Vegan Cheese Market Growth – Fostering Plant-Based Snacking Options

Going back to the first recorded accounts of dairying it is relevant to note that the descriptive information about cheeses and their manufacture was first accounted for during the dawn of humanity's first civilization. The earliest known example is of the proto? writing, dating from the late 4th millennium BC which was discovered in Uruk, the first great city? state of the Sumerian civilization of southern Mesopotamia. This writing encompasses numerous administrative records that tabulate annual production figures for dairy products, primarily cheese among others, which were produced from then state? controlled livestock. Fast-forwarding to the global perspective of cheese during the present time it is relevant to note that most cheese consumption, the second most important dairy product consumed in terms of milk solids followed by fresh dairy products, is estimated by FAO to occur in Europe and North America where the per capita consumption is anticipated to further increase, particularly as a processed food ingredient.

vegan cheese market

Western Europe is reportedly a significantly large producer, consumer, and trader of milk and dairy products. Despite a reported decline of the region’s share of global milk production over the past few years, the production and trade of high-value products like cheese have been reported to grow.  Further, it has also been estimated that the Per capita consumption of, fresh dairy products registered in that region is four times higher. With regards to Europe and Central Asia, buttressed by the rapid expansion of cheese and whole milk powder relative to the last decade the production of dairy products is projected to accelerate. Further dairy products are also expected to contribute to the 22% of daily calories toward diets across the region. Besides, catering to the demand of the domestic market, the expansion of dairy output will increasingly feed international demand. The region of Europe and Central Asia is forecasted to account for 40% of global cheese by 2029. Besides the region of Near East and North Africa is estimated to account for 20% of global trade in cheese along with poultry meat. Despite the share of cheese consumption being dominated by the regions of North America and Europe which expected to register an increased per capita cheese consumption, the areas where cheese isn’t a part of the traditional diet too are expected to experience an increase in cheese consumption particularly due to urbanization and increase in income that has, in turn, resulted in increased expenditure away-from-home eating which are inclusive fast-food chains which incorporate the use of cheese in profusion in their food offerings. Thus, as far as the brief snapshot above and its depiction below it can be delineated that cheese that is derived from animals is an integral part of human alimentation and is projected to increase.

World Cheese Consumption Projections

vegan cheese market

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Source: FAO

The growing cognizance of the benefits of plant-based food consumption and the growing pool of vegans are expected to fuel the vegan cheese market 

The rising trend of vegan and plant-based consumption is expected to drive the shift from consuming traditionally derived cheese which according to the aforesaid estimates has the potential to be one of the factors that may restrain the growth of the vegan cheese market. Further with the recent abundance of plant-based food offerings along with the growing recognition of the advantages of consumption of naturally occurring whole food a greater number of consumers around the world are either seek options of substituting the elements in their diet that are derived from animals with a diverse range of plant-based alternatives. The rationale for opting, a vegan diet is governed by an individual’s strong endorsement of ethical treatment of animals and the planet as well as facilitate the management of a particular health condition. Whereas the motivation for adopting a plant-based diet is inclusive of but not limited to an inclination to manage weight; allergy/ies to a certain type of foods and/ food ingredients; a desire to manage blood pressure, among others. Thus, such consumption proclivities incentivize various players in the food and beverage industry to invest in new product development which is a part of their business imperative to stay market-relevant which also extends to appealing packaging.

As consumers modify their protein preferences to include a healthy dose of plants, the growing popularity of this choice is evident on store shelves and restaurant menus.Besides the plant-based dairy categories that are emerging and are poised to experience a comparatively faster growth because more households are anticipated to be introduced to new plant-based dairy items, while the sales of several conventional animal-based products expect to stagnate. In 2019 according to PLANT-BASED FOODS ASSOCIATION, plant-based cheese has grown 18 % while conventional cheese has remained flat at 1 percent growth. Also, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) through its the 2020 Food & Health Survey reportedly concurred that More than 4 in 10 consumers (43%) would assume that a product described as plant-based would be healthier than one that is not, even if it had the same Nutrition Facts label. Consumption of alternatives to dairy products, plant-based meat, and protein derived from plant sources dairy alternatives increased in the past year, with 28% of consumers reported to integrate more protein from plant sources into their diet, 24% of consumers reported to integrate plant-based dairy into their diet, and 17% of consumers reported to integrate plant-based meat alternatives into their diet than in 2019.

Certain market developments reaffirming the upward trajectory of the vegan cheese market growth

July 2020 – Fundraising

Grounded Foods which is based out of Los Angeles, USA had reportedly announced that an amount of US$1.74 million had been raised to facilitate the expansion of production and distribution of cheeses that have been made with its fermented cauliflower and hemp seed.

May 2020 – Fundraising

GOOD PLANeT Foods which is based out of Bellevue, Washington, USA had reportedly announced that an amount of US$12 million in Series A funding to facilitate further develop its organization and expansion.

April 2020 – Division Launch

Schuman Cheese which is based out of Fairfield, New Jersey, USA had reportedly announced the creation of a division called Vevan Foods which reportedly facilitates the organization’s cheesemaking expertise with plant-based ingredients.

April 2020 – Product Portfolio Launch

Miyoko’s Creamery was reported to unveil its latest range of vegan cheese that is made from allergen-friendly oats, legumes and potatoes across the nation in Whole Foods Market in the form of in Farmhouse Cheddar and Pepper Jack slices and shreds.