Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 33

" It's not that it tastes just like dairy cheese, but they're delicious, "
Lambeth said. " Consumers want the functionality of the product to be
similar, so it needs to have some of those functional characteristics of
the conventional counterpart. "
Simple and natural ingredients also go a long way to meet a wider
consumer base. Treeline's herb garlic plant-based cheese, for example,
includes cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and a
culture called probiotic acidophilus.
" I think we'll have more longevity than the ones that are a bit of a
science experiment, with a lot of additives and gums and fillers that
people don't recognize, " Lambeth said. " One of the advantages of
conventional dairy is it's very clean ingredients and it's made naturally.
So if consumers are going to switch from a naturally-made product to
another product, they want it to be the same. "
Vevan looks at the plant-based cheese category from the lens of
its dairy cheese-making parent company, Schuman Cheese. That
unique insight helps Vevan understand what both vegan and flexitarian
customers are looking for in cheese products, and it's not that much
different.
" Looking ahead, our innovations will meet consumers where they
already are, whether it's entertaining or snacking on-the-go or another
occasion where delicious cheese can make the experience even better, "
said Schuman. " The growth trends we're seeing now for plant-based
cheese are incredibly similar to earlier growth in the meat and milk
categories. Once a product reaches a point where it is truly delicious in
its own right, it gives the category permission to explode in category
growth. "
Vevan recently released a Snax lineup, which contains Vevan's dairy,
gluten, lactose and GMO-free cheese cubes with nuts and fruit in
portable, on-the-go packaging.
While many plant-based cheese companies draw comparisons
between their plant-based cheese products with dairy cheese varieties,
Seattle-based Field Roast lets its plant-based cheese, Chao, stand on
its own.
" Unlike other plant-based cheese products that mimic popular
mainstream dairy cheese flavors like cheddar, mozzarella and
American, Chao products are coconut-based and made with a special
fermented tofu ingredient that provides an unmatched buttery, umami
bite, " said a spokesperson for Chao.Creamery. " Chao Creamery Cheese
products are vegan, non-dairy, non-GMO and are made with no
artificial flavors or ingredients. "
Field Roast's lineup includes slices in Creamy Original Chao, Tomato
Cayenne Chao, Smoked Original Chao, Spicy Original Chao and
Garden Herb Chao varieties and shreds in Creamy Original Chao and
Mexican-Style Blend Chao.

VEGAN PIZZA CHEESE
COMPANY EYES RETAIL
A few years ago, Gunars Elmuts, the
founder and chief executive officer of New
York-based NUMU, was looking for a vegan
cheese that suited his taste for pizza. When
he couldn't find the right substitute for dairy
cheese, he set out to create one for himself.
NUMU started out small, testing their
vegan cheese with local restaurants who
gave Elmuts feedback until the plant-based
cheese was perfect to melt on pizzas.
" After years of experimenting just for myself
and continuing to improve it by bringing it
to restaurants and getting feedback from
chefs and friends who were not plant-based,
I continued to improve it until it got to the
point where I felt comfortable to go public
with it, " Elmuts said.
Made with coconut oil, NUMU's vegan
mozzarella is dairy, lactose, casein, nut,
GMO and cholesterol free and designed
with a taste and texture that goes well
with pizzas.
After a successful launch in foodservice,
Elmuts said the company is now looking
to expand its product to retail. Currently,
NUMU's vegan mozzarella is only available
in shreds, and the company is working on
developing multiple SKUs to launch at retail.

Marketing strategies
As flexitarians become increasingly interested in plant-based cheeses,
it will be important to market the plant-based cheeses in the same spot
their dairy counterparts would be sold in the store.
   " All too frequently, plant-based food items are isolated to their own
'health food' section of stores. As plant-based cheese continues to grow
exponentially in popularity, retailers will benefit greatly by putting the
plant-based cheese where consumers expect to find it - in the dairy
supermarketperimeter.com

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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021

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