Dairy with no cows – Is that possible?

Lee Sooyeon

p.c: Green Queen

           We’ve grown used to oat milk and soya milk. However, now a food-tech startup is taking alternative milk to the next level. California-based Perfect Day uses fungi to make dairy protein that is “molecularly identical” to the protein in cow’s milk, says co-founder Ryan Pandya. That means it can be used to make dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. “We were interested in the question of what is in milk, that gives it incredible versatility and nutrition that is somehow missing from the plant-based milks,” says Pandya.

Perfect Day has assembled the gene that codes for whey protein in cow’s milk and introduced it into a fungus. When the fungus is grown in fermentation tanks, it produces whey protein, which is then filtered and dried into a powder used in products including cheese and ice cream — which are already on the shelves in the United States and Hong Kong. Pandya says that it is for people who still love dairy, but want to feel better about it for themselves, for the planet, and for the animal.

           Although Perfect Day’s protein contains no lactose, hormones, or cholesterol, it isn’t suitable for people with a dairy allergy. But as the process involves no animals, Pandya describes the product as “vegan-friendly.” It’s also good for the environment. By removing cows from the equation, the production of milk is dramatically more efficient, producing up to 97% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional dairy.

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