at present, the pure vegetarian cheese products in China are still relatively rare. When searching for “plain cheese” in the search engine, more vegan cheese recipes appear. It can be seen that there is a demand for vegan cheese in China, and it will grow with the growth of demand for plant-based products and health food.
In recent years, there has been a huge explosion and growth of plant-based food. In addition to the often mentioned plant meat, plant milk, vegetable eggs, more innovative plant-based products are also being paid attention to, such as plant seafood, plant sauces, etc.
Food and beverage channel is an important way for plant-based food to market. Plant based food ingredients may be an important category of plant-based food in the future. Research shows that plant cheese and coffee cream will grow rapidly. As new categories, plant snacks, seasoning daub sauce, sauce, soup and dip sauce have attracted great market attention.
Market growth opportunities of pure cheese industry
According to the market survey of grand view research, the global pure (vegetable based) cheese market will reach US $1.01 billion in 2019, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.8% from 2020 to 2027. 
Source: Grand View Research
It is reported that the whole vegetarian cheese industry is developing rapidly. Due to consumer preferences and the global shift to a healthy lifestyle, the vegan cheese industry offers opportunities for new businesses. With the increasing application in various industries, there are more and more opportunities for the growth of vegetarian cheese producers around the world. In addition, market factors, such as the increase in the number of products and investments launched by major market participants (enterprises), marketing and local infrastructure development needs, are expected to affect the entire value chain of pure cheese. At the same time, there are companies directly involved in the retail industry and invest in e-commerce channels to benefit from the growing market penetration. 
The European market is more mature than other regions. On the one hand, consumers have higher recognition and acceptance of plant-based lifestyle. On the other hand, the development of plant-based products and the scale of industry investment are larger.
Source: Tofurky’s official twitter account
Cheese is widely used in food
In the trend of plant-based, cheese has not received so much attention compared with the powerful plant meat and plant milk, because cheese is more ingredients, and has not formed a global eating habit, so the demand is not as amazing as the former two, especially in China.
But cheese is a very important ingredient in Western food culture, so the daily demand in European and American countries is very large, and the products of plain cheese are more and more. At present, Veggie cheese products include cheese as ingredients, such as cheese block, cheese slice and cheese strip, as well as plain cheese strip and plain cheese puff as snacks, plain cheese pasta, plain cheese sauce and so on. In terms of category, although it is not very rich, it has been able to meet the daily needs of many people.
Photo source: Daiya official website
In contrast, the demand for cheese in China is not large. However, with the development of cultural exchange and regional food in the world, cheese is also frequently listed in China’s Gourmet list, such as cheese cake, cheese egg tart, pizza, cheese cake, cheese milk tea, cheese army hotpot, etc., as well as the recently popular cheese stick. In the “cooking world”, cheese is also a popular ingredient, and cheese baked pumpkin is also a popular menu.
It can be seen that cheese, as a kind of food raw material, is more and more widely used in various kinds of food. Its plasticity and re creativity are relatively strong. Its rich flavor and drawing taste are also attractive. It can be regarded as a popular food with a promising prospect. At present, the domestic pure cheese products are still relatively rare, in the search engine search “pure cheese”, there are more pure cheese recipes. It can be seen that there is a demand for vegan cheese in China, and it will increase with the growth of demand for plant-based products and health food.
Picture source: tea go applet
Advantages and challenges of plain cheese
Nutrition and ingredients
Most vegan cheeses contain no cholesterol and less saturated fat than milk based cheeses, which is more friendly to consumers who want to reduce cholesterol and fat intake. However, the calcium content of most vegetarians is very low. At the same time, due to the lack of some amino acids in plant protein, it is often not a good source of protein. Of course, the problem of insufficient nutrients can also be solved by adding additional nutrients. Go veggie’s veggie cheese has similar calcium content to milk based cheese.
Almond, cashew nut, soybean, coconut and rice are the favorite raw materials of plant cheese for consumers. They are usually fermented by bacteria or directly added with lactic acid to separate protein, and added with plant-based oil, emulsifier and thickener to form the texture of cheese. For example, Daiya vegetarian cheese, American style slices, its ingredients include: filtered water, coconut oil, potato starch, cassava starch, salt, tricalcium phosphate, vegan natural seasoning, pea protein, xanthan gum, sucrose, lactic acid (pure vegetable), konjac gum, fruit / vegetable juice, anatase pigment, inactive yeast, and vegetarian enzyme.
From the above ingredients, for consumers, pure cheese ingredients too much. One of the five reasons why consumers buy vegetable cheese is that it is less processed. The further development of plant based cheese requires keeping the ingredients clean, simple and authentic.
Compared with several foreign cheeses, such as Siete, field toast, vialife, Miyoko’s cream, green vie foods, Organic Valley, Tillamook, kerrygold and so on, we can feel that the price of pure cheese is not dominant, and dairy cheese will have more products with different prices and quality.
The launch of vegan cheese is no longer news. There are many videos and articles about vegan cheese on foreign social media, including some mainstream media and popular bloggers. According to some evaluations, the quality of vegetarians is mixed. Especially for non vegetarians, the taste of some vegetarians is hard to accept, and only a few of them are good. It is said that the smell, taste and taste of vegetarians are enough to confuse the true with the false.
71% of the respondents of plant-based cheese thought that plant cheese should imitate the taste and texture of traditional cheese. Many consumers said that the current vegetable cheese has the disadvantages of “poor melting”, “too artificial taste”, “over processing” and “not as delicious as traditional cheese”. 
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Looking at the domestic market, at present, there are not many cheese brands that can be searched on domestic e-commerce platforms, and there are few pure vegetable brands, which can be found only in a few shops that provide pure vegetable products. Although the domestic demand for plain cheese is not as big as that in Europe and the United States, there is still a lot of room to play in terms of the current supply situation.
In terms of technology, it is the most important to master the technology of reducing the flavor and taste of cheese itself, especially the drawing state, to restore the indulgent taste experience and rich texture (melting, creamy, elastic, etc.). At the same time, there is also a lot of room for improvement in the aspects of nutrition and ingredients cleaning and simplicity. Although some foreign brands have done well, they still need further research and development and improvement.
Author: peace; source: Food Research Institute FTA (ID: FTA)_ 21food), reprint has been authorized.
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