Bel Brands USA and Kraft Heinz are expanding their presence in plant-based cheeses with new offerings from The Laughing Cow and Philadelphia.
Bel Brands was early into the dairy alternatives category with Babybel plant-based and Boursin dairy-free products.
Now the company is adding a plant-based, vegan-certified version of Laughing Cow.
“The main hurdle for consumers trying alternative dairy cheeses is taste,” Florian Decaux, plant-based acceleration director at Bel Brands USA, tells Marketing Daily.
“Existing consumer feedback shows many in-market offerings do not meet their expectations when it comes to the attributes they know and love from traditional dairy-based cheeses.”
Additionally, Bel Brands is launching Nurishh Incredible Dairy—a cream cheese spread alternative that contains real dairy protein not derived from cows—in a partnership with fermentation provider Perfect Day.
Kraft Heinz also addressed consumer taste concerns as barriers to gaining trial and repeat purchases.
The company cited research showing that less than half of people who try plant-based cream cheese spreads are repeat customers, indicating that “current options aren’t meeting the evolving preferences of cream cheese lovers.”
Following two years of development, Philadelphia plant-based spread’s main ingredients are coconut oil, modified potato starch and fava bean protein. It contains no added flavors or dyes and is free of dairy, lactose and gluten.
Thus it “provides a solution that mirrors the taste and texture of our iconic Philadelphia brand—but it also reinforces Kraft Heinz’s bet to bring plant-based offerings to the masses,” Robert Scott, Kraft Heinz president of research and development, said in a news release.
The unflavored spread is available at select retailers in the Southeast, with flavored iterations planned for a national rollout in summer 2023.
According to Kraft Heinz, Philadelphia is the leading cream cheese brand—with 69% share of the category.
As previously reported, Kraft Heinz said in October that its first product launch in partnership with NotCo is plant-based cheese slices.