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Popular U.S.-based cream cheese brand Philadelphia has launched its first dairy-free offering, Philadelphia Plant Based. The new cheese is coming to Tesco stores across the U.K.
After a late holiday season effort to convince its customers not to make cheesecakes in the wake of a cream cheese shortage, the Philadelphia brand now has a viable alternative to the shortage: a vegan soft cheese, the company’s first.
“With over half a million people taking part in this year’s Veganuary, the appetite for plant-based alternatives has never been more apparent,” Louise Stigant, UK managing director of Philadelphia’s parent company, Mondelēz International, said in a statement.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure new Philadelphia Plant Based really delivers the same great taste and creaminess that people love and expect from Philadelphia and we’re delighted that there’s now a Philadelphia product for everyone – not a bagel or slice of toasted sourdough ever needs to go without again!”
Two years in development
The dairy-free offering, which was two years in the making, is made from a blend of oats and almonds, according to the brand. It also comes in 100 percent recyclable packaging, with recycled plastic on the way—a move the brand says is part of its continuing sustainability journey.
While Philadelphia is a staple on U.S. shelves, the brand said it chose the UK for the launch because of its strong interest in a plant-based diet.
According to Mondelēz, one in five U.K. shoppers are interested in or already following a plant-based diet. It says with sign-ups expected to double for Veganuary—the monthlong campaign that encourages consumers to eat plant-based for the entire month of January—more people than ever are looking to adopt a flexitarian diet. And they want suitable replacements for their favorite meat and dairy products.
“Given the increasing relevance for shoppers with huge growth in plant-based lifestyles, we believe our new plant-based recipe is a step forward in the market to drive awareness of cheese alternatives, which excel on taste and quality,” brand manager Abi Eayrs said.
“After performing exceptionally in testing, we’re confident that the exciting new launch from a much-loved brand will drive wider category growth in the long-term future, bringing success in store.”
Vegan cheese demand
The Philadelphia launch comes on the heels of another big dairy-free cheese launch this year. Babybel, the popular snacking cheese brand debuted its first vegan offering ahead of Veganuary as well.
“We’ve seen overwhelming demand for the development of a vegan-friendly Babybel over the years,” Ollie Richmond, brand manager for Bel Brands told The Grocer. “With the plant-based market continuing to grow substantially, the new launch is perfectly timed to meet this consumer appetite.”
Philadelphia Plant Based is now available exclusively throughout 699 Tesco supermarkets nationwide and online.
Lead image courtesy of Philadelphia.