As the alternative meat industry continues to boom, consumers are increasingly seeking out alternatives for other problematic categories of food as well, especially dairy.
While dairy-free milk is nothing new, one company is offering a brand new, lab-grown dairy alternative that differs significantly from the variety of nut, soy and oat-based “milk” products that have gained popularity in recent years. Better yet, the brains behind this new dairy-free technology have mastered the most important dairy product of all: ice cream.
Bay Area-based biotech startup Perfect Day has figured out how to produce rich, creamy, 100 percent dairy free ice cream in the lab, Vox reported. Made from whey protein produced by genetically modified yeast, Perfect Day’s ice cream mimics the taste and texture of traditional dairy-based ice cream better than other plant-based alternatives because it is actually made from the same proteins found in dairy milk. The only difference is in how those are proteins are produced. The scientists behind Perfect Day’s lab-grown ice cream use genetically engineered yeast to produce the same proteins, rather than a cow.
The process is similar to the one used to produce lab-grown meat. However, while lab-grown meat requires a few starter cells from a real animal in order to produce genuine animal tissue, lab-grown ice cream is 100 percent animal free. Perfect Day’s process requires nothing from animals, resulting in a completely vegan product that also helps fight the effects of global warming by reducing the number of methane-producing cattle and the land needed for grazing.
For the time being, the company only has a limited supply of the ice cream, and even if you manage to get your hands on a pint, it will cost you a steep $20. Perfect Day sold samples to the first 1,000 customers to place online orders last week, which quickly sold out despite the hefty price tag.
According to the company’s website, it may be a few years before the product is readily available on grocery store shelves, but Perfect Day’s ice cream innovation marks the beginning of a new future for sustainable summer sweets.
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