Partnering up with U.S. fermentation dairy food tech Perfect Day, Hong Kong’s Igloo Dessert Bar has launched Asia’s first-ever animal-free ice cream made with real dairy proteins, but without any cows. Forged alongside Li Ka-shing’s tech venture capital firm Horizon Ventures, the collaboration brand is dubbed Ice Age!, and will offer customers a line-up of eight lactose-free, hormone-free and vegan-friendly ice creams.
Announced on Tuesday (January 26), Perfect Day and Horizons Ventures, who is one of the food tech’s early major backers, is launching the first animal-free ice cream made with whey proteins produced using fermentation technology in Asia. Hong Kong-based independent ice cream makers Igloo Dessert Bar will be offering a line-up of Ice Age! ice creams handcrafted with Perfect Day’s real dairy proteins that are molecularly identical to those found in milk, but are far more sustainable, cruelty-free and healthier than its traditional animal-based counterparts.
Our special process allows us to make animal-free whey protein using fermentation, not cows. Our protein is identical to the protein found in milk and is what makes our animal-free dairy, dairy.Ryan Pandya, CEO & Co-Founder, Perfect Day
“We founded Perfect Day in 2014 hungry to enjoy our favourite foods in more sustainable, compassionate ways without sacrificing taste. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with Horizons Ventures to do just that in Hong Kong,” commented Ryan Pandya, CEO of Perfect Day, who co-founded the startup with Perumal Gandhi.
“Our special process allows us to make animal-free whey protein using fermentation, not cows. Our protein is identical to the protein found in milk and is what makes our animal-free dairy, dairy.”
Perfect Day currently stands as the most well-funded fermentation protein company after its record-breaking US$300 million Series C round last year.
There are eight flavours of Ice Age! ice creams in total, all of which are animal-free, lactose-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free and vegan-friendly. These include Asian-inspired flavours such as red date, coconut, peanut candy, mandarin pineapple and ginger milk pudding, as well as well-known classics like chocolate hazelnut, cookies ‘n’ cream and strawberry.
Commenting on their new partnership with Perfect Day, Igloo Dessert Bar’s founder Larvina Wong said: “I was really excited to learn that Perfect Day uses technology to produce such an innovative whey protein that can provide consumers with a healthy and delicious choice. Eating ice cream is something that makes us happy. If we can find a way to enjoy ice cream with a lower impact on the environment, this should truly make us happy.”
For the upcoming Lunar New Year, the brand will offer a limited-edition box set priced at HK$298 (US$38.44), with individual flavours available for pre-order for HK$38 (US$4.90) on its direct-to-consumer website. From February 5-11, the animal-free ice creams can also be found at pop-ups in Pacific Place’s Great Food Hall, Taste in Festival Walk and Igloo Dessert Bar located at Star Ferry Pier in Central.
If we can find a way to enjoy ice cream with a lower impact on the environment, this should truly make us happy.Larvina Wong, Founder, Igloo Dessert Bar
While a first for Asia, Perfect Day’s fermentation dairy proteins have already been used to create animal-free ice creams and other dairy products in the U.S., such as Brave Robot ice cream, a new product launched under Urgent Company, a sustainable food brand launched by the food tech’s founders last summer.
But the startup is making it clear Asia is crucial to its growth strategy, particularly as the rising food safety and health concerns drive up demand for dairy alternatives. To that end, Perfect Day will soon open its Singapore-based R&D centre this year, in partnership with the government-run Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
It has also named two Asian lead investor representatives, Aftab Mathur of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek and Patrick Zhang of Horizons Ventures, to its board of directors next to Disney chairman Robert Iger.
All images courtesy of Perfect Day / Igloo Dessert Bar / Horizon Ventures.