Further to the news as we reported last October when Albert Heijn added 70 own-brand products to its vegan range, the retailer now announces a major expansion of the vegan cheese shelf. Three big companies launch eight new products; an expansion of more than 50%. ProVeg states to vegconomist that this represents a breakthrough for vegan cheese in the Netherlands.
“With the expansion of the vegan cheese shelf at Albert Heijn, the total assortment there will grow by more than half in one fell swoop. Other supermarkets will follow the example of the market leader.”
HEKS’NKAAS Vegan is available from this week at over 800 stores, and both Westland Kaas and the Bel Group are introducing vegan products. It is the first time that well-known Dutch cheese brands have introduced vegan options.
Over the past two years, supermarket sales of vegan cheese in the Netherlands have grown by 400%, to a market of just under 5 million euros. Compared to the total (animal) cheese sales or to the market for vegetable milk or meat substitutes, this is a modest size, but the expectations are nevertheless high.
Veerle Vrindts, director of ProVeg Netherlands: “Albert Heijn takes a smart step with the expansion of the vegan cheese shelf. In 2020, ProVeg already predicted that vegan cheese would be the next big thing in the vegan field, after vegetable milk and meat substitutes. Our consumer research showed that more choice in vegetable cheese was on top of the wish list of consumers who buy vegetable products.
“Albert Heijn is thus targeting the rapidly growing interest in vegan products among mainstream consumers in order to maintain a lead over other supermarkets. With the expansion of the vegan cheese shelf at Albert Heijn, the total assortment there will grow by more than half in one fell swoop. Other supermarkets will follow the example of the market leader.”
Michel Wildenborg, director of HEKS’NKAAS: ‘In 2012 we successfully launched HEKS’NKAAS in the Dutch supermarkets. Since then we have steadily expanded our range with new products for a specific audience or a special occasion. More and more people are conscious of their diet and young people in particular do not always want to consume animal products. We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy HEKS’NKAAS. That is why I am proud that we have succeeded in making a vegan version of our classic.”