DMK Group, the largest dairy co-op in Germany, is to launch plant-based products next year, with its first own-brand vegan cheese due in the spring.
It says the main focus during the development process was the melting and browning of the cheese to ensure it resembles conventional cheese, particularly when used on pizzas, casseroles or as a filling for vegan meat alternatives.
“Plant-based alternatives have arrived in the mainstream and stand for enjoyment and variety, in taste, especially among the young target groups,” said CEO Ingo Müller.
“With protein demand increasing worldwide and changes in society taking place at the same time, the demand for alternatives will increase even more in the future. As a forward-looking dairy co-operative, we must not close our minds to this trend, in any of our business areas.”
He added: “Our core product is and remains cow’s milk from the farms of our co-operative farms. Moreover, we are convinced that no other food can ensure such a high level of diversity and balanced nutrition as milk.
“At the same time, however, we see that a coexistence of dairy and non-dairy products can work well and hold dynamic growth opportunities.”
As the country’s largest co-operative DMK has the advantage of knowing what its products should taste like, said Mr Müller.
“We can also use our in-depth know-how for plant-based products,” he said.
DMK’s brand MILRAM Food Service is also working on a range of plant-based desserts made with oats and rice, which will be launched in the first quarter on 2022.
A 2020 study by Veganz found that Germany has the highest numbers of vegans in Europe – 2.6milion, or 3.2% of its population.