FAQs

You’re curious, we like it.

CHEESY QUESTIONS

How can I get my hands on some Formo cheese?

We are launching end of this summer in German retail. Excitiiing! Stay in the loop for gooey updates by following us on Instagram.

I’m lactose intolerant. Can I still eat Formo’s cheese?

Oof that sucks. Good news though: our products are lactose-free.

Are the cheeses vegan?

Yas! No ‘mooh’ or ‘bah’ has been involved in making our products. They are 100% animal-free, though we care for our little koji-proteins with as much love as we would for a pet cow.

Find out more in this FAQ’s ‘How, how, without a cow?’ section.

Is Formo’s cheese healthy?

Like regular cheese, koji cheese is a delicious indulgence. But one of our cheese products’ superpowers is low cholesterol. If anyone in your family has high blood pressure but understandably can’t ditch cheese, you may have found a great present for them. Check out our cheeses.

Our cheese is by definition, hormone-, lactose-, and antibiotic-free. Oh, sweet freedom.

How are your cheeses different from plant-based products?

As adventurers and curious eaters, we have tasted our way through the plant-based cheese sections. It’s not even controversial to say that most alternatives have ‘potential’ — maybe even a bit too much (wink wink). 

Formo’s cheese is made using koji, a naturally occurring fungi primarily found in Japan. Koji is used to make umami-filled soy sauce and miso.

So instead of plant proteins, we use koji-proteins and add carbohydrates and fats — voilá, dare we say, it’s delish.

This is the next-generation animal-free cheese we have all been waiting for.

HOW, HOW, WITHOUT A COW?

What is koji-protein?

Koji is a naturally occurring fungal strain primarily found in Japan. It is used to make umami-filled products like soy sauce and miso. No wonder it’s also a great find for making mouthwatering cheese.  

Koji has a long history. It has been part of the diet in Japan for more than 2,000 years. “Shio-koji” (salted koji) became a hit in 2012 and is now used in Asia and worldwide to add umami flavor. 

By the way, koji is a Japanese name that means “cultivate,” “heal,” and “peace.” As you can see, we are great fans of the magic of koji. 

P.S.: Just like there are animal-based and plant-based proteins, koji-based proteins are a category of their own, with many different types of koji. How many? Enough to make a bunch of great cheese varieties.

How do you make koji-protein? What is micro fermentation?

Micro fermentation harnesses naturally occurring microorganisms to craft food ingredients. 

Imagine a large beer brewery but for koji-protein. There are some fermenters, big steel tanks like in a typical brewery, and inside are koji strains, happily floating in a bath of food — micro nutrients and sugars (who wouldn’t want that kind of life?).

Once they are grown up, we gently separate the koji-proteins from their nutrient bubble bath. This process is called micro fermentation.

How do you make cheese out of koji-protein?

Well, that’s where the magic happens. While koji has been used for over two millennia, no one has ever figured out how to make the next generation of great cheeses from it — until now. 

We found a way to combine koji-protein with the right amount and blend of delicious fats and carbs. Then, we pass it on to traditional cheese-makers, who can use this goodness to create your next favorite piece of cheese. 

One of our main partners is a family-owned cheese manufacturer that has made cheese since 1932. Cool, huh?

Wow, so this can be a much more sustainable option?

If we use macroorganisms, like cows, they require a lot of space, water, and feed for years and years. 

The last time we checked, our microorganisms didn’t need to grow hooves, skeletons, or horns. They are teeny-tiny and, therefore, require fewer resources — less water, less feed, and much less space.

Also, because we keep them safely tucked away in well-cleaned fermenters, no antibiotics are required — yay. 

Sustainability has been at the heart of Formos’ mission from day one, and we take it seriously. So, we have an entire sustainability roadmap, and as we grow, it will just improve.

Follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop on our path to the most tasty, guilt-free, sustainable indulgences the world has ever seen.

Formo facts

Who are Formo?

We are a bunch of cheese enthusiasts who want to do good for the world while indulging in mouth-watering mozzarella on our pizzas and stinky blue cheese on our bread rolls. You can find out about our dedicated team here.

What are the benefits of working at Formo?

Next to regular delicious cheese tastings, we do offer a variety of other different benefits such as:

  • A mobility budget that will help you get around
  • Discounted access to Urban Sports Club, Wellpass or Jobrad
  • ESOP options, so you can own a stake in the company’s success
  • A laptop of your choice, to make sure you’re fully equipped
  • A learning and development budget
  • Corporate benefits to help you save on everyday expenses
  • Weekly team lunches to connect with your colleagues
  • Regular team events and company offsites
What else do you have planned for the future?

Well, the power of the mighty koji has yet to be explored. There are many other use cases that we can only dream of. We want to improve your Saturday brunches and Monday lunches.

One moonshot we have been working on for quite a while has been precision fermentation. Precision fermentation will allow us to produce natural milk proteins and make real cheese — but animal-free.

What is precision fermentation?

Precision fermentation is, as the name says, pretty precise and, therefore, pretty challenging. It describes the process of making a specific molecule — for example, a particular milk protein — using microorganisms (like yeast, fungi, and algae) instead of macroorganisms (like cows, goats, and camels — yes, camel milk is a thing). 

So, how do we do this? We identify the cow genes responsible for making milk and use genetic engineering to teach microorganisms to produce milk protein. So imagine, instead of producing alcohol, a yeast culture would produce milk protein. 

Just like in micro fermentation, the microorganisms float around in a fermenter, are fed nutrients, and produce milk protein. The milk protein is then gently filtered out and used to make real cheese. Yes, identical to cheese from cow milk protein; isn’t that cool?

This methodology has been used for over 50 years already, and if you like cheese as much as we do, it’s nothing new to you. Animal rennet, the substance that turns milk into cheese, is made using precision fermentation. The ‘old-school’ way of making rennet would be to get it from baby calves’ stomachs — meh, that’s so 1950s.

How is micro fermentation different from precision fermentation?

Okay, okay, we are getting into the nitty-gritty here. There are three main differences between micro fermentation and precision fermentation.

(1) The microorganisms used
Micro fermentation uses microorganisms that have been around for a long time. For example, koji cultures have been used for over two millennia in Japanese cuisine.

Precision fermentation involves changing the DNA of organisms, so they develop superpowers. These are your Spidermans of the microorganism world.

(2) The food ingredients they create
Micro fermentation produces, for example, koji-protein, which is super versatile and can be combined with carbs and fats to create cheeses.

Precision fermentation opens grand opportunities to produce real-deal, bio-identical milk proteins without any cows or other dairy animals.

(3) The possibilities and types of foods
Micro fermentation is a great match to produce delicious soft cheeses. They taste great and are relatively easy to make.

Precision fermentation can open up the land of hard cheeses and stretchable and meltable deliciousness. It allows you to enjoy almost any cheese — free of antibiotics, lactose, and hormones — produced locally in a fermenter.

As you can see, this is the moonshot of the future of cheese production. We are working on it, but you know, moonshots — they can take a bit of time.

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