This month, artisan ice cream chain Smitten Ice Cream launched a line of vegan Smitten N’Ice Cream in partnership with Silicon Valley startup Perfect Day. The new ice cream—which is identical in taste to dairy but without harming animals—is available in four flavors ($12 per pint) at Smitten’s flagship shop in the Mission district of San Francisco: Brown Sugar Chocolate, Fresh Strawberry, Coconut Pecan, and Root Beer Float. At its other locations in the Bay Area, the shop offers two flavors—Brown Sugar Chocolate and Fresh Strawberry—for pick-up and delivery. Smitten is also launching a new delivery platform on May 15 and all four pints in the vegan line are available for $52 for pre-order to West Coast customers.
“We have been working hard and iterating on a vegan product for years, but I refused to put a product on the menu if I didn’t like it as much as our traditional grass-fed dairy flavors,” Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher said. “That all changed the first time I did a blind taste-test of the Smitten N’Ice Cream made with Perfect Day—it blew my mind. I knew, then and there, we were ready.”
Founded by biomedical engineers and vegans Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day creates proteins that are identical to cow milk proteins through a process that relies on yeast-based microflora that does not require animal exploitation. Through its process, Perfect Day is able to create a multitude of “flora-based” products that are vegan and lactose-free. To prove its concept, Perfect Day launched a 1,000-pint limited batch of flora-based ice cream last July—which, despite its hefty $20+ per pint price tag, sold out in less than 24 hours.
“At Perfect Day, we believe that the future of food is within arms reach, and we’re thrilled to work with partners who value not only science and technology, but the experience and taste of delicious dairy products, to empower the future—and now—of food,” Pandya said. “Smitten’s unique and innovative approach aligns with our commitment to quality and sustainability, while still promising the dairy experience that consumers have come to know and love, so we’re thrilled to join forces and allow consumers nationwide the chance to taste dairy made perfect.”
In December, Perfect Day closed a $140 million investment round to further its mission of creating vegan foods such as milk, cheese, and ice cream that are indistinguishable from their dairy-based counterparts. To make the largest impact, Perfect Day is not focusing on creating consumer-facing products, and is instead partnering with companies—such as Smitten—that make traditional dairy products that will be able to produce flora-based versions using the startup’s proprietary proteins.