I scream, you scream, we all scream for non-animal whey protein
July 16, 2019 7:16 AM   Subscribe

 
Milk seems like a fundamentally simpler product to synthesize than meat, so I'd figure we'd be able to get a decent synthetic version of that before vegan meat is a reality. But even if you get a good whey protein, doesn't a lot of the flavor of dairy come from milkfat? So is this just a method to make a new type of cheese-like food that might someday be really good, but taste fundamentally different than cheese?
posted by skewed at 7:32 AM on July 16, 2019


So this will be interesting. Unlike the meat replacements, who have carefully danced around the edges of genetic manipulation technologies, there's no way to make milk proteins in a factory without it being a GMO product.

I wonder if cow-less dairy will face push back as a vegan product simply because it relies on GMO yeasts and bacteria to be produced?

Food safety isn't a major concern here, nor is environmental biosafety really. These are factory products, made in chemical reactors. So unlike GMO soy or corn, escape into the natural ecosystem could be controlled. Not to be a Pollyanna about this, but pharma already has biosafety release standards for their drug production pipelines, so it's a known set of problems.
posted by bonehead at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think where I'm honestly confused here is the business side. Isn't the reason that whey is exported so much and used so much is that it's basically a byproduct of other processes? Meaning, the success of whey to date is a success of finding profitable uses for a thing that the producers already had on-hand as a result of making the other thing they wanted to make (cheese, yogurt).

How is intentionally making the byproduct going to ever be as financially viable as making the primary product, profiting from that, and also profiting from selling the byproduct?
posted by tocts at 7:44 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Skewed, fats are chemically much easier to synthesise than proteins. I think if you can get the whey you're pretty close to a totally artificial milk. Whey is also a common ingredient in other food, although as tocts points out it's also currently a byproduct.
posted by atrazine at 7:52 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


a new type of cheese-like food that might someday be really good, but taste fundamentally different than cheese?

Sustainable Cheese Whiz. My dreams are answered.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:09 AM on July 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


Looks like Perfect Day is making up for the lack of milk fat in their lab-whey ice cream with coconut oil and sunflower oil and a cocktail of thickeners, conditioners, and preservatives.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2019


It's the "Milk Fat Fractions" where the money is. Those are the milk fractions that are made into cheese, greek "yogurt", baked goods, cream fillings ice creams, etc... It's the fat soluble proteins that are the money makers.

The water-soluble whey proteins are comparatively a waste product (or a by-product, better put). There's a far smaller demand for them.
posted by bonehead at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


ROU Sustainable Cheese Whiz is one of the Culture Ships that even the mocking-gravitas ones are kind of iffy about.
posted by Drastic at 8:16 AM on July 16, 2019 [18 favorites]


doesn't a lot of the flavor of dairy come from milkfat?

Yes, but you can use other fats, as carrioncomfort mentions above. And since we've already got plenty of whey-based ice creams for the low carb crowd, I don't see why a similar product using lab-made whey and some kind of vegetable fat wouldn't work pretty well. Use vegan coconut ice cream as a starting point and remix the recipe with non-dairy whey until you get something that better approximates "real" ice cream.

This doesn't exactly solve the problem of vegan cheese, but it's a start.
posted by asnider at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2019


I mean- synthetic whey is still whey and will still make me super sick so... Score one for the vegans I suppose, but this doesn't really help me.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:45 AM on July 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


I’m pretty easy about eating new processed foods; they don’t trigger my disgust response. But there’s something eerie about the carton of Perfect Day (“Milky Chocolate”).

Still, who am I kidding? I’d probably eat the Stuff if the calorie count came in under Halo Top.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:11 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


The name "Perfect Day" sets off the sleaziness/creepiness alarm bells in my brain like no other brandnames ever have. Dunno what exactly it's doing to me or what the marketing firm was going for, but whoa, the visceral reaction I have to that branding is way worse than the one I have to the thought of artificial milk.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis: I mean- synthetic whey is still whey and will still make me super sick so... Score one for the vegans I suppose, but this doesn't really help me.

