Maybe you are a dairy company looking to extend your product range with a plant-based cheese. Or perhaps you are a small startup wanting to enter the plant-based market with a vegan cheese. The good news is that the plant-based food industry is full of potential, and there are no signs that it is going to slow down anytime soon – rather quite the opposite.
According to Senior Technical Sales Manager at KMC, Jeppe Witte Nielsen, the considerations can be divided into five main categories:
If the sky is your starting point..
...it might be a good idea to reconsider your ambitions. Although getting started in plant-based cheese production is relatively easy – and certainly simpler than dairy-based cheese production – it is important to carefully consider your expectations of the final result. You cannot expect to get a cheese that looks and tastes like a twin replica of a cheese from dairy milk – at least not if you’re hoping to bring
a cheese to market in the foreseeable future. So: What are your ambitions? What is your timeframe? And what compromises should you be prepared to make?
Using the right crops for the job
The potato is a great crop since the starch forms a clear, solid gel that does not affect taste or color. It can easily be combined with the cheese’s other plant-based ingredients, such as pea or soy protein. However, it is important to consider how the combination of ingredients affects the end result, since ingredients change according to what they are combined with and how they are processed. Therefore: What ingredients should your cheese consist of? Are the ingredients easy to source in the part of the world you are operating? And how does the combination of ingredients affect the end result?
Keeping a close eye on the competition
The market for plant-based cheese is growing rapidly, so as a food manufacturer, there is plenty of room to roam. That said, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on the competition to find the niche in the market with the best conditions for increasing your market share and running a profitable business at the same time.
Sitting down at the consumer’s table
Although the global market for plant-based cheese is growing, there are major differences in what different markets have achieved and what individual consumers value. In some countries, where plant-based diets are a commonplace reality, it is about securing a product that satisfies and feeds the family.
Choosing the right partner
Although plant-based cheese production has relatively few entry barriers, combining all the relevant considerations into a single recipe that produces the perfect cheese is a large undertaking. That is why it is a good idea to choose a partner with a sharp eye for detail who can help you connect all the
dots along the way from idea to implementation.