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Shelby Gorstein headshot

No Way, Plant-Based Whey? Yes Whey!

Strive Nutrition now incorporates a plant-based whey protein in its line of beverages that are completely free of any animal products.
plant-based whey

With a growing interest in plant-based alternatives for everyday foods and drinks, Strive Nutrition’s latest release of a new milk alternative comes at an opportune time. Many of the leading brands of plant-based milks and other nondairy products contain little or no protein. While limiting consumption of animals and animal products has a positive impact on the environment, there is the argument that a plant-based diet has some risk of sacrificing nutritional value. Oftentimes, the tradeoff is for the ethical treatment of animals in exchange to meeting personal health requirements. To that end, Strive Nutrition is incorporating a whey protein, which Perfect Day produces, resulting in a completely animal product-free line of food and beverage products. This inclusion, says the company, provides the creamy texture and decadent flavor of dairy, without the cows. Perfect Day’s plant-based whey protein, says Strive, also enhances the nutritional value of the beverage. 

Strive, through this partnership with Perfect Day, aims to create a tasty, sustainable and nutritious alternative to conventional whole milk with its product Freemilk, launching this summer. Among the biggest concerns when switching to plant-based milks and beverages is whether or not they will be able to directly replace dairy milk’s nutritional profile. Many plant milks don’t have the same frothing, whipping, foaming and cooking abilities as dairy milk. Not to mention, they often taste completely different. According to Strive, Perfect Day’s plant-based whey protein can give Strive’s Freemilk the taste, texture, and nutrition of dairy, without the lactose, hormones, antibiotics or connection to factory farms.

According to Dennis Cohlmia, Co-Founder and CEO of Strive, “Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein isolate is bio-identical to whey protein from conventional dairy production and processing.” It’s a lactose-free complete protein, and includes all nine essential amino acids along with other nutritional components of whey protein. The primary protein in the whey found in cow’s milk is beta lactoglobulin (BLG) protein, which Strive says comprises 95 percent of Perfect Day’s whey alternative. Using animal-free whey protein results in a beverage that contributes less to climate change, and is also free of hormones, antibiotics, and potential microbiological problems. The company claims Freemilk has 25 percent more complete whey protein per serving and 75 percent less sugar than conventional milk, as well as no cholesterol and no lactose.

Perfect Day’s plant-based whey protein is vegan, but vegan products do not escape the issue of allergens. In the case of whey proteins, the molecular structure of BLG can trigger allergies, as previous research on the subject has verified. To that end, Strive includes a milk allergen warning on the package, the same way there are allergen claims on soy, nuts, gluten and pea protein. With this information in mind, Freemilk is vegan, because no animals are involved in the process, yet people with milk allergies should be aware of any potential risks.

Among Strive’s drivers for contributing new products in the animal-free dairy category is climate change. Back in 1979, the company pioneered aseptic food processing to create high quality foods with natural ingredients and without preservatives. The motivation is to make products that taste delicious and are also good for the planet. As Cohlmia explained to TriplePundit, "Perfect Day animal-free whey protein isolate is the first animal-free dairy component that is commercial and meets FDA GRAS [i.e., generally recognized as safe].” 

Plant-based dairy alternatives are often low in protein and skeptics point out that they often don’t provide significant nutritional value. On that point, Strive says it seeks to enrich plant-based beverages with a complete protein profile and has future plans for this food and beverage segment. The company has said that it will soon add more flavors, as well as single-serve packaging for school, work and travel. On the horizon later this year is also a Strive+ line of sports protein shakes and protein hydration waters using Perfect Day’s plant-based whey protein. 

Image credit: Strive

Shelby Gorstein headshot

Shelby Gorstein is a writer, yoga teacher, and jeweler based in Delray Beach, Florida. Passionate about health, wellness, and sustainability, Shelby covers topics like plant-based living, renewable energy, food waste and nature. 

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