This month, Follow Your Heart released its Dairy-Free Feta Crumbles Cheese Alternative, the first dairy-free feta cheese option to arrive on grocery store shelves in the United States.
The cheese alternative is made with 10 ingredients that are allergen-free, non-GMO and vegan. It is also free of dairy, soy, casein, gluten, lactose and preservatives. This feta replacement is coconut oil based and is made with potato protein. However, due to the product’s ingredient composition, each serving has 0 grams of protein, according to the package nutrition label. Each 6-ounces package has a four-month shelf life.
Beginning earlier this month, this feta alternative became available at Albertsons and Vons stores in Southern California as well as Sprouts stores nationally.
Follow Your Heart’s newest product was released in tandem with the company’s 50th anniversary as well as the explosive growth that COVID-19 has generated in the plant-based space. Overall, plant-based food sales have outpaced the overall food category by 35% for the 16 weeks ending April 19, according to SPINS statistics analyzed by the Plant Based Foods Association. Plant-based cheese has benefitted particularly from this trend with sales of the product logging 95% growth in mid-March as compared to the same time last year.
While cheese has generally taken a back seat to meat in the world of plant-based innovation, more companies are looking to dairy to differentiate themselves as the space becomes more competitive. Big players in plant-based cheese include Daiya Foods, Miyoko’s Creamery, and Good Planet.
However, Follow Your Heart remains a veteran in the industry, and the company can use its brand recognition and longevity on grocery store shelves to its advantage. This Southern California company has evolved with the vegan market for 50 years and has proved its adaptability as well as its innovative mindset. The company has developed a sizable portfolio of dairy alternatives and its roster of cheeses, including deli slices, meltable shredded products and now crumbles.
While this longtime company may have a pulse on retail, other dairy-alternative cheese companies are looking to foodservice for growth. Good Planet cheese is a newcomer onto the scene and has made a name for itself by partnering with Impossible Burger to be the cheese accompaniment for the plant-based burgers sold at White Castle. Still, with foodservice still virtually shuttered throughout the U.S., retail remains a safe space for companies to expand their product lines as shoppers look for new items to keep their diets interesting.