makinganimal-free dairy.

Why we love both

At Formo, we believe in harnessing the best of both worlds. Micro fermentation honors ancient traditions with a modern twist, while precision fermentation pushes the boundaries of science for a sustainable future. Together, they represent our commitment to creating delicious, animal-free cheese that’s better for you and the planet.

FAQs

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 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?

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.