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Is algae the secret to genuinely tasty plant-based cheese?

is-algae-the-secret-to-genuinely-tasty-plant-based-cheese?

Man holding up algae near waterway

Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP (Getty Images)

As more and more consumers reach for plant-based products, the race to create the next great vegan cheese is on. Now, one Singapore-based company is channeling one of nature’s funkiest treasures—algae—to create vegan cheese products that allegedly taste just like the real thing.

The Daily Mail reports that the products—a semi-hard dairy-free cheese and a dairy-free cheese spread, respectively—are in the process of being perfected by Sophie’s BioNutrients, a sustainable food production technology company. The cheese is a partnership with Ingredion Idea Labs, a startup based in Singapore.

The products’ creators say the products have a cheddar-like “tangy taste profile” that bursts with umami. In addition to mimicking the taste of dairy-based cheese, the algae product is rich in protein, amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants, with double the daily suggested amount of vitamin B12 in a single one-ounce serving. That’s because the cheese is made with microalgae, which Eugene Wang, co-founder and CEO of Sophie’s BioNutrients, calls “one of the most nutrient-rich and ductile resources on the planet.”

Wang continues: ‘Today we have shown another facet of the unlimited possibilities this superfood can offer—a dairy and lactose-free alternative to cheese that, thanks to microalgae, offers a higher protein content than most available dairy-free alternatives.”

Sounds good, right? The cheese isn’t yet available in the UK; however, Sophie’s BioNutrients is working hard to get the product on the market. The firm is also reportedly tinkering with microalgae milk, as well as a yogurt and several hypothetical plant-based meat substitutes.

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The way I see it, all cheese news is good news. The more genuinely tasty plant-based products we have on the market, the more likely it is that dairy consumers will consider reducing their animal product intake.

If this product tastes as good as its creators claim it does, it may well convince a few dairy stalwarts.

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