Studies & Numbers

Report by Formo Finds Promising Consumer Attitudes to Animal-Free Dairy

New research by German precision fermentation company Formo, in collaboration with Mercy for Animals and Fordham University, has examined consumer attitudes to animal-free dairy products.

Study participants were introduced to the concept of creating animal-free dairy proteins, such as whey and casein, by encoding microorganisms with milk-protein DNA. They were then asked for their response.

Overall, consumers across multiple countries were enthusiastic and curious about the technology. Many readily saw the advantages, including improved animal welfare, more choice, and lower environmental impact. However, some participants were confused about precision fermentation and unsure how to categorise products made in this way.

Formo
Image courtesy of ProVeg

Naming

Consumers were then asked to choose their favourite of five potential names for dairy products produced using precision fermentation. “Animal-free dairy” was by far the most popular, described as the clearest and most straightforward term. This was followed by “next-gen dairy”. “Parallel dairy” was the most disliked term, with many consumers finding it confusing.

Following the report’s publication, a webinar will be held today at 12 p.m. EST to discuss the findings.

“It was gratifying to see consumers connect the dots on the motivation behind a new way of making dairy: better for the environment, better for animals, and urgently needed given current population growth,” said Oscar Zollman Thomas of Formo. “It also served as a needed reminder of the responsibility we have in introducing these products to the world—transparently and honestly communicating not just the science but also the rationale behind these products.”

Formo Founders
Founders Dr. Britta Winterberg and Raffael Wohlgensinger ©Formo

Scaling up

Formo recently announced a collaboration with Brain Biotech to scale up its production of animal-free dairy proteins. Brain’s fermentation facilities will allow Formo to significantly speed up the commercialisation of the proteins.

The collaboration follows on from Formo’s Series A funding round last September, where it raised $50 million — a record for a European foodtech company. A previous study conducted by Formo found that 71% of consumers would be willing to buy dairy made with precision fermentation — and the company says its products have advantages for the industry too.

“We see our technology as a solution to many supply-chain risks around food security,” Formo told vegconomist. “For instance, dairy products made with precision fermentation allow for more decentralised production. This means that we can minimise supply-chain risks, especially for countries which are very dependent on imports.”

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