California-based The Urgent Company recently unveiled a plant-based, climate-friendly cake mix under the company’s Brave Robot brand. Packaged in a compostable bag, the Climate Hero Super Cake is a versatile, shelf-stable yellow cake mix that requires adding only oil and water. So, how does Brave Robot’s new cake mix differ from the rest?
First, while most cake mixes require eggs for structure, color and flavor, the Climate Hero Super Cake mix replaces approximately three eggs with the use of food tech startup Perfect Day’s animal-free milk protein. The protein, which is also used in Brave Robot’s ice cream, is made by inserting a cow’s DNA sequence as a blueprint into yeast-based microflora. The resulting protein is then used to make plant-based versions of dairy-based foods.
Introducing Climate Super Hero Cake, our eco-friendly yellow cake mix 🍰. The magical animal-free milk protein that makes our ice cream so creamy is the SAME ingredient in our cake mix that replaces the equivalent of 3 eggs! 🌍 🌈 🍦 Click the link in our bio to shop now. pic.twitter.com/8nWNA5Oya1
— Brave Robot (@TheBraveRobot) October 26, 2021
Because of its versatility, the mix can be used in various baking recipes, such as yellow cake, carrot cake, coffee cake, brownies and whoopie pies. The mix features a relatively short list of ingredients, including wheat flour, sugar, potato starch, non-animal whey protein, baking powder and other flavorings and preservatives. Brave Robot described the cake mix as tender, moist and decadent.
“We’re thrilled to provide more indulgent dessert options that are not just exceptional in flavor and texture, but also kinder to the Earth,” said August Vega, president of Brave Robot in a press release. “No one should have to compromise their values to indulge in a delicious treat.”
So, how is the Climate Hero Super Cake kinder to the earth? First, the mix is packaged in a fully-compostable bag, setting it apart from the standard boxed cake mixes enclosed in plastic bags. Second, the mix requires only oil and water, saving consumers from purchasing up to three eggs per mix. A recent lifecycle assessment Perfect Day’s protein production found that “if US consumers switched entirely to Perfect Day whey protein, this would save up to 246 million tons of CO2e emissions, which is the equivalent of up to 28 million homes’ energy use for one year.”
Brave Robot debuted in 2020 with the launch of its ice cream and has since sold more than one million pints. The release of the cake mix comes just weeks after Perfect Day secured another $350 million from a Series D funding round led by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Temasek Holdings. The latest investment brings the company’s total funding amount to $711.5 million.
According to a report from Grand View Research, the global vegan baking ingredients market size was valued at $1.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent from 2019 to 2025. However, while Brave Robot’s cake mix is technically animal-free, it is unclear whether it will fit into this market or whether it deserves a market of its own.
While demand for vegan baking ingredients is on the rise, especially among Gen Z and millennial consumers, they remain specialty items and command larger price tags — the Climate Hero Super Cake is no exception. At $18 per 17.5oz bag, or $36 for three bags, Brave Robot’s cake mix costs approximately ten times as much as the average yellow cake mix. The mix can be purchased on Brave Robot’s website and ships everywhere starting November 1.