San Francisco-based food technology startup Perfect Day recently pivoted its initial business model of making proprietary plant-based products to partnering with existing dairy companies to help them create animal-free foods. Founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi create yeast-based proteins through a fermenting process that mimic those found in cow’s milk but without the need to exploit animals. “We initially had a very specific goal in mind which was to scratch our own personal itch for better plant-based, non-dairy options, not just for beverages but for all the things that milk turns into—cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and so on,” Pandya told media outlet BevNET. “Those alternative products are really falling short right now and that was especially the case four years ago.” In February, Perfect Day raised $24.7 million in Series A investment funding and secured a patent for its technology. The startup is currently in negotiations with dairy companies that it says could use its technology to make animal-free products with the same processes they currently use to make traditional dairy. “If we work with a cheese plant that currently makes cheese from dairy milk, well, they can keep on using that same exact plant to make a cheese that has more or less the same nutrition and flavor profile as the cheese they’ve been making,” Pandya said, “except it’s vegan and sustainable and it can save them a lot of water [and] land, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases.” Similarly, food technology startup JUST (formerly Hampton Creek) is in the process of licensing its clean meat—real meat grown from a small amount of animal cells in a lab-setting—to meat companies worldwide with the mission of eliminating the need to slaughter animals for consumption.
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