Although Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi grew up on two separate continents — Ryan in the eastern U.S. and Perumal in India — when they met in 2014, they realized they were on a parallel journey. Both had grown up enjoying all kinds of food, but became vegetarians as teenagers.
A few years into college, they both realized that the motivations they had for giving up meat — concerns about the impact of their diets on animal welfare and the environment — were cause for giving up all animal products.
So they both went vegan… and hated their lives. They were dismayed to find that the transition to a plant-based diet was really hard for one main reason: their love of dairy.
Fast forward to early 2014. Soon after Ryan began his career in biomedicine and shortly after becoming vegan, he experienced what he calls “the bagel moment.” Struck by a sudden craving one day, he drove 20 minutes out of his way to find a bagel with non-dairy cream cheese and sat to enjoy his treat. But the moment he unwrapped the bagel and brought it to his lips…drip. Everyone knows that cream cheese shouldn’t drip, but this cardboard-flavored substitute had just stained his pant leg. And he’d paid extra for it!
The young scientist knew that there must be something missing from the sad soy concoction on his bagel… something unique to milk. He wondered if the technology he used to make medicine at his job — fermentation — could be applied to make the magic ingredients that hold real dairy products together.
Could it be possible?
As soon as he got home, he began to investigate. What makes milk… well, milk?
Across the globe, Perumal had been wondering the same thing. Surely someone, somewhere, had found a way to make dairy without relying on cows. Yet his futile searches turned up empty — until mutual friend Isha Datar of New Harvest introduced Ryan and Perumal over email. Together they began trading ideas about the possibility of making animal-free milk. It was then that Perfect Day was born.
It didn’t take long for the spirited duo to realize that the key to milk’s unparalleled nutrition, as well as its ability to turn into so many amazing products, is milk protein: specifically, the individual casein and whey proteins.
Within a few short months of starting the company, Ryan and Perumal were inundated with requests from food companies who had dreamed of finding an animal-free source of milk protein. Could fermentation be the answer?
Five years later, what started out as a dream has become a delicious reality. Ryan and Perumal have finally tasted animal-free dairy (yes, including proper cream cheese), and now they’re obsessed with bringing it to you!
Today, Perfect Day is a diverse group of chefs, food developers, scientists, engineers, and storytellers, all led by Ryan and Perumal. Together we’re working to bring Perfect Day dairy protein to the world. We’re thrilled to have incredibly bright, passionate people helping us to achieve real impact.
As our journey continues, we can’t wait to team up with food makers large and small to create a whole new category of animal-free food products — for a kinder, greener planet.