Nestle, the world’s largest publicly held food company, announces it is partnering with fermentation startup Perfect Day to explore the development of products made with animal-free dairy protein. The company will pilot its first product, an unnamed milk-like beverage, later this year at select stores, says Nestle.
Created by Nestle’s R&D teams in Switzerland, the beverage contains Perfect Day’s animal-free protein and is identical to the whey protein found in cow’s milk. It also offers the same nutritional and functionality benefits of conventional dairy while being suitable for vegans and lactose-free.
The product will be piloted through its newly established US-based R+D Accelerator, which aims to bring highly differentiated product concepts to market in just six months.
A changing portfolio
According to Nestle, dairy products are an essential part of its product portfolio, but the company will continue exploring solutions and technologies to make dairy more climate-friendly.
“As the world’s largest food and beverage company, delivering foods and beverages that are good for people and the planet is a priority,” Heike Steiling, Head of Nestlé’s Development Center for dairy products. “We are exploring emerging technologies that can lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious and sustainable, without compromising on taste, flavor, and texture.”
He adds, “Bringing together our unmatched R&D expertise, innovation capabilities, and scale, we are working to develop and test novel animal-free dairy protein-based products to complement our wide-ranging portfolio of plant-based alternatives.”
Nestle notes the Perfect Day collaboration complements its existing investments in alternative meat and dairy, which include launching its Garden Gourmet plant-based range, investing in California chicken startup Sundial Foods, opening an alt-meat facility in Serbia, and entering the cultivated meat sector.
As the maker of iconic dairy brands like Carnation, Coffee Mate, and Nido, Nestle’s enormous size, distribution and strong consumer familiarity could play a significant role in increasing public acceptance of precision fermentation technology.
“We are excited to pilot Nestlé’s first animal-free dairy protein-based products through our U.S. R+D Accelerator,” said Joanna Yarbrough, head of the R+D Accelerator. “While this category is still very young, we know consumers are looking for products that have a reduced environmental footprint, and we are evaluating this avenue as a future growth opportunity for our business.”