After seeing the first samples of lab-grown meat last year, it looks like the time for artificial dairy has come, as a California-based startup called ‘Perfect Day Inc.‘ has recreated the proteins that are found in regular cow milk. That is whey and casein, two of the most nutritionally valuable proteins that are considered very suitable for human consumption. This was actually the hard part, as the rest of the milk’s elements are water, fat, and various types of carbohydrates.
Perfect Day has managed to develop a form of a genetically modified microorganism that produces the aforementioned proteins through a fermentation process. The end product contains no lactose, so it’s suitable for those who are intolerant to the particular sugar. All that said, the company isn’t focusing on the creation of artificial milk, but rather on the field of protein production to be added in cheese or yogurt.
The main reason for this narrow focusing is that the specific fat that is found in the conventional milk is hard to reproduce, and replacing it with plant-based fat isn’t quite meeting people’s expectations in terms of taste. Protein-packed products are all the rage right now, so cheese and yogurt that are high in protein are the results of further processing anyway.
For now, Perfect Day has partnered with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a Chicago-based food processing giant which operates 270 plants worldwide. ADM will enable Perfect Day to produce their lab-grown proteins in sufficiently large numbers that will kickstart the industry of synthetic dairy products. The question that remains to be answered in the imminent future is whether the world is ready and willing to accept dairy products that are made out of genetically modified microflora or not.