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Move Over, Fake Meat—Cow-Less Milk and Cheese Are On the Way

Cow-less dairy startup Perfect Day put 1,000 pints of its cell-based ice cream up for sale on its website at $60 for three pints, and sold out in hours.

But consumers who missed the “soft launch” might have to wait awhile for a new batch—the start-up will likely face a labeling fight with the dairy industry that could slow its products’ journey to grocery store shelves.

Perfect Day, based in Berkeley, Calif., takes its name from the Lou Reed song that, when played for dairy cows, supposedly increased their output of milk. But the latest products don’t need any cows at all.

The cultured dairy product is created by taking cow’s milk DNA and adding it,like adding yeast, to a micro-organism to create dairy proteins, whey and casein, through fermentation. Those dairy proteins are then combined with water and plant-based ingredients, forming a dairy substitute that can be used to make ice cream, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. The start of the process uses genetic modification to create the dairy genes, which are added to the micro-flora and the modified flora is filtered out in the final product.


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