Market & Trends

Survey by New Culture Reveals Growing Interest in Animal-Free Mozzarella Among Omnivores

A recent survey conducted by AMC Global and alt-dairy startup New Culture has uncovered a significant interest in animal-free mozzarella cheese among a diverse group of consumers, including omnivores, flexitarians, and vegans. The study highlights a growing openness to animal-free dairy products, even among those who consume animal-based products.

“It’s been so rewarding to gather these deep consumer insights on […] New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella”

New Culture creates dairy-free cheese that has the same stretch and melt qualities as traditional cheese but without using any animal byproducts. This is achieved by replacing casein, the key dairy protein in cheese, with a non-animal alternative produced through precision fermentation. The company has recently scaled up its precision fermentation platform, achieving an 80% reduction in product cost, after debuting its animal-free mozzarella in Los Angeles last June.

Shira Horn, Executive Vice President at AMC Global, added, “Our market research suggests New Culture is well-positioned across several categories that are important to consumers, like sustainable production and taste. It’s been so rewarding to gather these deep consumer insights on a first-of-its-kind product like New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella.”

Slice of pizza with melting New Culture cheese
© New Culture

Key survey findings

High Purchase Intent: 4 in 5 consumers were willing to buy animal-free, dairy mozzarella if it were available at their preferred pizza outlets. The figure rises to 97% among early adopters, indicating a strong market potential for such products.

Omnivore and Flexitarian Appeal: Surprisingly, 80% of those interested in this innovative mozzarella identify as omnivores, with flexitarians making up another 15%. This data suggests a broad appeal beyond the traditional vegan or vegetarian markets. Notably, popular meat toppings like pepperoni and sausage are among the favorites of these early adopters.

Price Premium for Quality: Early adopters indicated a willingness to pay up to $4 more for a pizza featuring New Culture cheese, reflecting the perceived quality advantage over existing plant-based options and emphasizing the demand for animal-free products that can closely emulate traditional dairy in taste and texture.

Taste as a Decisive Factor: The study reaffirmed the importance of taste in consumer decisions. Only 41% of participants would consider alternative food products if they did not match the taste of conventional options.

new culture's vegan mozzarella banner
© New Culture

The Good Food Institute (GFI) recently reported parallel findings, indicating that taste is the primary barrier for consumers when considering plant-based dairy and meat products. Additionally, GFI notes that taste is the main reason consumers who have tried plant-based options do not continue purchasing them. Similar studies in Australia have also shown that taste is a top priority for omnivore consumers.

New Culture is preparing to introduce its animal-free mozzarella in 2024, and these insights reflect a notable shift in consumer attitudes towards the adoption of animal-free dairy. Co-founder and CEO of New Culture, Matt Gibson, commented, “We’re always eager to learn why people love cheese and pizza and what motivates their purchase decisions. AMC Global’s research gives us a chance to better understand these important drivers – especially given such overwhelming interest in our mozzarella – as we prepare for our product launch later this year.”

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