CPP fund invests $50 million in "animal-free" dairy company

A California-based company that makes “animal-free” alternatives to dairy products using microflora is receiving US$50 million in funding from the Canada Pension Plan’s investment fund.

Perfect Day announced a new US$300 million round of funding last week, led by the contribution from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Founded in 2014, the company has developed a proprietary process to produce casein and whey proteins through fermentation in microflora instead of by cows. The company started selling its lab-grown ice “cream” — with vegan and lactose-free labels — in 2019.

In addition to touting environmental and animal welfare aspects of its process, Perfect Day says it expects to have a unique advantage in being able to quickly increase or decrease production depending on demand relative to the longer production cycles in the dairy industry.

The investment is being made via CPP’s Thematic Investing group, which aims to identify and invest in emerging trends, innovations and disruptive technologies.

“It marks the first investment into Thematic Investing’s new Climate Change Opportunities strategy, which will focus on innovative companies that are well positioned to respond to the challenges posed by climate change,” says Leon Pedersen, managing director, head of Thematic Investing for CPP Investments, in a news release.

“Sustainable technologies like Perfect Day are poised to capture structural shifts in industrial practices, physical resources and consumer preferences for environmentally conscious options, which are well-suited to our long-term investing approach. We look forward to building our partnership with the company and its management team,” says Pedersen.

While it operates at arms-length from government, the CPP Investment Board is a Crown corporation, and as of March 31, it managed C$409.6 billion in investments on behalf of 20 million Canadians who contribute to CPP.

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