So what you're saying is that there's no whey you'll eat this?

(Can't believe I'm the first person in the thread with that pun.)
posted by clawsoon at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


That's Not Yogurt!
posted by condour75 at 9:23 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean- synthetic whey is still whey and will still make me super sick so... Score one for the vegans I suppose, but this doesn't really help me.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:45 AM on July 16 [+] [!]


If you were lactose intolerant it would really be eponysterical.
posted by atrazine at 9:45 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ha! Well the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome is incomplete but it does seem as if they were lactose intolerant. Yet another reason my username is perfect for my sad dairy intolerant self.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:52 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: a cocktail of thickeners, conditioners, and preservatives
posted by The Tensor at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


So you're saying butter bugs are real?
posted by jclarkin at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Cockroach Milk. It's the next superfood apparently.
posted by bonehead at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Please don't post AMP links: they are bad for the Web. Can someone modify the submission to the proper URI, please?
posted by koavf at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


The name "Perfect Day" sets off the sleaziness/creepiness alarm bells in my brain like no other brandnames ever have

I had a similar reaction. It sounds cultish/dystopic to me. Also reminds makes me immediately think of the Lou Reed song, which ends on a decidedly ominous tone ("You're gonna reap just what you sow...")
posted by treepour at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Please don't post AMP links: they are bad for the Web. Can someone modify the submission to the proper URI, please?

Sorry, that was the link that someone shared to LinkedIn, which is where I found it. Didn't realize it was an AMP link. Here's the proper link. I'll flag this for the mods, since they don't read all the comments in every thread.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2019


[Updated!]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2019


The name "Perfect Day" sets off the sleaziness/creepiness alarm bells in my brain like no other brandnames ever have.

There is something Black Mirror about it. What if ice cream, but social media???
posted by betweenthebars at 12:11 PM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


So is this just a method to make a new type of cheese-like food that might someday be really good, but taste fundamentally different than cheese?

For some reason I keep thinking of the Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and how it is supposed to "work out what drink someone wants through taste bud patterns and neurological signals" but nevertheless "is well known for producing a liquid which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:02 PM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


The name "Perfect Day" sets off the sleaziness/creepiness alarm bells in my brain like no other brandnames ever have.

perhaps it's the ominous last line of the song "you're going to reap just whaaaaat you sow" ?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:38 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was creeped out when Kroger (and their Southern California chain, Ralphs-without-an-apostrophe) named their Natural and Organics house product line "Simple Truth"... like what, all the other products were lying? But other product names I've seen since are just as bad, and "Perfect Day" is one.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


My favorite greenwashing-alarm-tripping brandname is the kitchen goods If You Care. Which made me start snickering the first time I ever laid eyes on it when getting something from the relevant aisle. "Oh, sure, you could get the..." sniffsneer "...store-brand baking parchment. But...IF YOU CARE about the world..."
posted by Drastic at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


‘But in the land of dairy, there’s only plant-based alternatives like cashew “butter” and almond milk.’

How would one mistake cashew butter for an alternative to dairy butter?
posted by thedward at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also reminds makes me immediately think of the Lou Reed song

According to this article, the company name came from the song.
posted by asterix at 3:24 PM on July 16, 2019


How would one mistake cashew butter for an alternative to dairy butter

Nobody tell them about apple butter ...
posted by tocts at 4:45 PM on July 16, 2019


Cashew cream- to be fair is really fucking delicious.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:09 PM on July 16, 2019


Ira Levin, This Perfect Day.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:21 PM on July 16, 2019


Also reminds makes me immediately think of the Lou Reed song

I think of the scene in Trainspotting where Rent Boy is OD-ing and thinks he's in a red shag carpet grave. This is why I rarely participate in focus groups.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:07 PM on July 16, 2019


Adult me finds milk fucking disgusting, regardless of whether it's derived from cockroaches. Now cheese, that's interesting.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:45 AM on July 17, 2019


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