Mooless Whey Protein works as if it comes from real cow’s milk, but it does
The whey protein market, used in everything from high-protein cookies and sports drinks to giant jars of protein powder for bodybuilders, is growing rapidly: to more than $ 9 billion in 2020, it could double in size. ‘by 2027. Whey is a by-product of cheese production, but at some point demand may exceed supply, meaning that additional cheese must be produced just to make whey, as well as more environmental impacts linked to the breeding of cows.
Perfect Day, the food tech startup known for making animal-free dairy protein used in ice cream – which has so far raised over $ 750 million in funding – is now launching whey protein powder as its latest product. . “We have the real nutrition, performance and functionality of whey protein, with all the benefits of being animal-free that was previously only possible with things like pea protein isolate and things like that, ”said Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Perfect Day. “They just don’t taste the same.”
The company uses precision fermentation, which means that the microbes are designed to produce the proteins in stainless steel tanks similar to those used in breweries. “We use mushrooms that look a bit like yeast, and they eat very simple plant carbohydrates, like sugar. Using their internal biology, they convert that sugar into whatever product we want, ”he says. “And in our case, we make whey protein that is molecularly identical to what cows make. . . exploiting the same kind of biology as cows, but without the 2,000 pounds of animals, and without all of the lactose, hormones, cholesterol and other things that end up accompanying the journey.
In a life cycle analysis, the company calculated that its whey protein production process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 91% to 97% compared to milk protein. Since most of the emissions from the fermentation process come from electricity, the carbon footprint can be further reduced if the factories the company uses switch to fully renewable energy. The process also reduces water consumption by 96-99%. Since whey is a by-product of cheese production, however, it’s safe to say that making whey differently won’t reduce the overall carbon footprint if the cheese had been made anyway. The product can have the most impact if milk production drops while demand for whey continues. (Future Perfect Day products, such as Animal-Free Cheese with an Indistinguishable Taste from Real Cheese, could help speed this up.)
Natreve, a wellness brand, is the first to use Perfect Day’s whey protein in a new protein powder called Mooless, which contains 20 grams of protein and a digestive enzyme in each serving. Natreve already offers a vegetable protein powder and one made from 100% grass-fed cow’s milk, but saw the need for another option. “What we wanted to do is elevate this offering not only to a potential vegan friendly community, but also to Pescatarian, Flexitarian and Vegetarian communities, to give to them. . . something that has the mouthfeel, the essence of whey protein, the nutritional values, the high amino acid profile, but obviously without having the same impact when it comes to animal production.
Perfect Day is also launching a brand called California Performance Company through its subsidiary, The Urgent Company. The launch of brands itself, the company believes, can help accelerate market adoption. “We see our work here as more than just creating products or more than just selling protein,” Pandya said. “It creates a category and really starts the flywheel for an entire industry that we see [has] the potential to change the world.
While cowless whey will start at a higher price than you could get in the store, the company is hoping it will decrease as production increases. (Traditional whey has also seen price spikes recently: earlier this year, due to whey shortages, the price of whey from cow’s milk doubled.) Literally more carbon that would have gone into the atmosphere becoming more food, ”he says. “So we see this precision fermentation platform as a very cost-effective, long-term, and simply resource-efficient way to make protein. “