This May, artisan ice cream chain launched in partnership with silicon valley startup Perfect Day a new line of vegan ice cream. Smitten N’Ice Cream. The new ice cream is made to taste similar to dairy but is vegan and lactose-free. The new vegan ice cream is available in 4 flavors and at $12 per pint at their flagship shop in the Mission district of San Francisco.
The four flavors are Brown Sugar Chocolate, Fresh Strawberry, Coconut Pecan, and Root Beer Float. And at their other locations in the Bay Area, just 2 flavors are currently available, Brown Sugar Chocolate and Fresh Strawberry for pickup and delivery. Smitten will be launching a platform on May 15, which all 4 pints flavors in the vegan line are available for $52 for pre-order to their customers in the West Coast
Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher said, “We have been working hard and iterating on a vegan product for years, but I refused to put a product on the menu if I didn’t like it as much as our traditional grass-fed dairy flavors,”. “That all changed the first time I did a blind taste-test of the Smitten N’Ice Cream made with Perfect Day—it blew my mind. I knew, then and there, we were ready.”
Perfect day, founded by Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi who are biomedical engineers and vegans, creates proteins that are identical to the proteins in cow milk. The process they use to create this relies on yeast-based microflora that does not require animal exploitation. So basically, they make vegan milk.
Microflora is a natural organism that can produce large amounts of pure proteins. They took the essential genes of milk and added them to the microflora which reproduced the milk proteins. Then their diary flora uses fermentation to convert plant sugars into milk proteins such as whey and casein. The plan based proteins are identical to those from cows but vegan. And can be used in the same way as animal-based milk proteins
Using this process, Perfect Day is able to create a number of “flora-based” products that are vegan and lactose-free. And as a proof of concept, Perfect day, last July launched a 1,000 pint limited batch of flora based ice cream that sold out in less than 24 hours even with its hefty price tag of $20+ per pint.
“At Perfect Day, we believe that the future of food is within arms reach, and we’re thrilled to work with partners who value not only science and technology but the experience and taste of delicious dairy products, to empower the future—and now—of food,” Pandya said. “Smitten’s unique and innovative approach aligns with our commitment to quality and sustainability, while still promising the dairy experience that consumers have come to know and love, so we’re thrilled to join forces and allow consumers nationwide the chance to taste dairy made perfect.”
Last December, Perfect Day closed a $140 million investment round to help it further its mission of creating vegan foods like milk, cheese, and ice cream, that cannot be distinguished from animal dairy products all without touching an animal. Perfect day’s focus is not to create products directed at the consumer directly but to partner with companies, such as Smitten in this case, which makes traditional dairy products that will be able to produce flora-based versions using the startup’s proprietary proteins.