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Mars Wrigley joins with Perfect Day to craft chocolate with microflora-based dairy proteins

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2022-06-20  Origin: foodingredientsfirst
Core Tip: Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has unveiled a new eco-centric chocolate, CO2COA, in a partnership with animal-free dairy protein innovator Perfect Day.
Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has unveiled a new eco-centric chocolate, CO2COA, in a partnership with animal-free dairy protein innovator Perfect Day.

Made with certified cocoa in addition to Perfect Day’s cow-free ingredient, CO2COA maintains the silky-smooth taste consumers expect while leaning into the flexitarian dietary trends today’s conscious consumers are embracing, Mars highlights.

The product launch is an extension to the range of snacks and sweets that includes M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles and Extra Gum.

“The name CO2COA is a thoughtful and playful way to pay homage to its Rainforest Alliance-Certified cocoa and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) in product sourcing,” details the company.

“This innovation provides consumers with a delicious earth-friendly, animal-free, and lactose-free chocolate experience and is the latest sustainability-inspired innovation from Mars.”

Perfect Day’s proteins are identical to those found in cow’s milk. However, instead of being sourced from the animal, the dairy proteins are created through a fermentation process similar to the manufacture of vitamins and amino acids.

By adding genes essential to producing milk protein to Trichoderma – a type of microflora – the dairy flora ferments plant sugar into whey and casein.

Perfect Day’s designer proteins
US-based Perfect Day’s ingredient is marketed as the “world’s first nature-identical dairy protein, without any animal inputs”. Because Mars CO2COA uses Perfect Day animal-free dairy protein, it is entirely free from lactose and cholesterol. It is also wrapped in paper-based packaging.

The Californian “unicorn” alt-dairy company is valued at US$1.5 billion, having recently announced the opening of a 60,000 square foot plant (about 5,500 square meters) in Utah.

A recent life cycle assessment found that the company’s precision fermentation process uses up to 99% less water and produces up to 97% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, compared to traditional production methods.

The whey protein from Perfect Day is free of lactose, hormones, antibiotics and cholesterol. In addition, it contains 25% more protein, 75% less sugar and less saturated fat.

Earlier this month, alt-milk producer Strive Nutrition made use of Perfect Day’s animal-free whey in its newly introduced oat and almond milks.

After launching its own limited edition version of vegan ice cream in 2020, Perfect day linked up with ice cream brands Nick’s and Smitten to launch lines of vegan dairy ice creams.

Perfect Day received the “most significant venture capital fundraising round in the fermentation industry history”, in 2020, landing US$300 million in series C funding.

Taking the cow out of the chocolate chain
Chris Rowe, global vice president of research and development, Mars Wrigley, comments: “The creation of CO2COA is an inventive example of how we partner with technology innovators, like Perfect Day, to bring great new offerings to our consumers.”

Vegan NPD within chocolate and confectionery has been gathering pace in recent years, as formulators develop more sophisticated methods of imitating the creamy textural and flavor properties associated with the traditional options.

Tapping into the conscience-free indulgence trend, Lindt launched a vegan chocolate range made from oat milk last August.

Barry Callebaut also recently expanded its North American plant-based portfolio with a dairy-free organic chocolate. One of the cocoa giant’s earliest iterations of milk-free chocolate was its Pathway range, which is ready to use for myriad applications, including confectionery, baked goods, cereals and snack products.

“Today, companies big and small need to deliver on the needs of their consumers, who won’t compromise on taste or the future of our planet,” concludes Ryan Pandya, Perfect Day co-founder and CEO. 
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