Go to the main content Menu
California Performance Co.
California Performance Co.
Sponsored Food & Drink
Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell

What Is Vegan Whey Protein? Here’s What You Need to Know

California Performance Co. is changing the nutrition game with their animal-free whey protein!

For years, plant-based eaters have avoided whey at all costs, because it contains dairy from cows. But now, innovative brands like California Performance Co. are releasing products with vegan whey protein. Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Well, it’s not. So what is vegan whey protein? And how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

World’s First Animal-Free Whey Protein

In 2021, California Performance Co. launched the world’s first animal-free real dairy whey protein. It looks, tastes, and performs like traditional whey protein—minus the cow! The innovative product is made in partnership with the biotech company Perfect Day. In short, Perfect Day found a way to make whey protein by fermenting microflora—without using cows or their milk.

Microflora are tiny microorganisms that perform tasks like nourishing trees and aiding digestion. Perfect Day uses them in precision fermentation, a process often used to make micronutrients like vitamins and probiotics. But unlike most companies, Perfect Day uses their microflora to create macronutrients—specifically, dairy protein traditionally found only in cow’s milk.

California Performance Co.

California Performance Co.

Turning Fungus Into Vegan Whey Protein

The exact microflora Perfect Day uses is multicellular, filamentous fungus. This particular fungus has a branching structure that allows it to grow rapidly, which makes it the perfect candidate for protein production. So how do we go from fungus to vegan whey protein?

Scientists who worked on the Bovine Genome Project in 2009 safely recorded the genome of a cow. They decoded 22,000 genes from one cow and published the information online. From this data, Perfect Day found the gene they needed for whey protein and researched its amino acids.

Essentially, the researchers take a copy of the whey protein DNA and pair it with the fungus. The microflora automatically incorporates the whey protein DNA into its own genome. So in short, the microflora mimics the DNA of whey protein, which can grow and reproduce.

The Perfect Day team then puts the whey-making microflora in a fermentation tank. There, they create the perfect environment for the microflora to naturally convert sugar to cow-free milk protein. For example, setting the right temperature and pH balance, stirring the mixture, etc. Once the process is complete, the tank contains a brothy liquid composed of water and cow-free milk protein. The team extracts the broth from the tank and separates out the protein and dries it out. The result? The purest whey protein powder that California Performance Co. uses to craft their products.

California Performance Co. V-Whey Protein

California Performance Co.’s V-Whey Protein comes in three flavors—Chocolate Brownie, Vanilla Sundae, and Mixed Berry. Not only does this vegan whey protein mimic the structure of cow-based whey, but it also tastes and performs the same way. Each variety features 20-23g of protein, 130 calories or less, and up to 5g BCAAs per serving. All of which is achieved without dairy, gluten, hormones, or soy.

So, what makes this protein powder so great? In comparison to most plant-based protein powders, V-Whey features a better amino acid profile and a higher protein content. Compared to cow-based whey protein, V-Whey is much kinder on the environment. California Performance Co. creates 97% less greenhouse gasses, uses 99% less water, and up to 60% less energy than the leading cow-based whey protein brand.

Just like any other protein powder, V-Whey can be enjoyed with water or plant-based milk. In addition, you can add a scoop to smoothies, bowls, and any other recipe with protein powder at a 1:1 ratio. Chocolate protein pancakes, anyone?

Why Animal-Free Whey Labels Say “Contains Milk Allergen”

Last but certainly not least, let’s address the question we all have after reading the ingredients label. Why do animal-free whey labels say “contains milk allergen?” This is because the vegan whey protein has the same molecular structure as cow-based whey protein. So this warning is just a precaution for people with allergies.

For more information about V-Whey Protein, visit CaliforniaPerformance.co.

Allie Mitchell


When Allie responded to an Instagram post on @vegoutlosangeles a few years ago, she had no idea she’d join the coolest vegan team on the planet. An Austin native, actress, yogi, and part-time sword fighter (don’t ask!), Allie is on a mission to live her best life and inspire others to do the same. She graduated from Hussian College In Studio with a B.F.A. in Contemporary Musical Theatre + Film and currently acts, writes, and eats her way through Los Angeles.

