SAN LEANDRO, CALIF. – Animal-free dairy maker New Culture announced a new investment from Korea-based food and bioengineering company CJ CheilJedang will bolster product development and further scale up the production of New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella.

New Culture combines traditional cheese-making methods with food science and is scheduled to launch its animal-free mozzarella in pizzerias in 2023. The company says its process, which includes precision fermentation, creates an animal-free cheese with the melting, stretching and bubbling qualities people expect when they eat pizza.

"CJ CheilJedang has invaluable experience and connections in the food and pizza industries that will provide New Culture pivotal scale-up momentum as we push forward our go-to-market strategy," said Matt Gibson, co-founder and chief executive officer at New Culture. "This partnership brings New Culture one step closer to being America's favorite cheese, animal-free or not."

A $23 billion Korean conglomerate, CJ CheilJedang is a global supplier of fermentation based bio-products, as well as a 25% market-share holder in the US frozen pizza market. CJ CheilJedang acquired in 2019 Minnesota-based frozen food maker Schwan's Company, which operates brands such as Red Baron.

"Our partnership with New Culture reinforces CJ CheilJedang's alternative protein investment strategy, and underscores the overwhelming demand for animal-free ingredients across the industry,” said Yunil Hwang, CEO for the bio business unit of CJ CheilJedang. "New Culture's animal-free mozzarella will usher in a new era of bio-based innovations in the dairy category."

New Culture’s investors also include Kraft Heinz (Evolv Ventures) and ADM (ADM Ventures), venture capital firms Mayfield, Future Ventures, Ahren Innovation Capital and SOSV, and food tech VCs S2G, CPT Capital and Be8 Ventures.