You’re curious, I like it.
What does precision fermented cheese taste like?
We had the grand idea to make our animal-free cheese taste exactly like cheese.
The proteins our microorganisms make have the same functionality as cow-produced proteins so it’s indistinguishable from the OG stuff. Layer our European cheese heritage on top, and we have some pretty special fromage.
I’m lactose intolerant, can I eat Formo’s cheese?
Oosh, sucks. Good news though – our products are lactose free.
Is cheese made with precision fermentation healthy?
In terms of nutrition it’s directly comparable to cheese made using animals, a good source of protein, fat and satisfaction.
It is, however, without those suckas like lactose, antibiotics or hormones that some dairy products might contain though. It’s cleaner, happier dairy.
How much will it cost?
It’s our ambition to make products accessible for everyone who wants to live out a cheesy, animal-free life.
As with all new products though, it will at first be more expensive than the incumbent products. This will fall quickly over time as our processes get more slick and efficient though.
When can I taste Formo’s cheese?
2023, baby. You can find out the juicy when/where/how details by following us on social media.
Is Formo’s cheese suitable for vegans?
Well, people do the vegan thing for a variety of reasons: health, ethics, environment, social-media standing, etc.
For animal-product avoiders though, our cheese is 100% animal-free. Also absent: lactose, hormones, antibiotics.
Which cheeses will you make?
We’re making a variety of cheeses, with our first products listed on the cheese page.
Creamy soft cheeses, pungent blues, tangy cured cheeses and a bright feta number. We cannot wait for you to try them.
What is precision fermentation?
Precision fermentation uses microorganisms (think yeast, fungi, or algae) to produce complex, organic molecules like proteins or fat, without the exploitation of animals. It’s been used for over 50 years in the medical and food industries, already replacing ingredients like animal rennet.
We identified the cow genes responsible for producing milk proteins, writing copies of them ourselves that we blended into the DNA of our microorganisms. After feeding them with nutrients such as carbohydrates and nitrogen they produce milk proteins identical to those found in cow’s milk.
What will industrial production of Formo’s cheese look like?
Imagine a large beer brewery, but for cheese. We’re currently running pilot-scale fermentation tanks but once we industrialise the process, we’ll use stainless steel tanks of 50,000 liters or more to grow and multiply our milk proteins in a secure and controlled environment. We’ll use these to produce the basic curd for our cheeses, which can then be packaged straight away as fresh cheese or ripened to allow those lovely mature flavours to develop.
Does it contain GMOs?
The protein in our animal-free cheese is completely GMO free. We do however, change the genes of microorganisms to allow them to make this protein for us in brewery-like facilities.
These microorganisms are the factory for our protein, and not an ingredient in the final product.
What happens if this stuff escapes the lab?!
All of large scale fermentation occurs in giant fermenter tanks. These tanks are tightly sealed to avoid outside agents getting into our broth. Were our organisms to slop out of tanks and leap the barbed wire fences around the facility, they would not be able to survive without an optimised temperature or fixable nitrogen source so they would die very quickly. RIP
How exactly is precision fermented dairy better for the planet?
Fantastic question. Most metrics show producing proteins through microorganisms instead of animals as way better for the planet. First estimates show reductions in GHG emissions by 91%-97%, water consumption by 96%-99%, energy consumption by 60%, and land usage by 99%.
Savings like this can help us avoid creeping towards environmental cliff edges but also allow us to return significant amounts of land back to nature.
Does anyone even want animal-free dairy?
Yup, it looks like it. We teamed up with the University of Bath to ask 5,000 people how they felt about the idea of precision-fermentation made dairy. Over 78% of consumers saw themselves as likely or definitely likely to buy animal-free dairy cheese when it’s available.
We made our findings and methodology open-access, check it here.
Why not just adopt a plant based lifestyle instead?
We love a good bowl of daal but to reach the many who still want animal products in their life, we need a different strategy. Creating products that hit the elusive animalish sweet spot can be a massive step towards reducing our reliance industrial animal agriculture.
What will be the impact of precision fermentation in dairy?
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, species extinction and water pollution, responsible at the same time for 18% of all greenhouse gases. Cows are prime culprits here, so if we could even reduce our reliance on them slightly, massive environmental savings would be made.
In general though, precision-fermentation and technology at large can only be one part of rebalancing our food-system. Our attitudes to nature, animals and food all need to shift, along with those of legacy industries and politicians. We hope the emergence of values-driven technology will stimulate and grow alongside the different components of a fixed food system.
Who is Formo?
We’re Formo. We were founded in 2019 by Raffa and Britta, when we used to be called Legendairy. It’s our mission create a better planet through sustainable food, realising the beauty and potential of science with purpose.
Who’s invested in Formo?
We didn’t have money to research how to make cheese with microorganisms by ourselves. We therefore sought investors who believed the world would be a better place with animal-free dairy in it. We found some. They include EQT, Agronomics, Good Seed Ventures, Grazia Equity, M Ventures, Elevat3 Capital, Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, Lionheart Ventures, Happiness Capital, and Albert Wenger.
What does Formo mean?
Because we take things seriously, the word Formo comes from Latin. It means ‘I form’ or ‘I mould’ and is incidentally the root of the word fromage.