Must-have products: MUSH Overnight Oats, Califia Farms Creamer, HURRAW! Lip Balm, Facial Lounge Feather-Light Miracle Moisturizer

Articles by Allie
Allie Mitchell

More from VegOut

See the article plant-based latin kitchen la semilla now open in atlanta

Plant-Based Latin Kitchen La Semilla Now Open in Atlanta

This Latin kitchen is full of color, light, and delicious scratch-made dishes.

Allison van Tilborgh Allison van Tilborgh
La Semilla
News Atlanta
See the article the best vegan valentine’s day candy to buy this year

The Best Vegan Valentine’s Day Candy to Buy This Year

It’s love at first bite!

Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell
Chomp Chocolate
Food & Drink
See the article brooklyn’s beloved champs diner to permanently close this weekend

Brooklyn’s Beloved Champs Diner to Permanently Close This Weekend

The iconic vegan diner is closing up shop after 12 years of service.

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Champs Diner
News New York
See the article 9 vegan beauty brands you can find at target

9 Vegan Beauty Brands You Can Find at Target

Don’t forget to add these vegan beauty brands to your Target shopping list!

Alejandra Tolley Alejandra Tolley
Fashion & Beauty
See the article vegan mcdonald’s dupe now open in san francisco

Vegan McDonald’s Dupe Now Open in San Francisco

Mr. Charlie’s is bringing the nostalgic fast-food vibes to the Bay Area!

Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell
Mr. Charlie's
News San Francisco
See the article maya’s cookies launches 2023 black history month collection

Maya’s Cookies Launches 2023 Black History Month Collection

Enjoy this tasty tribute to Black and female excellence.

Allison van Tilborgh Allison van Tilborgh
Maya's Cookies
See the article protein bar & kitchen launches vegan menu featuring abbot’s butcher chicken

Protein Bar & Kitchen Launches Vegan Menu Featuring Abbot’s Butcher Chicken

Seven plant-based Chopped Chick’n menu items were just added to all Chicago locations.

Allison van Tilborgh Allison van Tilborgh
Protein Bar & Kitchen
News Chicago
See the article the best vegan and vegan-friendly food trucks in orlando, florida

The Best Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Food Trucks in Orlando, Florida

From mac ‘n’ cheese donuts to Ethiopian stews and ice cream treats, Orlando has it all.

Allison van Tilborgh Allison van Tilborgh
Purple Ocean Superfood Bar
Food & Drink
See the article new black-owned vegan test kitchen opens in san antonio, texas

New Black-Owned Vegan Test Kitchen Opens in San Antonio, Texas

The plant-based test kitchen features restaurant-quality Italian cuisine through takeout, delivery, and nationwide shipping.

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Rooted Vegan Cuisine
See the article the 10 best vegan ready-to-drink protein shakes

The 10 Best Vegan Ready-to-Drink Protein Shakes

Keep these protein-packed drinks on hand for a tasty and convenient way to meet your nutritional needs.

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Food & Drink
See the article the best store-bought vegan super bowl party snacks

The Best Store-Bought Vegan Super Bowl Party Snacks

You need these tasty vegan munchies at your game day celebration!

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Field Roast
Food & Drink
See the article uc berkeley’s plant futures symposium is back for 2023

UC Berkeley’s Plant Futures Symposium Is Back for 2023

This year’s theme is Paving Plant-Based Pathways: Empowering the Next Generation of Food System Leaders.

Allison van Tilborgh Allison van Tilborgh
Plant Futures
Things To Do


We’ll keep you updated on new information,
upcoming events, and the best deals in your area.

By signing up you agree to receive emails from VegOut Magazine
and accept our terms of use, privacy policy, and cookie policy.

Subscribe Now

Get the latest in plant-based news, entertainment, and lifestyle delivered straight to your door (or inbox!)
Order the magazine!


Subscribe Now

Order the magazine!



The Most



Test 2