Bel Brands, Perfect Day launch animal-free cream cheese to expand exposure, appeal of dairy alternatives to mainstream shoppers

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Bel Brands USA
Source: Bel Brands USA

Related tags Bel Brands USA Dairy Cheese plant-based cheese animal-free cheese

While the alternative cheese market remains relatively small and the focus of a niche consumer-base of vegan and lactose-intolerant consumers, a partnership between cheesemaker Bel Brands USA and animal-free dairy protein innovator Perfect Day seeks to expand its exposure and appeal to more mainstream shoppers.

The partnership brings together Bel Brands’ more than 100 years of cheese-making experience and Perfect Day’s animal-free casein and whey made with microbial fermentation rather than cows to launch, this week, Nurishh Incredible Dairy Animal Free Cream Cheese Spread Alternative.

“We are leveraging our unique history and expertise in cheese and partnering with Perfect Day to create animal-free cream cheese spread alternative that is made with real dairy protein so that it tastes just as good as traditional cream cheese that you are used to eating, but it is better because it contains real dairy proteins but it is also lactose free and it does not involve any cow,” ​said Bel Brands USA’s plant-based acceleration director Florian Decaux.

He explained the addition allows more consumers – regardless of their dietary and lifestyle preferences – to enjoy traditional tasting cheese, which has not always been the case.

“There are many dairy-free and flexitarian consumers who have tried cheese alternatives”​ in the past but are unwilling to compromise on texture and taste, “and that is really where we can make a difference at Bel Brands … because it is complex to develop a good cheese”​ using traditional dairy and even more so using alternative ingredients, Decaux explained.

“But we believe we have done it,”​ and with Nurishh’s animal-free cream cheese we have created a like-for-like product in terms of taste, texture and overall experience, he added.

By partnering with a long-standing, well-respected cheesemaker with a portfolio of iconic brands that are widely recognized by consumers, Perfect Day is able to introduce the concept of animal-free dairy to more mainstream consumers. While the company has partnered with several other high-profile brands across other dairy categories, each launch with a trusted partner raises awareness about its technology as a more sustainable alternative to dairy made from cows.

The line of Nurishh Incredible Dairy cream cheese alternative spreads will be available in three flavors – original, strawberry and chive & onion for a suggested price of $4.99 at Kroger stores in January.

Laughing Cow Plant-based leverages almond milk for creamy experience

Bel Brands is further expanding its portfolio of cheese alternatives with the additional long-awaited launch of Laughing Cow Plant-based, which Decaux said mirrors the creamy spreadability that people know and love about Laughing Cow but is certified vegan.

Decaux explained that after trying several different recipes to mimic the taste and texture of dairy cheese, Baby Bel landed on almond milk as the best base for Laughing Cow Plant-based because it recreates the same taste and eating experience that consumers expect of the brand.

The launch comes almost a full year after Baby Bel Plant-based launched in January, which uses a coconut base and bright green wax to recreate the taste and portable, poppable eating experience of traditional bite-sized dairy-based Baby Bel products.

The Laughing Cow Plant-Based 3 (1) small

Decaux said the launch has had “overwhelmingly positive feedback from our consumers and our retail partners.”

The launch of Plant-Based Babybel​ prompted a flurry of requests for a plant-based alternative to the beloved Laughing Cow line, but Decaux said Bel Brands wanted to get the recipe perfect – which took a bit of extra time.

The new product will be available soon in select retailers in Garlic & Herb and Original for $5.49.

Bel Brands seeks ‘movers and shakers’ with which to partner

Beyond these launches, Decaux said that Bel Brands continues to look for partners who are “movers and shakers and innovators”​ who share its desire to create more sustainable food that is good for people and the planet.

As such, he said, the company is working with Standing Ovation, a French company that uses micro-organisms and science to create animal-free cheese alternatives that are sustainable, and Superbrewed Food, which uses a cultured fermentation alternative protein platform to create protein-rich ingredients with exceptional texture and taste compared other plant or microbial proteins.

With their help, Decaux said, Bel hopes to further expand its portfolio to appeal to all people regardless of their lifestyle and dietary choices.

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