Brands Usher in a New, Indulgent Era for Plant-Based Cheese
The market for plant-based cheeses is expected to grow 13% by 2027 (Grandview Research, 2020). Stylus highlights the launches ushering in an era of ultra-craveable, indulgent alt-cheese.
- Big Brands Enter: After announcing in 2019 that it would introduce plant-based reboots of its popular cheeses, France’s Bel Group – owner of Boursin, Babybel and Laughing Cow – debuted its vegan Boursin in October 2020. In February 2021, it followed with a blended cheese-chickpea hybrid version of Laughing Cow, which offers a semi-plant-based introduction to the 22% of consumers who fear vegan cheese won’t taste good (Numerator, 2021). For convinced consumers, Bel Group launched Nurishh in March 2021, which sells exclusively plant-based cheeses.
Noting mainstream interest, American retailer Walmart has a private-label line of plant-based cheddar and mozzarella-style cheese shreds. In January 2021, Danone-owned brand So Delicious launched a line with cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella-style slices and shreds, as well as flavoured cream cheeses.
- New Launches: Innovation is booming among start-ups. Belgian brand Pa’Lais targets flexitarians with its rich, non-dairy cheese sauces, which are sold in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
California brand Grounded Foods positions its cauliflower and hemp seed-based cheese substitute as suitable for everyone from keto adherents to those with nut allergies. Its currently available in sauce, semi-soft and cream cheese styles.
Swedish brand Oatly expanded its line-up beyond its popular oat milk to include an oat-based cream cheese, which launched in the UK in January 2021 with flavours such as cucumber-garlic and tomato-basil.
- High-Tech Cheese: Precision fermentation – see Future Food Tech Summit 2021 for details – could overhaul the alt-cheese industry, says California biotech start-up New Culture. The company is currently developing a plant-based cheese by fermenting microbes. It’s expected to be available by 2023.
For more on the plant-based boom, see Veganism Forecast 2021.