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A Netherlands-based cheesemaker called Max&Bien debuted the world’s first vegan cheese wheel coated in paraffin wax to emulate traditional-style Dutch cheeses. This vegan cheese comes in 1.2-kilogram wheels for cheese and delicatessen stores as well as 150-gram mini-wheels. The cheese itself is made from fermented wheat and comes in three flavors: cumin, truffle and mustard.
With the launch of this new product, Max&Bien is looking to normalize vegan cheese through presentation. By packaging this wheat-based cheese in wheels, the company is hoping to encourage consumers to try slices from a cheesemonger much as they would for typical dairy cheese.
International nonprofit, ProVeg applauded the release of this product and noted that its innovation sets it up for success in the booming vegan cheese market. ProVeg director Veerle Vrindts said in a statement that consumers are interested in purchasing recognizable products, and that by choosing to present its vegan cheese in traditional Dutch packaging, Max&Bien has taken an important step to further the adoption of vegan alternatives.
Vrindts also pointed out that sales of vegan cheese in the Netherlands increased 400% in the last two years. That figure becomes even more impressive when putting it in context with the size of the Dutch cheese market. According to Statista, the Netherlands were the largest cheese product market in 2016. Adding vegan cheeses to the mix only broadens the number of products that the country can potentially export. Due in part to such explosive growth in this new cheese category, retailer Albert Heijn decided last month to double its SKUs of vegan cheese available on supermarket shelves.
In addition to its newest cheese wheels, Max&Bien has an existing line of plant-based cheeses that it sells to retail. One of these existing vegan cheeses is a blue-veined cheese created from fermented nuts that won a vegan cheese award in 2020.