Cow Out

Preview image of “Cow Out”
  • In the laboratory, milk proteins are produced by fermentation
  • Perfect Day
Despite the price of 60 dollars for three tubs of ice cream via the Perfect Day web shop, the first contingent sold out at lightning speed

Several companies are engaged in the battle to produce a viable, scaleable dairy alternative.

Perfect Day, a California-based start-up, has eschewed the use of animals to recreate the proteins found in cow’s milk. Their genetically modified microflora produces both whey and casein through fermentation. The protein is vegan and lactose free, with the same nutritional value as classic milk. However as milk is only composed of 3.3% protein, with the rest water, carbs and fat, the battle is far from over. Milk fat is harder to replicate, with its specific flavour and mouthfeel. Naturally, this has a massive impact on the quality of cheese and yoghurt. Perfect Day is working towards full-scale production in partnership with industry giant Archer Daniels Midland, among others. ADM works across more than 200 countries with more than 330 manufacturing facilities pumping out food ingredients. Last July, Perfect Day debuted a limited edition animalproduct-free ice cream, made with its flora-based dairy protein.

German start-up LegenDairy Foods, is busy adding cow DNA to micro-organisms like bacteria, algae and yeast, telling the organisms to produce milk proteins. This fermentation process takes about two weeks and functions at small scale, but the hard part is mass production. CEO Raffael Wohlgensinger projects that consumers will find it on shelves in three years.

The resultant vegan milk protein is also lactose-free