European precision-fermentation leader Formo has teamed up with the University of Saskatchewan on a landmark study, shedding light on the promising intersection of precision fermentation, the cheese market, and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives within the dairy industry.
The new research, published in International Food and Agribusiness Management Review Journal, suggests that even with a 25 percent price premium, a sizable number of consumers will adopt animal-free cheese, accounting for an initial 22 percent market share.
When prices for cheese like Formo’s, which utilizes precision fermentation to generate milk from microorganisms, become equivalent to conventional cheese, the researchers forecasted that animal-free cheese will claim a 33 percent market share. As consumer adoption, industry alliances, and technological progress intensify, these figures are expected to increase accordingly.
The findings draw on data from more than 1,200 U.K. residents.
“The question of whether society will embrace the next generation of food has loomed over the cell-ag space for quite some time,” Associate Prof. Peter Slade of the University of Saskatchewan said in a statement. “As long as precision-fermentation dairy can achieve competitive prices, it is poised to revolutionize markets.”
According to Oscar Zollman Thomas, lead researcher at Formo, the observations indicate that higher cheese prices do not necessarily lead to a decrease in consumer cheese consumption. “Instead, consumers seek out alternative options,” he said. “The advent of animal-free dairy, produced through fermentation, introduces a completely new market paradigm. When presented with choices that respect their connection with cheese while addressing their existing concerns, consumers readily embrace the transition.”
The study results are compelling; the findings imply that while the global dairy sector experiences an upsurge in demand, animal-free dairy cheese is set to replace a substantial portion of traditional dairy cheese consumption, thus greatly mitigating the environmental harm of rising dairy demand.
The study further found that an overwhelming 79 percent of consumers seeking animal-free dairy cheese will have previously opted for conventional dairy cheese. This finding highlights the potential for a substantial new market within the global dairy industry, valued at more than $1 billion.
‘Precision fermentation will conquer mass markets’
“The results demonstrate an increasing public awareness of the costs associated with industrialized dairy and a readiness for products that provide delightful experiences without the social repercussions,” Formo’s Founder and CEO, Raffael Wohlgensinger said of the study.
“The overwhelming demand from mainstream cheese consumers confirms our hypothesis: Precision fermentation will conquer mass markets rather than catering solely to the vegan segment. With Formo on track to achieve cost parity with conventional dairy, we anticipate a paradigm shift in the supply and consumption of dairy and dairy-like products. We are witnessing nothing short of a dairy revolution,” he said.
The study also measured the effectiveness of efforts including livestock emission taxes versus precision fermentation for curbing dairy consumption. According to the findings, precision fermentation has a more potent impact on reducing livestock emissions than carbon taxes.
“These figures indicate precision fermentation dairy being 10x more effective at reducing animal-dairy consumption than carbon taxes at current levels,” Wohlgensinger said. “This highlights the superior impact of precision fermentation in curbing dairy consumption and should be a wake-up call for governments to back this groundbreaking technology.”
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