24.05.2022 - Food processing & retail

Latvian startup to challenge the dairy industry

With an estimated 75% of the world’s adults being lactose intolerant, Got Foods are offering locally sourced and produced alternatives to dairy products. With plans to expand globally the Latvian and Swiss founder duo are providing the opportunity to leave the outdated industry of milking cows behind.

Got Foods founders Ivars Orlovs and Michel Wettstein have turned a mutual passion into a food-tech startup developing dairy-free products for customers seeking healthier, more ethical, and sustainable alternatives. Originally from Switzerland and coming from the banking sector, Michel closely followed the success of Skype and the emerging startup ecosystem in Estonia. Interested to learn more, he decided to get his MBA in the region. He then met his future co-founder Ivars who has more than 10 years of experience in the food industry. 

At the time Ivars had recognized the huge lack of change within it: “I noticed the industry has created so much open space for innovation, new companies are required to take full advantage while building new technologies paralleled with an understanding of new raw materials.”

Products are already on the market
One of these raw materials is yellow split peas containing all 9 amino acids and lysine while being low in fat and sugar, making it the perfect plant-based source for Got Foods. However, the most crucial is the protein legumes making them a competitive source compared to dairy proteins. On top of that, the Baltic climate makes the perfect environment for growing raw materials such as yellow split peas locally. Recently Got Foods have also launched its first manufacturing facility which is of high importance to the local market. 

“When I speak to Latvian customers, I am impressed by the interest for locally developed and produced products that reduce the imports from far away. Today I am proud to run our pilot production facility in Riga,” says Ivars.

The first product to see the daylight was plant-based M!lk. Inspired by naturally fermented curd cheeses, their next product “BEZpiens” was created mainly for the local market. A cruelty-free option for dessert is the perfectly textured chocolate ice cream. Got Foods products have instantly become loved by many, available at more than 15 locations

Plans to expand in Europe
The company’s plans, as for any Baltics startup, don’t stop there. The industry of non-dairy products has been on the rise for the past 10 years, with forecasts predicting that the market will reach 37BN$ in 2025 with yearly growth numbers above 10%. This opportunity and the company’s potential have been recognized by Beamline, an acceleration program developed by Cleantech Estonia: ”We appreciate how they are supporting us up as a Baltic food-tech startup and they believe so strongly in what we do and are aligned with Got Foods mission,” says Michel. They have also been already backed by Hongkong and Australia-based food-tech Venture Capital fund Brinc & Artesian Venture Partners, guiding them to their future strategy.

At the moment, the team is focusing on finalizing the product-market fit, scaling up production, and testing new products.

”Finland or Poland might become our first markets to scale the business. In general, Scandinavia is a strong market, but also the CEE region and Western Europe offers lucrative opportunities for Got Foods whereas we have already initial interest from distributors in various markets. On top, we have initial interest for exports to Asia, the Arabic world, and beyond,” adds Michel.

Source: labsoflatvia.com


 

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