This precision fermentation company is bringing animal-free dairy to market. Are consumers ready?
In a deft move ahead of the industry, the US-Australian precision fermentation dairy startup, Change Foods, is investing in a major marketing hire, Irina Gerry, formerly with Danone. While most fermentation dairy companies are focused solely on the technology, Change Foods is equally set on preparing the consumer for the revolution that is imminently landing on their lips: dairy cheese without the cow.
But what happens once animal-free cheese hits the market? Will consumers understand and accept it? What is the proposition of the product and the brand behind it? These are critical questions to enable product success in market.
A Sustainable, Thriving and Kind Food System
This is why Change Foods is adding a plant-based industry veteran to its executive team. Incoming CMO, Irina Gerry, brings a wealth of experience in plant-based foods and beverages. Incredibly, Irina begins her first day on the job by bursting onto the scene: she is the keynote speaker for the December 2nd Alternative Dairy Conference. Her keynote address is The Dawn of the Food Revolution.
Irina was a force behind major brand initiatives on Silk, a leading plant-based brand, including product innovation, packaging design, and multiple marketing campaigns. She championed Silk’s entrance into new segments, such as nutrition-forward beverages and ready-to-drink coffee. Recently, Irina led two major new platform launches for both Silk and So Delicious brands, hitting shelves in January. She brings additional experience from consumer goods giant, P&G, and premier management consultancy, Deloitte. Irina holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
“Irina is a true consumer expert who understands how to get to the core insight and deliver products loved by millions. Her impressive skills are matched only by her deep passion for sustainability,” said Founder and CEO, David Bucca. “Irina shares our purpose to create a sustainable, thriving, and kind food system. We could not have found a better executive team member to shape our brand vision to drive this change.”
“I was drawn to the Change Foods team, based on our shared mission to change the world,” said Irina Gerry. “David and I are both parents and as we looked at the climate crisis threatening our children’s future, we just could not sit idly. This is our fight, and it is an urgent one. Removing industrially farmed animals from the global food supply is a key part of the climate solution and we have the right tech, skills and team to do just that.”
A Lot of Story-telling Needs to Be Done
“When you are introducing new-to-the-world technology and building a new market segment, it makes a lot of sense to introduce a new brand, rather than trying to fit it into an existing one. Simply including animal-free proteins into existing plant-based or dairy-based brands could create a lot of consumer confusion. A lot of story-telling needs to be done to bring consumers in on this journey and help them understand the world-changing power of this new technology. Change is a perfect brand to do that,” said Irina Gerry.
The company just wrapped up its second funding round of $875k, backed by high profile investors from Google, as well as Twitter’s Maya Hari, Michal Klar, Simon Newstead, Tom Crago, Vikas Garg, and others.