Perfect Day-Backed Urgent Company Launches Alt Dairy Ice Cream Brand

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The founders of California-based food tech Perfect Day have joined with a product developer in the dairy industry to launch Urgent Company, a new sustainable consumer food company. Its first brand will be Brave Robot, which will offer a line of animal-free dairy ice creams made using Perfect Day’s technology. 

Brave Robot has emerged as the first brand to launch under Urgent Company, a new venture created by the founders of Perfect Day, Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, and Paul Kollesoff, formerly in the dairy industry. The new ice cream will be sold for US$5.99 per pint via a direct-to-consumer online platform as well as on supermarket shelves, firstly in the California region before expanding to other markets. 

Co-founder and CEO Ryan Pandya told Green Queen that “the vision for The Urgent Company is much bigger than just another food company. It represents a new approach to innovation that can bring today’s most exciting ingredients — Perfect Day’s and other’s — into products across the grocery store, starting with Brave Robot animal free ice cream.

“PK and the rest of The Urgent Company team are poised to push forward the future of food, and we can’t wait to see where they go and how they grow in the years ahead,” he added.

Urgent Company’s goal is to launch a number of food brands that are sustainably and ethically manufactured using Perfect Day’s proprietary slaughter-free dairy protein created through fermentation biotechnology. While molecularly identical and functions, tastes and performs the same way as dairy proteins, the food tech’s dairy alternative comes at a fraction of the environmental cost of dairy farming and eliminates the need for animal cruelty. 

The news is an indication of the direction that Perfect Day plans to take after it recently closed a successful US$300 million funding round after a second tranche that saw Thematic Investing join existing investors Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign fund, and Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures. 

It represents a new approach to innovation that can bring today’s most exciting ingredients — Perfect Day’s and other’s — into products across the grocery store, starting with Brave Robot animal free ice cream.  

Ryan Pandya, Co-founder & CEO of Perfect Day

While dairy consumption has been on the steady decline in the past few years, prompting the two biggest dairy producers in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has spotlighted the vulnerability of the animal-centric food supply chain, has shifted even more shoppers towards dairy-free substitutes. 

The downhill trend for dairy has been described by some analysts as an “existential crisis” for the big dairy industry, while plant-based substitutes such as vegan cheese are estimated to balloon into a US$7 billion sector by 2030

Investors have certainly taken note of the mass dairy ditch and are now pouring their capital into a number of alternative protein companies. Almost matching Perfect Day’s behemoth US$300 million round is the famed oat milk maker Oatly, who has raked in US$200 million in a star-studded round that bumped its valuation up to US$2 billion. 

A number of other food techs such as Singapore’s lab-grown dairy company TurtleTree Labs, vegan cheese brand Good Planet Foods and pea milk startup Ripple Foods have also announced funding news in recent weeks. 

Lead image courtesy of Brave Robot / Urgent Company. 

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