Leonardo Dicaprio Joins Dairy-Identical Ice Cream Company’s Sustainability Team
Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently joined forces with startup Perfect Day in an effort to combat climate change with a line of animal-free dairy. With Earth Day on the horizon, the food tech company announced its new Sustainability & Health Advisory Council (SHAC) that will consist of a wide range of members including DiCaprio, who has spotlighted his concerns for environmental preservation in the last couple of years. Perfect Day uses microflora to mirror dairy proteins that create dairy alternatives that feel and taste like their animal-based counterparts.
“A full-fledged response to climate change must bring innovation to all aspects of our daily lives – including to the foods we consume,” DiCaprio said. “Perfect Day’s forward-looking vision offers a new model for reducing the impact that our diets have on the planet. I’m pleased to be part of their advisory council and work together to support our shared urgent environmental mission.”
Perfect Day produces the dairy-identical whey proteins by working with DNA in small organisms used in vitamins and probiotics called microflora. Entrepreneurs Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi launched Perfect Day in 2014 to create a new food category of animal-free dairy. The company uses a cow’s DNA sequence as a blueprint and applies it to the microflora in order to have the flora experience acellular fermentation. This process creates a “flora-based” ingredient that the company uses to produce its animal-free dairy items including cheese, ice cream, and milk.
Alongside DiCaprio on the new sustainability, the council includes the head of global nutrition at the United States Peace Corps Katherine Kreis, former US Secretary of Agriculture and UNICEF executive director Ann M. Veneman, and expert cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian. The founding members of the council range in expertise across health and wellness, food policy, nutrition, and sustainability sectors. The council will be responsible for advising Perfect Day and executing the company’s campaign to handle food and environmental issues.
“We have an urgent need to scale innovative solutions that address global nutrition inequities and health challenges across our food system,” Mozaffarian said. “I’m thrilled to join this Council and help guide Perfect Day’s critical work to build a more accessible platform for delivering high-quality nutrition globally.”
Perfect Day revealed a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with the announcement. The LCA evaluated the environmental impact that the company’s new product will have during production. The report found that the “flora-based” whey proteins will generate between 85 and 97 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than animal-based whey production. The findings show that the dairy alternative will not only serve to help the consumer but also protect the planet, presenting a significantly less threatening production method.
The company’s seen widespread success and several partnerships that have propelled its brand to newer heights. Perfect Day is partnering with other companies to use its new proteins and dairy alternatives. A number of ice cream shops including Smitten Ice Cream shop, Swedish-style ice cream company N!CK’s, and Graeter's Ice cream have begun to serve this animal-free dairy ice cream with the help of Perfect Day. The company plans to work with the council to combat the issues while also providing consumers with a delicious and guilt-free source of dairy-like protein.
“We began Perfect Day with a mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow. Our mission is urgent, and the direction of this group will help us maximize our impact,” Pandya said. “Leonardo DiCaprio and our other Council members share our passion and hunger to combat the climate crisis and foster a global food system that prioritizes nutrition equity. Together, we’ll work to bring more nutritious, scalable, and sustainable options to people around the world.”