Frequently asked questions
As the original Stainless Steel Cow and First Lady of our herd, Margaret is the one us lab cowboys work tirelessly for. Although *very* high maintenance, she inspires and motivates us.
On her behalf, we answer any ol’ questions you folks might have on her mysterious ways. Is your question not answered? Feel free to contact us
What’s Margaret’s raison d’etre?
Cheese tastes great. Cows are amazing. But it’s not so great to keep making cheese the old way. Dairy farming is notorious for its burden on land & water, biodiversity, climate, and on mother cows ‘n’ their calves. Combine that with the FAO’s expectation that global animal protein consumption might double by 2050, and it’s clear that somethin’s gotta give.
Margaret represents the ultimate shortcut. Free the cow from cheese production, and the downsides of dairy are practically annihilated – a major leap forward for the entire industry.
That is why Margaret set out to make real cheese, but from stainless steel cows. She eats grass, and real milk proteins come out. Just like in the olden days. But with a hell of a lot of benefits.
How does Margaret go about her job?
The modern cow stable is in fact no more than a milk factory. At the heart of the factory, you’ll find the cow making milk: a complex process whereby e.g. grass is hydrolysed to smaller building blocks (e.g. natural amino acids and sugars) which are then are converted to caseins. It is that process that Margaret copies by using the age-old art of fermentation.
She does what a cow does – Eat grass, create milk proteins – but about 98% more efficiently. She doesn’t have the gastro-intestinal tract that causes the climate so many problems (and takes up most of the feed’s energy). Another major plus: she doesn’t have to mother a calf every year in order to make milk. She does it around the clock and loves all the attention it gets her.
What exactly does Margaret make?
Grass-fed cheese & milk products, with the help of microbes.
Yeasts and fungi are Margaret’s little allies – by genetically altering them, they learn how to express casein genes. Caseins (the most abundant milk proteins) are then produced large scale by grass-fed fermentation. The process is a lot like brewing beer but instead of alcohol, you get milk proteins. Once it is perfected, there’s no need to ever bother a cow for milk again. You won’t hear them complainin’!
You just learned what precision fermentation is. A technology that has been 50 years in the making and is now widely believed to revolutionize dairy production world wide.
Do you work with genetically modified organisms?
To create true casein, Margaret’s lil’ army of micro-organisms are genetically modified. But the proteins they create are not. That is why the final product you’ll be enjoying will simply be real milk proteins, fat, salt & water – just like original cheese. The micro-organisms do not end up in the product so no, what you are eatin’ will not contain GMO’s.
When can I eat the first Margaret Made products?
Margaret already masters the art of casein production, and legislation for this new style dairy is in the making. In the lab, we are currently working on upscaling the process. We’re not alone, too – there are several fellow pioneers doin’ amazing jobs across the globe.
When we started in 2020, we gave all this a 5% chance of success and thought it was worth a shot. Now we give it 50% and gained more clarity on the timeline, too – a realistic shot in the dark is to have the first Made by Margaret 48+ in shops by 2026
Isn’t all this putting our dairy farmers out of work?
Those Vegan Cowboys can’t imagine a future without farmers any more than a future without cheese. From our perspective, we support farmers in becoming what they are destined to be: true heeders of the land. Let’s harvest grass and bring it into the stable, not for an animal to turn it into milk, but to something way more efficient. A stainless steel cow. A cow that in turn relieves those farmers from several heavy societal issues they’ve been burdened with.
Eventually cows can just be cows, and farmers be ever better farmers. It’s hard to think of a more beautiful vista.
Is it tasty? Is it healthy? Is it vegan?
We’re happy to share that Margaret Made will smell, taste, melt & delight identical to traditional cheese. On top of that Margaret strives for healthy products with less saturated fats, which are suitable for people with lactose intolerance. And vegans, of course. No trace of lactose, hormones, or antibiotics. So yes – truly just as good and potentially even better.
What style of cheese are we talking about? I’m craving some camembert.
Margaret says thank you for asking, because this is the bit she loves to boast about: it started out as a burrata-like somethin’ somethin’, but any kind of cheese is possible once the lab cowboys manage have finished their work. Cue for Margaret to give the camera a long hard stare and add: ‘And I mean any kind.’ Sorry darlin’, camera’s not on.