I’ve tried almost all of the dairy alternatives when it comes to ice cream – almond or oat, cashew or coconut – and I must say, they usually don’t hit the sweet spot the way a typical, creamy, dairy-based ice cream does. It leaves you with a feeling of wanting more. There is just something missing… literally.
But then I came across Brave Robot – made with the dairy we know and love, yet it’s… animal-free? But how? More importantly, how have I never heard of this before, and could it be as good as the real thing?
I took a closer look at the packaging… “Better with Perfect Day.” I immediately needed to know more and pulled out my phone for a rapid Google frenzy in the middle of the ice cream aisle.
I’m brought to the Brave Robot website and there is an explosion of color. Massive, swirled ice cream scoop moons and planets in a galactic world cover the screen – a futuristic galaxy made purely of ice cream. Now wouldn’t that be something.
I try not to get distracted by the bright blues and purples jumping off the screen and head straight for the FAQs:
“We use Perfect Day non-animal whey protein to make Brave Robot Ice Cream. Non-animal whey protein is the same whey you’d find in cow’s milk, except zero cows are involved.”
Still confused? Same.
To spare you the scientific details, Perfect Day is essentially made in a lab by fermenting microflora (which contains the same genetic blueprint as typical whey protein) with plant sugars. Science does its magic, and the result is the non-animal whey protein, or ‘dairy,’ that is used in Brave Robot Ice Cream. I never would have thought I’d be eating ice cream made in a science lab but here we are!
The best part is that while Brave Robot technically contains dairy and milk proteins, it is only a replica of the real thing, so it is considered vegan- and lactose-free. And while you’re enjoying the animal-free, dairy based ice cream without all the stomach cramps, you can rest assured knowing you’re doing something good for the planet too.
With a mission to create a planet positive and sustainable environment, Brave Robot found a dairy alternative that ultimately requires less water, land, animals and energy in comparison to traditional industrial farming. The result is a tasty ice cream of the future that reduces our carbon footprint all thanks to science.
But Brave Robot isn’t the only brand using this innovative approach to animal-free, dairy based ice cream. Perfect Day has also partnered with additional ice cream brands on the market including Nick’s and Graeter’s. The tech-forward company is hoping to expand their portfolio to global organizations who have a strong focus in sustainability as well.
Alright, but now for the real question. How does it taste? I snagged Vanilla ‘N Cookies, PB ‘N Fudge, Buttery Pecan and A Lot of Chocolate off the shelf to give a try. As an Oreo/vanilla/cookie-dough lover, I was most excited for the Vanilla ‘N Cookies, but after digging in, the flavor ultimately lacked the true vanilla bean taste from a typical Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream bite. The ratio of ice cream to cookie crumble was also a bit disappointing as I was hoping for more of the cookie flavor to come through and balance out the taste. After this lackluster experience, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t too excited to try out the other flavors.
However, and listen, maybe it was my sweet tooth calling at the moment, but I was blown away by the flavor I was most reluctant to try: Buttery Pecan. While I’m usually not attracted to pecan desserts, the caramel swirls added the flavor and sweetness I was looking for, and the nutty pecan bites along the way were a perfect match, making me forget I wasn’t even consuming real dairy. I was pleasantly surprised!
The PB ‘N Fudge was a close second followed by the A Lot of Chocolate. But you’re talking to a non-chocolate lover, so this is not to say A Lot of Chocolate was any less delicious, just a personal preference. That said, when comparing Brave Robot’s A Lot of Chocolate to a typical dairy fudge-based ice cream, the taste and creaminess are truly spot on. In all of the flavors I tried, the consistency was exactly what you are looking for in a dairy-based ice cream. None of the icy, watery textures I sometimes experience with a nut milk alternative.
So, if you are looking for a vegan friendly ice cream and are interested in trying out something new, I definitely recommend checking out Brave Robot. The science-forward brand still needs to break the barrier of introducing consumers to the concept of animal-free dairy, but I see their target consumer being eager to learn more as the alternative milk category continues to grow.
Which flavor are you excited to try?