There’s a new alternative cream cheese brand in town, and it isn’t made from plants. Instead, it’s made with real dairy proteins that have been produced without cows—and it’s the first-of-its-kind in the world. Modern Kitchen’s cream cheeses use California food tech Perfect Day’s animal-free milk proteins developed with precision fermentation technology.
Modern Kitchen has just launched as the newest alternative cream cheese label on the market, and it’s made from real dairy proteins developed by Perfect Day. Coming in three flavours, the new cream cheese line is lactose-free, hormone-free and cholesterol-free, but still boasts the creamy taste and texture consumers love about conventionally produced cream cheese.
Modern Kitchen: animal-free cream cheese
The cheese does contain real dairy—just produced without the cow. Perfect Day’s dairy proteins are developed using precision fermentation technology, which involves encoding the DNA sequences of real dairy into microorganisms that are then “brewed” to grow the very proteins that are identical to those found in milk.
Modern Kitchen’s range of cream cheese, which contains bio-identical whey protein, as well as coconut oil, non-GMO potato starch, corn starch, and potato protein, come in three flavours—strawberry, spring onion and chive, and spiced harissa. It has just made its debut over the weekend at the Brooklyn Bagelfest in New York City, where bagels slathered with Modern Kitchen animal-free cream cheeses were served to visitors.
The brand, the first-ever animal-free cream cheese on the market, is launched under Urgent Company, the sustainable food venture co-founded by Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi of Perfect Day, together with Paul Kollesoff. It was created last year, with its first brand being Brave Robot, the animal-free ice cream. Modern Kitchen marks Urgent Company’s second consumer-facing label.
At the moment, Modern Kitchen’s line-up is available for presale via its direct-to-consumer website for $30 per 3-pack, ahead of its retail launch in select stores across Southern California in the coming months.
‘Cream cheese was the inspiration for Perfect Day’
Speaking to Green Queen Media about the launch of Modern Kitchen, Kollesoff said that cream cheese was always a category firmly on the cards for Urgent Company. “Animal-free cream cheese was the inspiration for Perfect Day’s first-of-its-kind whey protein,” he shared. “Motivated by a lackluster vegan cream cheese,” CEO and co-founder, Ryan Pandya made it his mission to “unlock what gives traditional dairy the taste and texture that plant-based substitutes just couldn’t match.”
“I’ve dreamed of an animal-free cream cheese for years, and we’ve finally unlocked the flavor and texture that makes traditional cream cheese so darn good,” says Pandya.
Aside from being far more sustainable than real cheese—Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein emits at least 85% and up to 97% fewer GHG emissions compared to conventionally farmed dairy—Kollesoff tells Green Queen Media that Modern Kitchen is offering a new alternative to vegans.
Though there has been much confusion over whether precision fermentation-produced animal-free proteins are vegan, as they are molecularly identical to those found in real dairy milk, Kollesoff explained that “these products are vegan friendly, because zero animals are used at any point in the process.”
He added, however, that “while we hear from vegans every day that are excited about Modern Kitchen, there are many reasons for following a vegan diet and lifestyle, so we encourage each person to decide individually whether it is right for them.”
More animal-free cheese in 2022
As for future product offerings in the cheese segment, the Urgent Company co-founder was tight-lipped but revealed that there will “certainly be more products down the line”, adding that “expanded offerings” would come in 2022.
“Cream cheese is just the start for Modern Kitchen,” Kollesoff said, signalling that more animal-free cheese products are in the works. Despite being a relatively new concept to consumers, the novel product is already garnering strong interest, with one recent survey commissioned by fellow precision fermentation mozzarella and ricotta maker Formo suggesting that over 70% of shoppers are willing to try and buy animal-free cheese products.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that even major food corporations like General Mills are eyeing the precision fermentation space with a new Renegade Creamery brand to make cheese out of real cow-free casein and whey protein, joining animal-free cheese players like Formo, Perfect Day and US-Australian startup Change Foods.
As for Urgent Company’s wider trajectory, Kollesoff told Green Queen Media that the startup will always take it by a “case-by-case” basis whether to launch an entirely new brand and add to its portfolio which currently boasts Brave Robot and Modern Kitchen, or innovate products within an existing brand.
“Brave Robot is focused on ethical indulgences, and Modern Kitchen leans into staples for the modern home chef, so there may be other brands in the future under the brand’s larger umbrella,” he explains. “Each product will be thoughtfully considered when evaluating if it should fall under one of the existing brands, or if an entirely new brand should be created.”
All images courtesy of Modern Kitchen.