Tech startup Pigmentum creates milk from lettuce

Karen Pham

Karen Pham


Pigmentum, an Israel Tech startup, has found a way to produce casein – a milk protein – from lettuce plants.

The company genetically modifies lettuce in hi-tech greenhouses to produce casein, which is the main ingredient required to make cheese and other dairy products.

The liquid is extracted from the lettuce and “natural ingredients” are added to give it a milk-like taste and smell. The finished product can be drunk like normal milk, poured over breakfast cereal or added to coffee.

Tal Lutzky, CEO of Pigmentum, which describes itself as offering sustainable solutions for low-cost production, said lettuce is versatile as an ingredient, especially casein.

“We engineer the lettuce to produce whatever we want in very, very high yields – in this case casein, to make milk,” said Lutzky.

“The genetically modified (GM) lettuce contains casein, which accounts for 80 per cent of the protein in cows’ milk. It’s what makes the cheese formulation possible. Without it, you can’t make any cheese. You can’t make [real] cheese from almond, rice and soy milk.”

The company spent six months getting approval for the GM process necessary to produce the milk and about two years getting the product ready for market launch. 

The cost of lettuce-based milk will be more affordable once the GM technique has been improved and scaled up for industrial use.

Karen Pham

Karen Pham

Karen Pham is a marketing and branding enthusiast with a major in legal English. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, she is a contributor to Viable.Earth.


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