The global plant-based cheese market is estimated to reach US$5.3b by 2033, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1% over the next decade, according to market research firm Fact.MR

Fact.MR attributed the industry’s growth to the surge in veganism and growing preference for plant-based foods worldwide. In addition, the increasing prevalence of lactose intolerance was identified as a catalyst for the growth of the global plant-based cheese market.

Growing environmentalism was also found to be a significant factor in the sector’s growth – the global dairy industry emits 4% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is the equivalent of about 1,700 million tonnes of CO2.

Artisanal vegan cheeses by Fine Cultures.
Artisanal vegan cheeses by Fine Cultures.

However, Fact.MR said the market still faced several obstacles, among them gaps in flavour, nutrition, and genuineness in some products. In addition, vegan cheeses made with coconut oil are high in saturated fat, which can lead to heart disease.

Common sources for plant-based cheeses include soy, coconuts, almonds, and cashews.

Plant-based cheeses are getting significant attention in Australia and New Zealand – Aussie brand Compassion Creamery recently received a $270,000 grant to develop its world-first oat-based creme cheese.

Plant-based creme cheese from Compassion Creamery.
Oat creme cheese from Compassion Creamery.

Vegan artisanal cheese brand Imber’s Pantry, meanwhile, recently began retailing its mozzarella cheese products at 800 Woolworths across the country.

In New Zealand, a plant-based cheese said to rival dairy cheeses in taste and nutrition won last year’s local Falling Walls Lab competition, highlighting the growing importance of the market.

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