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