The Plant-Based Protein Innovation That Has Big-Name Companies Excited

Whey protein is a popular product for people who are looking to feed their bodies after exercising or for people who need to supplement the protein intake in their diets. There are some reasons why you should think twice about using whey protein, however, but those cautions have a new solution that some big-name companies hope to milk for all it's worth.

According to Food Business News, whey protein is made from the liquid that remains after dairy milk curdles. Thus, it's a no-go for anyone on a dairy-free or vegan diet. There's another issue, however. In 2011, the USDA did a study that found a commercial dairy farm with 10,000 cows generated an astounding 33,092 pounds of the greenhouse gas methane. Thus, green-minded consumers or simply those who can't tolerate lactose have needed to steer clear of whey protein.

Up until now, that is. Innovations in food science have taken a leap forward and at least one brand you're already familiar with is in on the action.

Whey that's way cooler

According to Food Business News, companies like Perfect Day, Inc., have developed a technique for deriving a protein identical to whey protein through the fermentation of plant-based microflora. Science Direct explains that microflorae are plant-based microorganisms comparable to algae. Perfect Day, Inc.'s process, Food Business News says, has recently passed a third-party assessment that estimated the production of this whey-alternative emits up to 97% fewer greenhouse gases, claims up to 99% less water, and uses as much as 60% less non-renewable energy than the production of traditional whey protein.

For that reason and because non-dairy proteins may be safer and more appealing to people who need to avoid dairy and with plant-based diets, companies like Mars, Inc. have taken notice. The manufacturer of candies like 3 Musketeers and M&Ms has partnered with Perfect Day, Inc. to launch a new C02COA plant-based chocolate bar. That doesn't mean you should dive head-first into these new creations if you'd like to avoid traditional whey protein for health reasons, though.

Like with any other food product, you need to consider the entire composition and all the nutritional facts in relation to your individual needs. An interview with a certified nutrition expert revealed that many ready-made protein shakes, even plant-based, can be packed with sugar. Thus, like with many other foods, balance is important.