventually in the cards. But even if scientists perfect the technology, how far off is public acceptance?

Farmers will push to ban it. That's for sure.

What about labeling? Using the term "milk" for such products will likely be restricted.

Would you drink bioengineered milk?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (44)
No. 1-25

"An udderless future is eventually in the cards. "

As is one of flying cars, space travel to distant galaxies and teleportation.


I don't see bioengineered milk being any more dangerous than, say, Diet Coke, which is known to soften teeth and cause metabolic issues. If it's genuinely just like milk, it's probably a great idea.


The TeeVee will tell them "It's just as good as milk" and they will believe it and happily drink it. As a result, the downward trajectories of life expectancy and IQ's in the US will "unexpectedly" accelerate.


Cow milk is imperfect actually. Some have intolerance.

Bio-engineered milk is no different than baby formula (which by and large a success) protein bars, and a like. All are quite/highly processed though rather opaque supply chains. I strive to avoid such foods. But, heck isn't our beloved chocolate bars exactly that...?


An interesting product that is still in development. It could be available for sale next year. Apparently they are working to get the taste and texture right. Initial cost will be higher until they can scale up. It has the possibility of being more healthy for humans than cows milk, with a much longer shelf life. Not to mention, much better for the environment and climate. Could be a big winner if the hype holds true. Time will tell. Another example of human ingenuity bringing change to the world.