Despite its hefty price tag, food technology startup Perfect Day’s first-of-its-kind vegan ice cream sold out in less than 24 hours. On July 11, the company launched the 1,000-pint limited batch ice cream—priced at $60 per three-flavor bundle, plus shipping and handling—as a way to showcase its flora-based proteins that vegan founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi have been developing since 2014. Perfect Day makes its vegan proteins by printing a cow’s DNA sequence and inserting it into yeast-based microflora which then use the sequence as a roadmap during a fermentation period where they produce an abundance of proteins that mimic cow-derived whey. While Perfect Day’s ice cream proved popular, the company is not focusing on creating consumer-facing goods. Rather, it will partner with existing companies as an ingredient supplier to help them make vegan versions of their existing products such as cheeses, baked goods, and ice cream. “We were thrilled with the overwhelming response to Perfect Day’s first-ever consumer product,” Pandya told VegNews. “In less than 24 hours, our community of supporters helped us sell out of the limited-edition release, which shows us that the world is ready for animal-free dairy. This early momentum inspires us to continue on our mission to make Perfect Day’s flora-based protein accessible globally, and we are excited to partner with companies large and small to make that happen.” Flora-based proteins occupy an emerging category in between plant and cell-based proteins and the Food and Drug Administration has yet to recognize a need for new language to describe the technology. As such, vegan products made with Perfect Day’s flora-based proteins are legally required to display a label that states “contains milk proteins,” a fact that the founders hope will initiate a conversation around the need for new terminology for new technology.
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