The meat made in the laboratory is getting great attention, as are alternatives to meat made from vegetables. Today, milk proteins are also targeted by companies that produce food produced in an innovative and unconventional way.
Synthetic milk can replace traditional milk either alone or in a thousand products such as cheese or yogurt.
Perfect Day Inc., a Californian startup, has recreated the proteins of cow's milk without using animals. The company has developed a genetically modified microflora capable of producing both whey and casein through a fermentation process.
The approach is not unlike that of the yeast used to make beer. Yeast is also used in controlled environments to create fermented products: the difference between the two processes is only in the type and purpose of the yeast.
Perfect Day has the technology to obtain the "central core" of milk, the protein component that constitutes the main and most important part. It is a vegan milk, lactose-free and with qualities identical to those of cow's milk: very important characteristics for consumers.
Conventional milk has about 3.3% protein, made up of 82% casein and 18% whey. The rest is divided between water, fat and carbohydrates.
The adventure of flavor
Milk is a versatile ingredient used in many products around the world. More than 70% of the milk sold is used for processed products: only a third is drunk (and the figure is constantly decreasing).
It may be difficult to make synthetic whole milk due to the fats that make up the taste and density of cow's milk. Protein is the center of milk but it's not the only thing, and green alternatives to fat will have to mimic the flavor.
Products such as yogurt and cheese have different characteristics than fluid milk, and already have far fewer problems to be synthesized in the laboratory. And having the core of proteins available, the more protein the product will be, the more faithful its synthetic version will be.
Ryan PandyaCEO Perfect Day, He says: "We have begun to understand how our proteins will help developing countries fight malnutrition with a series of specifically designed products."
This purpose is connected to a goal: to produce these proteins in the most massive and economic way possible. Their introduction on the market must then be prudent to avoid collapsing a large part of the dairy industry in one go, but give it time to convert.
These things still need to be handled before developing the synthetic dairy market. Reformulating products, reformulating the economy linked to products, reformulating the laws that will define what is milk and what is not.