Plant-based cheese – our test community give their verdict
The ProVeg test community is a service that ProVeg offers to companies, allowing them to test their products among their target group, and to ask other pressing business questions. The test community comprises more than 20,000 individuals in the German market, with the latest survey being completed by 3,287 mainly vegan and vegetarian respondents in the space of a week. Holly Doran, from ProVeg’s Corporate Engagement Department, and Dirk Liebenberg, Project Manager for Product Tests, talk about the organisation’s test community and how they are helping to deliver quality and appealing vegan products to the market.
We recently asked the lovely folk in our test community a few questions, with the aim of uncovering key areas for plant-based innovators to prioritise when developing delicious new products. It came as no surprise to us when we read the significant number of comments pleading with us to encourage companies to invest in making all manner of plant-based cheese – from camembert to mozzarella – tastier, more available, and more affordable. Not only do so many of us find cheese the hardest animal product to give up, we also find it the hardest one to replace. Lose, lose. But does it have to be this way?
To the advantage of all those budding, plant-based cheese startups on the brink of disrupting the traditional cheese industry (we know you’re out there), a whopping 90% of consumers agreed that taste was either very important (70%) or important (20%) when shopping for food, while a mere 11% claimed that price was very important to them. Do you hear that entrepreneurs? We’ll make you rich if your cheese makes us melt.
Besides taste, nutritional value and the sustainability of a product both proved to be front-of-mind for our health- and eco-conscious respondents when making purchase decisions. This is further reflected by the fact that around half of respondents agreed that ‘organic’, ‘no added sugar’, ‘locally sourced’, and ‘all natural ingredients’ claims make them more likely to purchase a food item. Interestingly, the actual brand was the least significant factor for our respondents, with 70% rating it of little or no importance, suggesting that new kids on the block won’t have to battle it out too much with incumbents to secure a portion of the pie.
To sum up, there are dairy-free profits waiting to be claimed by companies selling delectable, sustainable, and nutritionally sound plant-based cheese products. And once they’re done with that, perhaps it’s time to conquer the other frequently mentioned categories for plant-based innovation: baked goods, fish and seafood, and eggs!