Perhaps the most well-known segment of contemporary food innovations in this generation has become the animal-free milk products, given the increasing burden of lactose allergy in the domestic and international populations.
The lactose-free market was worth $10.7 billion in 2021, and it is foreseen that it will reach a valuation of $17.4 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 5.4 pierce.
It should be no surprise that, given the global boom of these lactose-free milk products, the Utah hub of biotechnology innovation and expansion is jumping on the bandwagon. Through the supportive networks engrained within the BioHive and BioUtah communities, Bay Area native company Perfect Day has found a second home in Utah’s BioHive.
“Perfect Day has created the world’s first nature-identical dairy protein without any animal inputs. Our process brings the ingenuity of biotechnology to a process that has been used in the food industry for decades—precision fermentation,” says Bonney Oommenan executive team member at Perfect Day who works closely with stakeholders to help deliver innovative, visionary products that complement existing food and nutritional sources while addressing evolving market needs.
“At the highest level, our process is as follows: First, we download the genetic code for milk protein from an online database and introduce it to our microflora,” Oommen says. “We then place our microflora in a tank filled with water, nutrients, and sugar and allow it to undergo its natural fermentation process. Because of the code we gave it, it converts the sugar into milk proteins. In the final step, we filter out everything but our pure, animal-free milk protein. The resulting protein can be used to create animal-free dairy products without compromising on taste, texture, nutrition, functionality, or the future of our planet.”
Interestingly, this process has been shown to benefit the global environment as well as individuals who require lactose-free lifestyles. Compared to traditional animal protein-based product processing, Perfect Day’s protein products have shown promising emissions-reducing outcomes over their processing protocols.
“Our protein, compared to the total protein found in milk, reduces water consumption by up to 99 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97 percent, and non-renewable energy use by up to 60 percent, compared to conventional production methods,” Oommen says. “We are extending this impact through a diverse business model which includes B2B ingredients, our consumer brands under The Urgent Company, and our enterprise biology business.”
In 2020, Perfect Day received the most significant venture capital fundraising round in the fermentation industry’s history, landing $300 million in series C funding.
“Our most recent fundraising round was our $350 million Series D, bringing us to a total of $750 million raised to date,” Oommen says. “We’re thrilled to build our enterprise biology business from our second US base in Salt Lake City. This part of our business delivers scale-up production, IP licensing, strain services, and other offerings to a diverse range of biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, and life science customers.”
Perfect Day seems to have found an ideal match in the BioHive community, placing great optimism and trust in their expansion in the greater Salt Lake area.
“Utah has the perfect marriage of biotech talent and commitment to building out infrastructure and resources necessary for mission-driven, innovative companies to thrive,” Oommen says. “Our team has been growing in Utah since the acquisition of our first enterprise biology facility in 2020 and partnership with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity last year. Our new base formalizes our excitement about building our technology services here.”