- The Urgent Company is acquiring premium ice cream maker Coolhaus from Sunshine Strategic Partners for an undisclosed sum. This is the first acquisition for The Urgent Company, a standalone CPG business started by animal-free dairy company Perfect Day. The Urgent Company General Manager and Co-founder Paul Kollesoff told Forbes, which first reported the story, that the deal has been in the works since early this year. Coolhaus will eventually transition to be 100% animal-free.
- Coolhaus co-founder and CEO Natasha Case will move to The Urgent Company and become its new president of brand experience. The ice cream company’s CFO Ryan Bennett will become The Urgent Company’s senior vice president of operations and integration. Kollesoff told Forbes all Coolhaus employees were being offered positions at either The Urgent Company or Perfect Day.
- Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy proteins got their start in ice cream, first in a pilot launch from the ingredient company itself, and then through The Urgent Company’s first CPG brand, Brave Robot. Independent ice cream makers Smitten, Graeter’s and Nick’s also use Perfect Day dairy in some of their pints.
Through new product launches and developments, animal-free dairy has been increasingly commanding more attention this year. With this acquisition, the CPG company affiliated with Perfect Day is showing that this space has some muscle in its pocketbook as well.
Coolhaus is not only known for its quirky flavors, but also its commitment to mission and social issues. It was started in 2009 by Case and her wife Freya Estreller, who have said they didn’t feel represented by owners of other brands. They have made flavors to commemorate Pride and to support estranged British royal-by-marriage Meghan Markle, as well as worked with CPG companies to create ice cream flavored with Ritz crackers and French’s mustard.
The acquisition helps Coolhaus bolster its sustainability credentials. According to a life cycle assessment done by consulting firm WSP, Perfect Day’s proteins reduce blue water consumption by at least 96%. A previous life-cycle assessment showed that Perfect Day’s production reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 97%.
“We created Coolhaus to make better products for everybody. Our ability to lead with purpose and move the dial for consumers becomes even stronger by joining The Urgent Company,” Case said in a written statement. “For us, this is about the long game. The integration of Perfect Day protein into our line of beloved dairy ice cream and novelties is going to elevate our product into the next generation of foods making a difference for our families and our planet.”
The acquisition also helps Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy proteins get more exposure and find their way into a bigger spotlight. Ice cream with Perfect Day’s dairy has been available since last year, but it’s either been in new brand Brave Robot or in pints that are only available through e-commerce or in scoop shops. Coolhaus is a well-known premium brand currently available in more than 7,500 stores nationwide. Once it transitions to animal-free dairy, anyone who picks up a pint or one of its novelties will also be trying Perfect Day’s precision fermented dairy proteins. This will help drive trial and establish the ingredient among consumers. The Urgent Company also plans to launch a co-branded animal-free Coolhaus/Brave Robot novelty product exclusively with an undisclosed national retailer in 2022.
As Perfect Day has scaled this year, its dairy-free ingredients have gone beyond ice cream. In just the last several months, The Urgent Company has launched two new brands — Modern Kitchen, which makes cream cheese, and California Performance Co., which creates whey protein powder. Additionally, new ingredient partnerships with General Mills and Natreve, and foodservice partnerships with Starbucks and Villa Dolce are expanding the universe in which the alternatively produced dairy is found. As animal-free dairy continues to prove itself and the proteins continue to appear in different products, it’s also unlikely that Coolhaus is the last company to be acquired in this space.