What Is Animal-Free Dairy Milk? It’s Vegan-Friendly, but It Isn’t Just a Milk Alternative

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Sep. 6 2022, Published 2:31 p.m. ET

Source: Getty Images

These days, there are so many dairy alternatives to choose from — in most coffee shops, you can choose from a massive selection of milks, including: oat, almond, rice, soy, pea, pistachio, cashew, or walnut milk.

However, brands have started releasing plant-based animal-free dairy milks. Similar to lab-grown meat, they can't be constituted as a milk alternative; however, they are free of animal byproducts, thanks to new scientific innovations.

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"A new kind of milk will soon hit U.S. shelves but it isn’t some plant-based product designed to resemble dairy milk. Instead it is made from whey proteins produced by microflora engineered to spit out exactly the same proteins found in milk from a cow," New Atlas writer, Rich Haridy, wrote of Betterland cow-free milk.

"Creating a cow-free whey protein is only the first step in the journey to getting novel animal-free dairy products to supermarket shelves."

"Those with allergies to whey proteins are unfortunately out of luck because, since these proteins are exactly the same as what would be found in cow milk, they will likely still trigger allergic responses," Haridy continued. "However, if you are a vegan, Perfect Day argues their whey protein technically is not an animal product and was created without harming any animals."

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What is animal-free dairy milk?

Animal-free dairy milk is the milk of the future. According to Perfect Day Foods, scientists give microflora, or microscopic fungi, DNA sequences identical to cow whey protein. The microflora is placed in a mixture of water, nutrients, and sugar, and it ferments. The protein is then separated from the microflora, before going through various processes that filter, purify, and dry it out. The end result is a protein powder that can be used for milk, cheese, yogurt, or cream cheese.

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The flavor — unlike other milk alternatives — perfectly mimics the taste of dairy, without the use of any cows. Therefore, it's a marketable process for sustainability-minded food companies that don't want to harm animals, or waste water, land, and materials in the dairy farming business.

Aside from the taste, there are a few possible health benefits to animal-free dairy milk — it contains less sugar, more protein, and more vitamin B12 than non-dairy alternatives, according to Bored Cow.

Non-dairy animal milk also uses less land and water than dairy milk, as well as other types of dairy alternatives.

And even though it's lactose-, hormone-, and cruelty-free, it isn't suitable for those with milk allergies. Because animal-free whey protein is identical to the whey protein in cow's milk, it could result in an allergic reaction. For vegans, however, it's perfectly suitable.

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Where can I find animal-free dairy milk?

There are several companies making animal-free dairy milk these days.

As previously mentioned, Perfect Day has partnered with a number of companies to make a wide range of products. Bored Cow milk comes in a wide range of flavors, Brave Robot ice cream is becoming increasingly popular, and exercise fiends are absolutely loving Natreve Moo-less protein powder.

According to Food Navigator, even food giants such as General Mills consider animal-free dairy to be the milk of the future. Needless to say, we're likely going to be seeing it around more as time goes on.

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