The Lactose Free Ice Cream Revolution

The Lactose Free Ice Cream Revolution

The new lactose free ice cream proudly displays an “animal-free dairy” emblem on its package. Product photo courtesy of Perfect Day.

In a strategic move to align with its climate strategy and reach net-zero emissions by 2039, Unilever has partnered with Perfect Day to launch a lactose free ice cream. This new offering under the Breyers brand exemplifies the use of precision fermentation technology. The lactose free ice cream features Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein in a delectable chocolate flavor.

Lactose Free Ice Cream

“We are thrilled to have developed this new product with Unilever, a hallmark example of how our second decade is focused on driving growth through collaboration with leading companies that share our mission of a kinder, greener tomorrow,” said Perfect Day’s CEO, TM Narayan, in a press release.

The new offering, which is also cholesterol-free, proudly displays an “animal-free dairy” emblem on its package. Notably, the whey protein used by Perfect Day is a recombinant form of traditional dairy protein. Consequently, this version of Breyers ice cream may not be suitable for individuals with dairy allergies.

Scheduled for a nationwide launch in the US, this lactose free ice cream will be available in 48-ounce tubs, priced between $4 and $8.

Related: 5 Food Companies Working With Precision Fermentation Technology

Unilever’s Partnership with Perfect Day

Perfect Day announced its collaboration with Unilever shortly after revealing plans to close a pre-Series E funding round of up to $90 million, building on its existing $750 million in funding. The company hinted at upcoming innovations in precision fermentation aimed at expanding its market reach and a significant consumer packaged goods (CPG) partnership, likely with Unilever.

This partnership marks the debut of Perfect Day’s ProFerm whey protein in a multinational ice cream brand. This move allows Breyers to enhance its non-dairy and lactose free ice cream range with a vegan option, leveraging a sustainable fermentation process. 

Unilever’s focus on reducing dairy’s environmental impact, a significant contributor to its overall emissions, is reflected in this initiative. By diversifying its ice cream portfolio to include products like those offered by Breyers, Unilever advances its climate objectives. Notably, Perfect Day’s protein has been shown to significantly reduce emissions, energy use and water consumption compared to traditional dairy.

Overcoming Challenges

The anticipation surrounding Breyers’ introduction of lactose free ice cream featuring Perfect Day’s whey protein is high, particularly in light of mixed outcomes from previous precision fermentation collaborations. Instances include General Mills discontinuing its Bold Cultr cream cheese, the unavailability of Bel Group’s Nurishh brand animal-free cream cheeses and Mars’s yet-to-launch vegan CO2COA chocolate bar.

Despite these examples, the precision fermentation sector continues to gain momentum, aided by increased investment and the entry of major corporations. The recent launch of Breyers’ lactose free ice cream and Nestlé’s animal-free whey protein powder underlines a growing industry trend towards sustainable, fermentation-derived proteins. 

Regulatory progress is also notable, with several companies achieving the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) self-affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status, paving the way for broader acceptance and expansion.

Success stories within the sector and the culinary application of precision-fermented eggs by The Every CO demonstrate the potential and consumer interest in fermentation-derived products.

The partnership between Unilever and Perfect Day not only diversifies the alternative dessert offerings within Unilever’s portfolio but also significantly contributes to its environmental objectives. As the precision fermentation sector continues to evolve, with over 64 startups and major corporations exploring its potential, the launch of Breyers lactose free ice cream with Perfect Day’s whey heralds a new era of sustainable and inclusive dessert options.

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