So Delicious, the legacy dairy-free brand owned by multinational food giant Danone, has expanded its plant-based cheese range as mainstream demand for vegan alternatives continues to skyrocket. While the brand launched its first vegan cheese “shreds” a few years ago, it is now adding to its line-up a range of cream cheese spreads and sliced cheeses this year.
Danone-owned So Delicious has recently launched its new line of plant-based cheese alternatives, in yet another sign of the growing mainstream demand for healthier, sustainable dairy-free options. There are three formats in the new range, including slices, spreads and shreds – all coming in various flavours and are made from coconut oil, potato protein and starches and natural flavourings, making them 100% vegan-friendly.
In addition to being 100% plant-based, So Delicious says the entire product range is gluten-free, soy-free and is certified to contain no GMO ingredients by the Non-GMO Project.
Though So Delicious launched its first vegan cheese shreds back in 2017, the slices and spreads are new to the range, and will be launching in mid-January and March 2021 respectively. The American and Cheddar slices are billed as gooey and meltable like its shredded versions, while the spreads are designed to mimic cream cheese and will come in two flavours, Creamy Original and Chive & Onion.
They will all be available across the U.S. at major retailers, including Walmart, Target, HEB, Hy-Vee, Hannaford, Market Basket, Fresh Thyme, and Stop & Shop.
Irina Gerry, formerly the senior brand manager for plant-based brands at Danone, was a part of launching the new plant-based range prior to her joining Change Foods, a U.S.-Australian food tech using microbial precision fermentation technology to develop animal-free dairy alternatives.
So Delicious’ decision to extend its plant-based cheese offerings comes as the category is experiencing major growth, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus, which has accelerated the existing shift that consumers were already making away from traditional dairy. Recent statistics have put the current vegan cheese market at US$2.7 billion, but say that it’ll double to US$4.5 billion by as soon as 2025.
With consumers continuing to hop on plant-based cheeses, it isn’t just Danone now eyeing the business opportunity to be made and joining food techs like Miyoko’s Creamery, Daiya, Follow Your Heart and Kite Hill who had a first-movers advantage in the market. French cheese giant Bel Group, for instance, recently announced its plans to launch a plant-based version for its most iconic products, including its Babybel, Boursin and The Laughing Cow.
Also tapping vegan cheese is The Very Good Food Company, the Canadian plant-based group that owns The Very Good Butchers, who revealed its intent to acquire artisan cashew cheese startup The Cultured Nut, marking its first foray into the category to “complement” its existing product line.
Beyond the plant-based cheese segment, Danone has also made clear its ambition to double its overall plant-based sales to US$5.4 billion by 2025, with many other food industry majors like Nestlé and Unilever following suit to set similar dedicated sales targets for the sector.
All images courtesy of Danone / So Delicious.