Kraft Heinz announces it is launching a plant-based version of its iconic Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Now available at select retailers in the US Southeast, including Atlanta, Houston and Miami, the company is planning more flavors ahead of a national rollout in Summer 2023.
“We realized the current options weren’t meeting consumer expectations and there was no trusted leader”
The new plant-based cheese is made from a base of coconut oil and faba bean protein, and comes in the brand’s original beloved cream cheese flavor. According to the company, the product is free from dairy, lactose and gluten, with no added flavors or dyes. Robert Scott, President of R&D at Kraft Heinz, says the company spent two years developing the new recipe, and they focused primarily on ensuring the product could spread easily on a warm bagel or waffle, and provide a true dairy-like taste.
According to Kraft, whose Philadelphia brand leads the cream cheese category with 69% market share, most current alternatives are not meeting consumers’ preferences, pointing to data that shows only about 41% of households who buy plant-based cream cheese make a second purchase within the year. With its new offering, Kraft says it hopes to appeal to the 52% of consumers trying to add more plant-based foods to their diet.
Cream cheese is not Kraft’s only investment in plant-based dairy – the food giant is currently testing dairy-free cheese slices made in partnership with food tech startup NotCo. Sold under its famous Kraft brand, the slices are being trialed in Giant supermarkets in Cleveland, OH, with a larger rollout expected next year.
“Cream cheese standard”
Kraft first hinted it would release a non-dairy version of its cream cheese in 2020, following a survey asking consumers if they were interested in more plant-based offerings. The US product follows Kraft’s debut of Philadelphia Plant Based in the UK in early 2022, which is made from almonds and oats.
“The influx of flexitarian consumers has driven growth within the plant-based market, which is now more than 20x the size of the vegan population, said Scott.
He continued, “As the brand that has set the cream cheese standard for 150 years, we realized the current options weren’t meeting consumer expectations and there was no trusted leader. Philadelphia Plant-Based spread not only 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.”