German fermented dairy startup rebrands, announces first product

6 May 2021

Berlin-based precision fermentation company LegenDairy is rebranding itself as Formo, the Latin word for ‘I mold, I form,’ according to a press release from the company. The rebranding coincides with the announcement that the company plans to launch its first consumer products in 2023.

“It is the right time for us to launch a protectable consumer brand. Our new brand communicates our vision and values: changing the food system through delicious animal-free products”, said Raffael Wohlgensinger, Formo founder and CEO. In its release, the company noted that the new brand embodies the spirit of the product, which mixes breakthrough science with traditional cheesemaking methods, to create “hedonistic cheese products” that are “indistinguishable’ from animal-based choices.

German fermented dairy startup rebrands, announces first product
Image courtesy of Formo

Formo focuses on European-style cheeses like ricotta as well as aged cheeses. However, the market in which the company intends to launch its first consumer products remains a decision to be made.

According to reports from Food Navigator, gaining regulatory approval for its cheese products is of paramount importance and will dictate where the company debuts its inaugural consumer products. Currently, Formo is pursuing approval in multiple jurisdictions.

At the same time, the fermentation firm is working to build consumer confidence in its products. Part of this effort relies on a consumer acceptance study that Formo is currently conducting. Concurrent with this acceptance study, the German company is pursuing a partnership with the Michelin star chef, Ricky Saward who runs a fully vegan, hyper-local restaurant where he is using Formo’s validated prototypes in cuisine.

While cheese is Formo’s current pursuit for its precision fermentation technology, the company says its rebrand also serves as a gateway to allow it to pivot in the future to other products. “We identify ourselves as a purpose-driven company, and the Formo brand allows us to move beyond traditional dairy in the future as well,” said the company’s CFO Roman Plewka in the release.

Currently though, focusing on cheese places Formo in the company of other businesses like Perfect Day, Daiya and Miyoko’s Creamery that are working to take a slice of a ripe market for plant-based cheese alternatives. Plant-based alternatives only comprise about 3% of the $34.3 billion cheese space, according to SPINS statistics, but the popularity of these products is propelling enormous growth. Data from KSU show that plant-based dairy will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% from 2021 to 2027 to reach $4.4 billion by 2027. If Formo can commercialize its vegan cheese, there is plenty of market share for it to take a bite from.

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