Tomorrow Farms, which is part of a new wave of startups using animal-free whey proteins created using microbial fermentation (minus the cows), is aiming to redefine and reinvent the fluid milk category.
"We like to think we have a simple but ambitious goal and that goal is to reinvent your favorite foods. For us, dairy is a prime example of that," Tomorrow Farms CEO Ben Berman told FoodNavigator-USA. "We think that animal-free dairy is the future of this category."
Bored Cow flavored milk gets its dairy credentials from Perfect Day’s animal-free beta-lactoglobulin (the main whey protein in cow's milk), which Berman explained is identical to conventional whey protein with up to 97% fewer carbon emissions (no cows are involved), while providing the same creaminess, nutrition, and functionality as traditional dairy milk.
"The future of food is one where conscious consumers enjoy the foods they love, made more sustainably. With Bored Cow, the team at Tomorrow Farms has created an excellent example of just how delicious, nutritious, and fun a product which leverages the best of our food system can be," added Ryan Pandya, co-founder at Perfect Day, which now supplies multiple brands in ice cream (Brave Robot, Nick's, Graeter's), cheese (Modern Kitchen, BOLD CULTR), ready to mix proteins (MOOLESS), confectionery (WOO!) and milk (betterland foods).
Bored Cow's three flavored animal-free dairy milks (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) will be available to purchase online beginning in early June, with a fourth unflavored “original” offering debuting later this summer.
Total addressable market: dairy and non-dairy consumers
Berman believes that the total addressable market for Bored Cow is vast and can potentially pull in all types of consumers.
"One of the reasons we’re so excited about this product is that it does sit right in the middle and pull from both of those markets [dairy and plant-based]. We believe that if you currently drink traditional dairy milk, there’s a strong reason why you might consider switching to Bored Cow.
"That might be the lack of hormones and antibiotics, it might be the fact we’re offering chocolate milk with 0g of sugar, it might be that your body is not taking into lactose as well as it used to. Or, that you’re waking up to the climate issues facing our planet and that you’re trying to find small ways in your daily habits and your daily consumption to lessen your impact on the planet," Berman said.
There's also a nostalgia factor at play with many consumers who want to simply enjoy chocolate milk again, added Berman.
"It is a chance for us to recreate a product that I don’t think a single person in this country doesn’t find nostalgic in some way."
Nutrition, function, and taste...
Ultimately, Berman noted, nutrition, function, and taste will be the strongest pull for consumers as Bored Cow delivers the same nutrient credentials (8g of protein per serving and the same amount of calcium, vitamin D and other essential vitamins and minerals as traditional dairy milk), "all the creaminess" as conventional dairy milk, along with 0g of sugar in each serving of flavored milk thanks to an in-house stevia solution developed by Tomorrow Farms.
While not going into specifics about the rest of the product's formulation and ingredients, Berman said, "The rest of the formulation is about giving it the taste and feel and functional benefits of traditional milk, and we think that we do that better than anyone else on the market."
Berman added that Bored Cow products can steam, foam, and whip just like traditional dairy.
"I think people are going to be shocked by the functional benefits of the product," he said.
"One of the reasons our partners love working with our protein is that it allows for all the functionality of traditional dairy. So anyplace that a consumer would use flavored milk, they can enjoy Bored Cow," commented Pandya.
Bored Cow branding
With exuberant, playful, and colorful branding, the name 'Bored Cow' is meant to represent all the activities dairy cows would get up if they didn't have to go to work (i.e. the dairy farm) every day.
"For us the creative direction of the brand was to make people smile a little bit at the branding," said Berman.
"This character driven universe that we’ve created around Bored Cow is one where we think we can really help us tell this story about a brand-new category that we believe we will define. We believe that animal-free dairy is the future, and we believe that Bored Cow will be synonymous with that category," said Berman.
Rollout strategy: 'We do know we’ll be in stores by the end of this year'
The products, which are shelf-stable with a one-year shelf life, will first be available direct-to-consumer through the Bored Cow website, where customers can order single- and multi-serve cartons straight to their door.
"We believe that over the past few years, consumers have become increasingly comfortable purchasing their groceries online and we sort of like to think of ourselves as the modern-day milkman in that sense," said Berman.
"In the future, we expect a larger retail rollout. While we’re not ready to announce who those retailers are yet, we do know we’ll be in stores by the end of this year."