It’s really really hard to keep up blogging! I’ve sneaked out from my holiday today leaving my wife and 3 kids to catch up on some work and voila, here’s a summary of 2020 and what to expect from us next year!
More scientists = more cheese + better cheese
Last year we spent a gigantic amount of time and effort to find, charm and onboard another 5 amazing people to the now 8 full-time strong team.
Luke Colleran, food scientist, was the first to join us from Ireland having worked with R&D at a large dairy co-op and as a cheese monger for 5 years in both Cork and New York City. Andrea Comasio, PhD, joined us from Belgium having done extensive research on fermenting food systems and as our master in sourdough. Lubica Macakova, PhD, joined us from the Swedish Research Institute RISE with a wide experience from research projects in food, life science and is now leading the laboratory work and team. Joanna Li joined us as a Product Developer from Arla Foods in China, Denmark and Sweden. And finally Jonna Holmberg joined us to run People Operations, having just been through a startup journey (25 to 75 people) at Edtech company Kognity.
We now have significantly more fire power in R&D and also increased capacity to not only expand the team further, but to collaborate and exceed in magical ways as a dream team! And on that note, me and Anja have been focusing on our ways of working together as co-founders with huge progress. We are very proud of ourselves :D
In 2021 we are planning to more than double to the team again to around 20 people.
Grinded through 100s of iterations and launching in first half of 2021
We have been obsessed about getting our first product right. It’s a fermented product made of fava beans and peas, made to be used as a feta cheese. We have been through 100s of iterations testing the product with a wide range of chefs, cheese lovers and others to improve. The feedback has been invaluable. We have also scaled production to pilot scale (100 litre batches) and we are now ready for commercial scale with the aim to launch in the first half of 2021!
This launch is obviously a big deal for us. We are having endless debates on where to set the bar and what is good enough. Launching a completely new product is complex as the reference for consumers is diverse and fluid. And the answer to these questions can’t be found in a book I’m afraid. In 2021 we will jump and find out how it goes!
Expanding beyond R&D to commercialise
With a commercial launch creeping up we have started to expand our focus beyond R&D. We have recently hired our first commercially focused team member and also a someone to look after production, supply chain, logistics etc. Stay tuned for more on that shortly!
We are also intensely working on a new identity for the company that better reflect our values, our vision and our products to come. Curious?
In August we moved into our new facilities in Solna, on the border of Stockholm inner city, where we have already shared some all nighters, lots of laughter and enjoyed a couple of scientific breakthroughs.
A cheese to crave for…
It might sound arrogant, but 2020 was yet another year when no compelling plant based cheese was launched. We have tried maybe another 50 new products that launched around the world. The biggest challenge is still the taste (flavour, texture, mouthfeel, smell etc.) limiting these products to dedicated vegans.
Our conviction remains in that significantly better products can be made. In 2021 we will finally be able to share more widely with you what we have been working on and hope to get your craving for more!
Happy new year and next time I won’t write to you from my holidays, promise :D