Trader Joe’s launched vegan cheddar slices and mozzarella shreds this week.
The new Cheddar Style Slices and Mozzarella Style Shreds are made from cashews. The packaging suggests melting the cheeses on sandwiches and pizza.
Trader Joe’s stocks other vegan cheese options. The affordable supermarket sells coconut oil-based vegan mozzarella shreds, cream cheese, and a cashew-based queso dip under its private label brand. Ready-to-eat dairy-free mac and cheese, featuring a butternut squash-based sauce, launched in the deli section earlier this year.
It also carries cashew-based vegan lox cream cheese made by Miyoko’s Creamery. The California-based brand recently launched a new range of cultured farmhouse cheddar and pepper jack cheese slices and shreds.
The Dairy-Free Cheese Market
Plant-based milk is the leading driver of sales in the dairy-free market, accounting for 14 percent of all dollar sales of retail milk according to the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that promotes alternatives to animal-based food.
It’s this strong retail presence that has allowed for other dairy-free products to diversify and thrive in recent years. The plant-based cheese market grew 51 percent over the past two years and is now with $189 million.
Trader Joe’s is not the first retailer to launch vegan cheese under its private label brand. Whole Foods added dairy-free cheddar and mozzarella in slices and shreds to its shelves in March 2019. This is more common in the UK, where some of the most prominent supermarket chains—including Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s—sell vegan cheese under a private label.
Food technology is improving the taste and texture of vegan cheese. Emeryville, California-based startup Perfect Day creates plant-based whey and casein, two proteins found in dairy, by fermenting microflora. The company aims to offer its work with established food brands and startups to launch vegan products using its technology.
So far, it has launched vegan ice cream in partnership with New York City-based ice cream chain, Smitten Ice Cream. Perfect Day plans to create other realistic dairy-free products, including cheese that melts and stretches like the real thing.
San Francisco-based startup New Culture, which raised $3.5 million last September, is also working on developing vegan cheese using dairy-free casein protein.