For decades, humanity has produced proteins, enzymes, and small molecules via cell cultures. What if we leveraged those same industrial fermentation techniques to produce milk proteins?
That was the idea New Harvest community members Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi pitched to Isha, our executive director, in 2014—entirely independently of one another.
She connected the two of them and encouraged the team to apply for funding as the New Harvest Dairy Project. That project eventually turned into Perfect Day Foods, the world’s first company to grow milk from cell cultures instead of cows.
As of November 2020, Perfect Day Foods has raised over $360 million and launched animal-free dairy ice cream in supermarkets across the United States.
New Harvest holds founding equity in Perfect Day Foods. With it, we are building an endowment for future cellular agriculture research.
Due to the explosion of private investment in cellular agriculture following the success of Perfect Day Foods, New Harvest no longer starts companies.
From 2014–2017, we documented updates about Perfect Day Foods here. It began with Isha Datar, our executive director and at the time, co-founder of Perfect Day (back when it was known as Muufri) blogging about the team’s first three months at an accelerator in Ireland.
Perfect Day Foods is now too big for us to keep track of what they’re up to. They are also an independent company! To stay up-to-date on Perfect Day’s latest developments, please visit their website.
March, 2015 – In light of growing independent interest among investors in cellular agriculture, New Harvest moves away from founding companies. Instead, we focus on more neglected aspects of ecosystem building and supporting pre-competitive research.
July, 2014 – Isha Datar donates her shares in Muufri to New Harvest and gives up any formal role in the company.
May, 2014 – New Harvest volunteer Natalie Rubio interviews Perumal Gandhi about his experience co-founding the world’s first cell-cultured milk company. Read it here.
April, 2014 – New Harvest Dairy Project is accepted into the accelerator and incorporates as a company under the name “Muufri.” Ryan, Perumal, and Isha are co-founders with equal shares.
April, 2014 – Ryan Pandya, Peruma Gandhi, and Isha Datar apply to an accelerator in Cork, Ireland as the New Harvest Dairy Project.
In order to see our vision of a more just, equitable, and humane food system one of our key strategies is to default to open. By creating an open cellular agriculture repository on Zenodo we ensure that the research produced by New Harvest and other researchers is accessible for all to use, read, share, and build upon. In that way we are increasing the impact of this crucial knowledge by furthering its reach.
Because growing meat through cell culture is so novel a process, many questions about the safety of cell-cultured meat and seafood products remain unanswered.
This industry-wide initiative was designed in partnership with Vireo Advisors to begin a data-driven conversation about the safety of cultured meat. 50 leading companies shared previously unpublished details about their manufacturing processes which we used to create a body of publicly available information about how cultured meat is produced and what safety hazards might be introduced along the way.
Cellular agriculture can be applied to seafood production to reduce our dependence on commercial fishing, which threatens the health of oceans and marine life.1 Why, then, is seafood so underexplored compared to land-based meat?
Prior to this initiative, no public literature explored marine applications of cellular agriculture. We consolidated all of the technical reasons why seafood is uniquely suited for cell culture into a peer-reviewed paper to advance further research about cell-based seafood.