Unilever has partnered with US-based animal-free dairy producer Perfect Day to launch a new lactose-free ice cream product.

The lactose-free chocolate ice cream is being sold under Unilever’s Breyers brand.

Unilever has replaced the animal-based dairy proteins typically found in ice cream with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein, made through fermentation.

The ice cream will be sold in a 48-ounce tub format from February onwards, joining the rest of Unilever’s Breyers range in retailers across the US such as Kroger, Walmart, Target and H-E-B.

As well as being lactose-free, the product also contains no cholesterol, according to both companies.

“The launch of Breyers Lactose-Free Chocolate with animal-free dairy is an exciting and innovative addition to Breyers’ growing better-for-you portfolio,” Lisa Vortsman, the chief marketing officer for Unilever’s ice cream business in North America, said.

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“As we’ve seen demand for alternative ice creams continue to grow, it is important to us to provide Breyers fans with frozen treats that meet their dietary needs and preferences, without compromising on the creamy taste and flavour that Breyers has offered for more than 150 years.”

Perfect Day has joined forces with multiple food giants in the US over the past couple of years. In September 2022, it teamed up with Nestlé to pilot a product made with animal-free dairy proteins via its US R+D Accelerator.

Later that year, the Swiss group launched the first product from the partnership, a range of lactose-free flavoured milk beverages called Cowabunga.

The precision fermentation group has also partnered with Mars to develop an animal-free chocolate bar called Co2coa.

TM Narayan, the CEO at Perfect Day, described the partnership with Unilever as “a hallmark example of how our second decade is focused on driving growth through collaboration with leading companies that share our mission of a kinder, greener tomorrow”.

Narayan added: “We’re inspired to see that more companies are turning to precision fermentation as a no-compromise option to continue to maintain their leadership position as consumer demands evolve for the future of our planet.”

In July 2023, the company signalled its intention to hand off parts of its consumer business The Urgent Company (TUC) to home in on B2B ingredient sales.