VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestlé SA announced it plans to develop animal-free dairy protein-based products as part of its focus on the growing dairy alternatives market.

The company expects to launch its novel product pilot in the US sometime this year as a test-and-learn trial.

“We are exploring emerging technologies that can lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious and sustainable, without compromising on taste, flavor and texture,” said Heike Steiling, head of Nestlé’s Development Center for dairy products. “Bringing together our unmatched R&D expertise, innovation capabilities and scale, we are working to develop and test novel animal-free dairy protein-based products to complement our wide-ranging portfolio of plant-based alternatives.”

The company will make use of animal-free dairy protein from food tech startup Perfect Day, Berkeley, Calif., which uses precision fermentation and microflora to create a protein powder identical to whey protein found in traditional dairy, according to the company.

“While this category is still very young, we know consumers are looking for products that have a reduced environmental footprint, and we are evaluating this avenue as a future growth opportunity for our business,” said Joanna Yarbrough, head of Nestlé’s R+D Accelerator.