A San Francisco Duo Is Making Test-Tube Milk That 'Tastes Like The Real Thing'

Meet the Muufri foundersMuufriMuufri founders, Perumal Gandhi and RyanPandya.

Milk is popular. And has been for centuries. Whether a refreshing, cold glass with a chocolate chip cookie, steamed and poured over a morning coffee, or used to make batter for pancakes, milk is a staple in many people’s kitchens, as well as an important source of nutrients.

There are already many alternatives to milk, of course; from nut-based forms like almond and hazelnut, to coconut, to soya. Many people opt out of the “real thing” not necessarily because of taste, but because they are lactose intolerant, or have animal welfare or calories in mind.

But for those who are still longing for the taste of the original stuff, a new test-tube milk product called Muufri (pronounced Moo-free) could present a viable option.

Muufri is a “fairly simple mixture,” according to its creators, San Francisco-based bioengineers Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya. Both are vegans who believe the dairy industry practices inhumane and unsustainable methods.

Muufri uses the same principles behind beer or rennet. It uses yeast cultures, combining “six key proteins for structure and function” with “eight key fatty acids for flavour and richness,” the bioengineers write on the official website. Muufri might also be better for you than real milk, Ghandi and Pandya claim, because it contains less “bad” cholesterol and does not have the hormones associated with cow’s milk. The lactose can also be left out.

Importantly, the creators claim that Muufri tastes “just like animal-produced milk.” Noting that it does not create the “problems associated with industrial animal facilities.”

As Forbes recently noted , cow’s milk is often produced from heifers that have been forcibly impregnated, where the animal has been “strapped to a rack.”

“Nearly every one of them suffers immensely from the results of this experience,” Forbes writes.

Muufri could be the answer to feeding our growing global population, set to reach 9 billion by 2050, without placing the strain on the environment that raising cows for milk do.

This month, the duo announced $US2 million of funding for the project. The team now hopes their company will be ready with a marketable product by the summer of 2015.

It remains to be seen whether the world agrees that Muufri really does taste like the original. But if the global population continues to drink as much milk as it does, it might not really matter anyway.

World Vegan Day, celebrating all non-animal based alternatives, is on Nov. 1.

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