On a hot summer day, a scoop of ice cream can make everything better. Nowadays, there are plenty of new kinds of ice cream to scoop. Walking down the frozen dessert aisle you’ll see ‘Dairy-free’, ‘Plant-based’ and now ‘Animal-free’ dairy ice cream options. People have different reasons for their dietary choices – for animals, the planet, health – and these choices often mean sacrificing taste and texture, or even living without the foods you love.
What makes ice cream creamy?
Let’s start with some background. Ice cream is made with a mixture of milk, cream, sugar, and added flavors. This liquid mixture becomes a frozen foam (ice cream) through a combined freezing and whipping process. One factor leading to ice cream’s creaminess is the churning that causes fat crystals to collide and combine, which causes the frozen foam’s structure to become more ice cream like. Ice cream makers want MANY small ice crystals trapped in the frozen foam itself (as the smaller the ice crystal the creamier the ice cream), but this is a careful balancing act as the churning process also generates air cells. The act of churning is designed to scrape the newly frozen surface within the ice cream barrel and push the frozen surface back to the center of the ice cream before the larger ice crystals can form, producing a higher frozen volume versus a liquid volume thus keeping the ice cream both creamy and smooth.
Did you know that the slower ice cream melts, the better the flavor? Dairy proteins emulsify fats, allowing for a slower melt rate and a more indulgent flavor. Dairy-free and plant-based ice creams contain proteins from plants. Plant proteins lack natural functionality and contain flavor compounds from their sourced food (for example, pea protein has pea flavor compounds). These proteins can be processed to target a specific functionality, for example, pea protein can undergo an enzymatic hydrolysis process, which is a fancy way of saying the protein is broken down, giving the protein better emulsification properties which is great for ice cream. However, not only does the pea protein still taste like peas but, due to this break down process, it now also has a bitter off-flavor. This is why plant-based alternative ice creams taste different from the dairy ice cream we all know and love.
Our Lactose-Free Ice Cream is Still Creamy!
Our protein can be used exactly as dairy protein is used in conventional ice cream, just with the added benefits of also being lactose-free and carrying a significantly smaller carbon footprint. That means for the first time, ice cream without cow’s milk can taste, feel, and scoop just like the ice cream we grew up eating.
We spoke with Sarah Leslie, a Scientist II and the Lead Formulator of Frozen Desserts at Perfect Day on how animal-free ice creams deliver on taste and texture, “Our animal-free ice creams deliver on taste–they do not contain plant proteins or their associated off-flavors, our protein is bio-identical to traditional whey protein and is just as functional. As such our ice creams tend to require a lower quantity of stabilizers (common in all commercial ice cream, but added in higher quantities to replicate the texture of dairy ice cream in plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan options) to deliver the texture and creaminess consumers expect, and our products contain a bio-available protein content similar to traditional dairy ice cream. There are brands on the market who deliver 1 or 2 of those aspects, but none deliver on all except traditional and our animal-free dairy.”
So, what’s the difference between all these ice creams?
Traditionally, ice cream made with dairy has that creamy, delicious texture we love, but it’s not always the best option for those who either have a dairy allergy, are lactose intolerant, follow a vegan diet or are looking to make more planet-positive food choices.
Plant-based, vegan, dairy-free ice creams are all alternative dairy products but are very different from animal-free dairy. Dairy-free, vegan, and plant-based ice creams are made without milk, milk protein, lactose, or any other component derived from cows’ milk. These ice cream options tend to be made with coconut cream, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. Because they don’t contain products from animals, they are lactose-free and considered vegan. However, since they don’t use a dairy base, they can’t achieve the creaminess and flavor of traditional dairy ice cream. There are good vegan, dairy-free, and lactose-free ice cream options on the market, but they vary in both tastiness and protein quality.
At Perfect Day, our non-animal whey protein is bio-identical to real dairy, which is how we create real dairy products such as ice cream, cream cheese, and more. Animal-free ice cream made with Perfect Day’s protein has all of the creamy deliciousness of dairy but is also lactose-free, leads to no animals being harmed in the making, and uses a fraction of the environmental impact of traditional dairy. What’s more? Our products are also hormone-free, cholesterol-free, and antibiotic-free. Since no animals are involved, animal-free ice cream is also a great vegan-friendly option. However, because it is real dairy, it is not a good option for those with dairy allergies.
How is animal-free dairy made?
At Perfect Day, we use the power of precision fermentation to make a kinder, greener future a reality.
Microflora are tiny organisms that naturally ferment in the wild and produce large amounts of protein through fermentation. We help them to adopt the genetic instructions to make cow whey protein. In a tank, the microflora ferment a broth of plant sugars and vitamins, producing non-animal whey protein that is nature-identical to whey that comes from cows. Imagine a brewery, but instead of beer, we’re brewing milk protein. Using gold-standard dairy industry technology, the protein is safely filtered, and we’re left with a pure whey protein that’s identical to the dairy protein that’s been consumed for generations. It’s identical to the classic. We just got there a different way.
Redesigning Our Favorite Foods
When we change the process, not the food, we can completely reimagine what indulgence – and our future – looks like.
We’re redesigning our favorite foods with less impact to the earth and animals. Creamy, delicious, sustainable ice cream made completely animal-free without compromising on taste or texture.
Because even something as simple and nostalgic as a scoop of ice cream can mean so much more.
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