Nestlé Swaps Out Cow’s Milk for Perfect Day’s Precision Fermentation in Cowabunga

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After teasing the partnership earlier this year, Nestlé’s first milk made with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey has landed in select Safeway stores in California.

Nestlé has a new franchise in its expansive global brand catalog: Cowabunga. But despite its name, the chilled ready-to-drink milk products contain no cow’s milk. The drinks get their creamy, milky taste instead from Perfect Day’s precision fermentation whey.

The whey is grown via microbes engineered to produce dairy proteins offering the same taste and function as conventional dairy but without the environmental footprint. The companies announced the partnership in September, promising a nutritionally equivalent product to conventional milk.

‘A greener future’

Perfect Day took to social today to share its excitement over the Nestlé partnership coming to fruition. “We’re excited to share that Nestlé will begin testing its new Cowabunga Animal-Free Dairy Beverages, made with Perfect Day’s sustainable, animal-free whey protein,” read the statement. “We’re proud to make a greener future a reality by stocking the shelves with delicious, sustainable products.”

The new products, which come in Original and Chocolate flavors, are being tested across select Safeway stores in San Francisco, near Perfect Day’s Northern California headquarters. The 15-ounce serving sizes contain 14 grams of fat, 250 calories, and are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Cowabunga is Perfect Day’s fourth collaboration on fluid milk products. It’s also launched with Betterland Foods, Tomorrow Farms, and most recently, Strive Nutrition.

It also marks the food tech company’s most recent collaboration with a major multinational food giant; Perfect Day has worked with General Mills on its Bold Cultr cheese, Mars on milk chocolate bars, and Starbucks, testing fluid milk in select Pacific Northwest stores earlier this year.

A sustainable Nestlé

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, is leaning into the sustainability messaging around Cowabunga. “This animal- free protein used in our climate conscious milk emits up to 80% less greenhouse gas emissions and up to 94% less water compared to that of traditional dairy milk,” reads the Cowabunga website. It also touches on the animal welfare angle, “Because animal-free protein doesn’t come from a cow, that means no cows treated with .rBST or growth hormones.”

nestle vegan foie gras
Nestlé has launched a limited-edition vegan foie gras as part of its expanding plant-based portfolio. | Courtesy

The launch follows three recent announcements from Nestlé signaling a shift to more sustainable offerings. Earlier this month it announced a limited edition vegan foie gras for the holidays under its Garden Gourmet label, as well as plant-based eggs launching in LATAM. And it teased dairy-free Nestlé Toll House chocolate chips would be joining the lineup soon.


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