Science

Animal-free dairy milk set to finally hit US retail shelves

Animal-free dairy milk set to ...
Engineered microflora are used to produce whey proteins, allowing for the manufacture of milk that resembles cow milk
Engineered microflora are used to produce whey proteins, allowing for the manufacture of milk that resembles cow milk
View 1 Image
Engineered microflora are used to produce whey proteins, allowing for the manufacture of milk that resembles cow milk
1/1
Engineered microflora are used to produce whey proteins, allowing for the manufacture of milk that resembles cow milk

A new kind of milk will soon hit US shelves but it isn’t some plant-based product designed to resemble dairy milk. Instead it is made from whey proteins produced by microflora engineered to spit out exactly the same proteins found in milk from a cow.

The unique cow-free milk is the first product from Betterland foods, a new company looking to create novel and sustainable food products. Betterland is working on the cow-free milk with Perfect Day, a company formed in 2014 by two vegans looking to find a way to produce tastier animal-free dairy products.

Perfect Day’s big innovation was identifying whey protein as the key element in dairy products that could only be produced by an animal. Every other element could be found elsewhere. So Perfect Day scientists engineered a type of fungus to produce cow whey proteins through a process called precision fermentation.

Perfect Day is not the only company using micro-organisms to produce cow whey proteins. Israel-based company Imagindairy, for example, last year announced success using yeast to produce the desired dairy protein.

Creating a cow-free whey protein is only the first step in the journey to getting novel animal-free dairy products to supermarket shelves. A series of ice creams using the whey proteins were the first products using Perfect Day's proteins to reach commercial shelves, but according to Ryan Pandya, co-founder of Perfect Day, a cow-free dairy milk was always the main goal.

“We only wanted to launch milk when we knew we could deliver a no-compromise option for consumers, and we’re delighted to be doing just that with betterland foods,” said Pandya. “This is an incredible moment when we can finally deliver a product consumers have been asking us for since day one, and give the world another way to enjoy the milk we’ve loved for literally thousands of years – now with much less impact on the planet.”

The two new products are a whole milk and an extra creamy milk. The milk contains eight grams of protein and has 67 percent less sugar than conventional cow milk. It is also lactose and cholesterol free.

Those with allergies to whey proteins are unfortunately out of luck because, since these proteins are exactly the same as what would be found in cow milk, they will likely still trigger allergic responses. However, if you are a vegan, Perfect Day argues their whey protein technically is not an animal product and was created without harming any animals. So this new type of milk may be vegan friendly.

“We hear from vegans every day who are excited about our products, and some who don’t think this is for them,” Perfect Day explains on its website. “If you define veganism as eliminating the consumption of animal products, Perfect Day fits the bill.”

Speaking to Fast Company, Betterland CEO Lizanne Falsetto said the initial product has been designed to resemble all the practical characteristics of cow milk. At this point the taste is not exactly the same as milk, but Falsetto said the goal is not to copy milk but to improve on it.

“Transparently, our goal for the performance of Betterland milk is to be virtually indistinguishable from cow’s milk in terms of frothing, foaming, cooking, whipping, baking, or steaming,” said Falsetto. “In terms of flavor, however, our goal is for Betterland milk to be preferred over traditional cow’s milk.”

The new milk products are set to launch in retail US stores over the next few months.

Source: Perfect Day

14 comments
14 comments
Catweazle
More "vegan" plastic food from a chemical factory. No thanks, I'll stick to milk from local grass-fed cows.
Primecordial
Wonder what they use instead of milk fat?
Steve Jones
Sounds great. When is a skimmed version coming to the UK, how much will it cost and how does it compare nutritionally to pea milk?
MarylandUSA
Catweazle,
You'd starve on the Enterprise.
manta
Something has to be done about the dairy industry, the effluent, methane, and 50% of - required each six months - calves 'binned' at birth. Hopeful.
Username
"We want it to taste better" seems like an excuse for not being able to make it taste the same.
Signguy
Milk is not really good for any body. Humans are the only beings that drink another creatures milk. Goats milk is better.
Doug Lough
Why are vegan products trying to be something they are not. Soy chicken, vegetable burger, and now the non-milk. You don’t see meat wanting to be soy, s burger wanting to be eggplant or milk wanting to be some sort of white grass juice. Nothing wrong with vegan products, but come on, be yourself, don’t piggyback on the fame of animal products. It’s down right stealing, cheating on the final exam, taking credit that cows hard work. Have you no identity of your own?
Marcus Miller
I wish people could truly see what the dairy farmers do to provide “real” food for our countries! We spend long days providing food for us all. The fake food that is produced will have to stand the test of time of how it will affect human bodies in 10-20yrs. Will there be more cancer? Will there be other sicknesses that come because of these billionaires looking to produce all this “factory made foods”. Awake and visit farms for yourself and see.
Ralf Biernacki
Impressive and clever, but why? Dairy products are more vegan than vegetables. To eat a steak, you need to kill an animal. To eat broccoli or bread, you need to kill a plant. To eat cheese, you don't kill anything. There are just four kinds of products of that type---nonliving but natural---that I know of: milk (and its dairy byproducts), eggs (the unfertilized kind, which is what you find in the supermarket), honey, and fruit. All of these are explicitly intended by nature as foodstuffs. Fruits contain seeds, but these can usually pass through the digestive tract and still be viable. The rest contain no viable life. They are hyper-vegan, and I don't understand why vegans shun them. As a poster one of my coworkers had over their desk said: Be the chicken, not the pig! under a picture of fried eggs on bacon. ;-)
Load More