- Animal-free dairy protein company Perfect Day closed a $140 million funding round led by Temasek, according to a statement from the company. This latest round is more than twice the amount the company has raised in its previous five years and brings Perfect Day's total funding to $201.5 million. Perfect Day said that several previous investors have participated in this funding round, including Temasek and Horizons Ventures.
- Perfect Day plans to use this money to accelerate business growth, expanding production capacity, deepening partner opportunities and adding to its product portfolio. The company, which ferments dairy proteins using microflora, plans to announce commercial partnerships early next year.
- “In 2019, we showed that our manufacturing process works robustly at commercial scale,” Perfect Day Co-founder and CEO Ryan Pandya said in a written statement. “We were able to demonstrate with our ice cream launch — which sold out in a single day — that flora-based protein delivers on the dairy experience, and that
people are excited about what we’re doing. Our focus in 2020 will be manufacturing and commercializing the protein in multiple continents, through multiple partnerships spanning different dairy product categories.”
While 2019 has been a big year for scientific developments in synthesizing animal proteins in the laboratory, 2020 looks like it will be the year that consumers start seeing these products on shelves and menus.
It only makes sense that Perfect Day is one of the leaders in that trend. The company's (relatively) long history in the space, its large-scale partnership with Archer Daniels Midland to scale production and successful test launch of $20 pints of ice cream put it at the forefront of the minds of those in the industry.
This funding is a final piece of the puzzle, getting Perfect Day situated to be able to get products out and on shelves. The company has worked hard behind the scenes to try to perfect its offerings; it recently announced that it's working on producing milkfat in the same way. With this money, the company is positioned to develop any products that use dairy, and perhaps market them both as their own brand and through partnerships with other manufacturers.
Pandya told Food Dive prior to the ice cream launch that it's important to the company to get products on the market both under its own brand and in partnership with other manufacturers. The ice cream released this summer was under the Perfect Day brand to "demonstrate the consumer benefits inherent to our protein while starting a conversation about this new approach to making food." However, part of the reason Perfect Day was founded was to try to make a difference in the way the industry works. And, he said, it's hard to make a difference as an independent startup making just a few products. Pandya said he wants Perfect Day to be the food equivalent of the "Intel Inside" logo: Something consumers see on many products and equate with the nutrition and functionality of dairy.
The question that remains is where Perfect Day will appear. While the company has said nothing, it dropped some hints. A collection of images sent to the media in a folder called "Future Product Portfolio" include milk — both in a bottle and frothed atop cups of coffee — ice cream, shredded and natural mozzarella cheese, cream cheese and spreadable cheddar cheese.
Perfect Day is set to be one of the first to market in a group of companies that has spent the last several years researching how to use fermentation or other scientific methods to produce food and drink. Motif FoodWorks, which is working to recreate dairy, egg and meat proteins, says it is on deck to get products to market in 2021. Clara Foods, which is creating animal-free egg proteins, partnered with Ingredion — which led a funding round of more than $20 million — earlier this year to develop, market and distribute ingredients.
And cultured meat may also be on the menu soon. Just said its cultured chicken nuggets are ready to go to market — for $50 each — and the company is working with different countries' regulators to be able to sell them to consumers somewhere. Future Meat Technologies is building a facility to make cultured meat in Israel, and the company expects it to make it to market in 2021. And several Asia-based companies making cultured seafood, including Shiok Meats and Avant Meats, did tastings of their prototypes this year.