We love cheese. We love yoghurt. Ice cream too, and so many other animal based products that are fundamental to our culture and heritage. But using animals to produce these goodies is extremely wasteful and destructive.
Today, we are announcing the birth of Noquo Foods to challenge the status quo and re-invent the foods we love, starting with cheese.
Food can fix our planet and our health
Our current food system is broken in so many ways. For one, it’s the most pollutive industry on our planet, with livestock contributing to 2/3 of that. On the other hand, our dietary related health problems are skyrocketing.
Reducing animal based products is considered to be one of the most effective tools in achieving both a healthy population and a healthy planet. The recent EAT-Lancet report brilliantly summarises how this presents a huge challenge and an even bigger opportunity.
Give the people superior alternatives!
We believe the best way to drive change is to make available tasty and affordable plant based alternatives that people know how to use. This is a fairly complex task given cultural aspects, consumers current taste reference, lack of economies of scale etc.
Using science and technology we believe it’s possible to develop plant based alternatives that over time are tastier, more nutritious, cheaper and more sustainable for our planet. We have to ask the right questions, gather the right people and make the right investments.
The fact is we haven’t really been trying that long. Until recently using animals in food production wasn’t even questioned. We are just scratching the surface here as to what can be achieved.
Making a better cheese
We start with cheese for a number of reasons. First of all we love cheese! We often hear that it presents the last barrier for many towards committing fully to a vegan diet. And statistics show that flexitarians and vegetarians buy way more cheese than the average consumer.
So while demand should be there, the non-dairy cheese products are seeing lower adoption than other products in the category indicating unimpressed consumers. We agree. The most popular vegan cheeses are made of coconut oil and starch. These are cheap and accessible but with an unimpressive experience. Then there’s the premium desert cheeses made from cashew nuts. These are expensive and cover only a niche category. This highlights a big hole in the cheese market (pun intended).
In addition to all this, dairy is unreasonably resource intensive as it stands for 4% of global CO2 emissions. The production of 1kg of cheese, which needs about 10 litres of milk, emits 13kg CO2 which is equivalent to 1kg pork or driving 50km with a car. In replacing the cow, sheep or goat with plants we believe huge efficiencies can be achieved on both emissions and, over time, costs.
We are not the first and only ones to have identified this problem but to make a delicious plant based cheese is anything but easy. Mimicking dairy based cheese has by many been framed as a mission impossible. Maybe it’s time to introduce ourselves?
Meet the founders
We, Sorosh Tavakoli and Anja Leissner, met about 6 months ago after Anja had read about Sorosh’s search for ambitious scientists who wanted to make vegan cheese for a better world. It turned out that Anja had recently developed a vegan cheese prototype in a different project and we quickly felt the stars aligning.
Anja had the technical expertise and relevant experience from the food industry (dairy, lipids, product development etc.) and Sorosh had built and scaled a company in the past (Videoplaza). As we’ve gotten to know each other better including our partners, pets and kids too, we think we are a perfect match! We both refuse accepting status quo and we have the passion, drive and we’re crazy enough to embark on a journey like this. Wish us good luck, we will need a lot of it.
Join our team!
We are currently hiring two people for our R&D team based in our lab in Södertälje, just outside of Stockholm. Spread the word or apply if you want to join us in our mission!
So where the cheese at?
Don’t hold your breath. We just started working on this and currently have limited visibility on when we can get our products to market. Sign up to be on our mailing list on our website if you want to follow our progress.
Do you want to know more, partner or anything, feel free to get in touch!
Anja Leissner (email@example.com) & Sorosh Tavakoli (firstname.lastname@example.org)