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Estonian food innovator Thormi prepares for a breakthrough beyond borders

ThormiTech are having negotiations with India, Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia. Vegestar CEO Peeter Tava (on the left) also built relations with business partners from the United Arab Emirates at the Gulfood fair. Photo: Vegestar 

Several small meat processing plants in Estonia have shut down this year, but OÜ Vegestar, a food innovation and plant-based meat alternatives producer company, is experiencing increased production levels. Moreover, the new ThormiTech export concept aims to secure its first international contracts by the end of this year.

At the end of February, ThormiTech debuted at Gulfood, the world’s largest food fair in Dubai. Peeter Tava, the leader and CEO of OÜ Vegestar, believes that ThormiTech will have its first international contracts this year and the first ThormiTech-licensed factory could open its doors beyond borders by 2025.

The licensing solution provides turnkey factories with technology, production equipment, and recipes to operate efficiently and effectively.

“Establishing a food industry facility is generally a long process, but our license allows production to begin just six months after contract signing. We can offer this solution up to three times more cost-effectively and faster than other alternatives,” commented Peeter Tava. This efficient licensing solution results from the collaboration between Estonian product developers and the Thormi team’s technological expertise.

“Today’s entrepreneurship must focus on reducing our ecological footprint on this planet. Therefore, expanding by establishing local factories worldwide seems crucial. Transporting food from distant parts of the world is unsustainable, as people increasingly prefer locally produced food,” explained Tava.

Establishing a food industry facility is generally a long process, but our license allows production to begin just six months after contract signing.
Peeter Tava, the leader and CEO of OÜ Vegestar

Negotiations are taking place with India, Australia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. “Entrepreneurs are increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change and the irrational use of natural resources. They are seeking ways to produce healthy, sustainable, and local food,” added Tava.

Thormi plans quadruple sales growth 

Recent global trends indicate that the previously sluggish sales curve for meat alternatives has gained new momentum. England has always been a trendsetter for Europe in terms of food trends. Recently, the local retail giant Tesco released fresh sales statistics, revealing that over the past three months, the category of plant-based meat alternatives has experienced substantial growth, with sales increasing by 10-20% depending on the product group.

In Estonia, market changes are also evident. While small meat producers are closing their doors, and last year’s meat sales to end consumers experienced a slight decline, Thormi’s retail sales are growing steadily each month. “In December, January, and February, we achieved record sales months in retail chains, and our goal is to quadruple sales in 2024 compared to the previous year,” said Tava.

Tava commented that they plan to lower product prices and expand their range with new extruded products in the second half of the year as part of their growth plans.

He added that the recently acquired extrusion line plays a significant role in boosting sales. “This opens up a new business direction; in addition to meeting our needs, we will supply other local players with textured protein. Today, even meat producers use our raw materials, adding plant-based protein to their meat products, which is a growing trend.”

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