Food Entrepreneur - March 2, 2021 - 6

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR®
Perfect Day founders Ryan Pandya,
left, and Perumal Gandhi cracked
the code on animal-free dairy
proteins.

INGREDIENT
INNOVATORS
Three startups setting out to
transform the food system

BY MONICA WATROUS

E

ntrepreneurs are developing disruptive solutions to address pressing
health and environmental challenges. Perfect Day, Renewal Mill and The Better Meat Co. are among next-generation
ingredient manufacturers championing
change in the supply chain.
The companies are tackling some of
the factors resulting in the warming planet while delivering nutritious solutions to
the marketplace.
Perfect Day, Berkeley, Calif., produces
animal-free milk proteins that provide
the taste and texture of dairy without the
environmental consequences of conventional animal agriculture.
Renewal Mill, Oakland, Calif., transforms the pulpy leftovers of soy and oat
milk production into versatile, gluten-free
flours that boost the fiber and protein
content in a variety of consumer packaged
goods applications.
The Better Meat Co., Sacramento,
Calif., produces plant-based formulations
that are blended with beef, pork, chicken
or fish to create healthier, more sustainable products that score high in taste tests.
" We want to make the right thing the
easy thing, " said Paul Shapiro, founder
32

Food Business News

032_FBN_March2_21.indd 32

and chief executive officer of The Better
Meat Co. " We have to make sure that
doing what's better for the planet doesn't
come with sacrifice. "

The moo-free milk men
The story of Perfect Day begins with
a bad bagel. Ryan Pandya, a newly vegan
biological engineer with a cream cheese
craving, tasted a plant-based schmear so

The recently launched Brave Robot brand of
ice cream features Perfect Day's animal-free
dairy protein.

PERFECT DAY

awful, he began researching the functional properties of milk.
" Essentially there had to be some
component in cow's milk that's missing in
almond milk or soy milk, " he said. " It turns
out it's protein from milk. ... The question
from there was, is there a way to make the
protein from milk without animals? "
As he began pondering the question,
he met Perumal Gandhi, a fellow scientist
and struggling vegan with similar aspirations for developing animal-free dairy. The
pair co-founded Perfect Day, then called
Muufri, in 2014.
Perfect Day produces milk proteins
by introducing the cow's genetic code
to microflora grown in large fermentation tanks. The ingredients have gained
regulatory approval and provide the taste
and texture of dairy minus the lactose,
cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics.
Crafting dairy proteins without cows
requires less energy consumption, land
usage, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, according to Perfect Day,
which raised $300 million in venture capital funding over the past year to expand its
processing technology. In recent months,
the company has doubled its production
capability while significantly reducing
March 2, 2021

2/26/2021 11:33:21 AM



Food Entrepreneur - March 2, 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - March 2, 2021

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