By now you’ve probably heard about lab-grown meat (if not, check out Monday’s daily), but have you heard about lab-grown ice cream? Apparently, lab-grown ice cream is here that is made from a whey protein that is produced by genetically modified yeast rather than cows. In fact, not a single cow is needed to create this brand-new snack.
It’s the culmination of five years of work at Bay Area-based biotech startup Perfect Day. The founders, Ryan Pandya, and Perumal Gandhi are young vegan bioengineers. They wanted to create a product that’s indistinguishable from cow-made dairy, yet reduces animal suffering by steering us away from factory farming, and helps fight global warming by reducing the number of methane-producing cattle and the land needed for grazing. At the moment, there are plenty of dairy-free ice creams out there — they’re made of everything from oats to almonds to chickpeas. Generally speaking, however, they don’t taste as creamy as traditional ice cream.
But according to some lucky reporters who have tried Perfect Day’s ice cream, it does taste like the real thing, because it is the real thing: The scientists have made it using whey and casein, the exact same proteins that give milk its unique texture and flavor — it’s just that they’ve gotten a genetically engineered yeast to produce those proteins rather than using cows.