Precision fermentation adds value to food supply chain, not competition – Perfect Day
Striking while the iron is hot, Perfect Day is using Singapore as a springboard for further product innovations and business expansion.
After introducing ice cream brand Coolhaus to the Singapore market mid this year, Perfect Day has followed up with the launch of Very Dairy in late November. The city-state is the first country outside of the United States to roll out the milk brand.
Although vegan-friendly, Very Dairy’s milk products are not plant-based. They are made from Perfect Day’s hero ingredient — whey protein — the world’s first animal-free protein developed using precision fermentation technology.
Available in three flavours, namely Plain, Strawberry and Chocolate, the products are sold at FairPrice, Cold Storage and Giant Hypermarket retail stores islandwide, as well as online supermarket RedMart.
“The ecosystem in Singapore, including the government and regulatory agencies, is very supportive of not only food-technology and alternative-protein companies like us, but also the overall sustainable agri-food industry.
“Local consumers are also keenly aware of food-security and food-sustainability issues. Take for instance, Malaysia’s export ban of live chickens earlier this year. People know that it is not a distant problem. That’s why they are now more accepting of new products,” Li Zhengxi, Country Manager at Perfect Day, told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Milking it for all it’s worth
“If you visit the online platforms of vegan communities, such as in the United Kingdom, people are asking about Very Dairy. There is a lot of excitement about our products,” Li said.
Besides naming Hong Kong as a new market venture in 2023, Perfect Day has also identified several South-East Asian countries for market expansion.
The company is in the midst of obtaining halal certification in Singapore, while pending regulatory approval for the other markets that Very Dairy is targeting.
Apart from ice cream and milk, Perfect Day is actively exploring further applications of whey protein, such as yoghurt, cream cheese, functional protein powder and confectionery products.
“Perfect Day started commercialisation of whey protein just two years ago in the US. We are not done with whey protein yet. In Singapore, we expect to focus on whey-protein applications for at least the next two years,” added Li.
He also revealed that the R&D team in the US is ‘sparing no effort’ to develop new ingredients that can support the food supply chain. “We are talking about more products that we can make without the use of animals, not just cows.”
Indeed, the immediate future looks promising for Perfect Day, as major industry players like Nestle, Unilever and Mars have announced their plans to join hands with the company for the adoption of its whey protein.
“We are open to collaborations with companies big and small. We welcome anyone who wants to work with us and to apply our whey protein in different ways,” Li said.
Studies commissioned by Perfect Day indicated that precision fermentation of whey protein consumes up to 97% less greenhouse gas emissions, 99% less blue water consumption and 60% less non-renewable energy use, compared to traditional dairy milk.
Perfect Day sees itself as a helpful addition to the food supply chain, and not a competitor to dairy companies or the plant-based sector.
Citing the ‘explosive demand’ for lactose-free and vegan products in recent years as example, Li emphasised that Perfect Day’s goal is to provide an alternative option for consumers who want to choose from products with similar nutritional values, but that are more suitable for their bodies and more beneficial for the environment.
“It is not just about food sustainability, but also food security. Globally, demand is outstripping supply. We cannot depend solely on raw material from traditional means to supply consumption.
“Our products are not for an exclusive audience, and we try to keep the price point accessible to everyone. Precision fermentation is a technology that fulfils consumers’ unmet needs. It complements the supply chain, not add competition to it,” Li reiterated.