Recently, the word “vegan” has been seen and heard more often in Japan, but do you know what it means? Vegetarians are vegetable-centric and don’t eat meat or fish, but vegans are “vegans” who don’t eat any animal food, including eggs or dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. In recent years, various vegan products have been developed from the aspect of sustainability, and the number of products with a high degree of perfection that is almost indistinguishable from real meat and fish, even if they are alternatives, is increasing.
Vegan cheese is one of them, and it is developed and sold by various companies and brands. Cheese is generally made from milk. Many may wonder what 100% animal-free vegan cheese is made from, but the main ingredient is a combination of vegetable proteins such as soybeans, nuts, and vegetable oils. Cashew nuts, like coconut oil, are a common ingredient. Pears, arrowroot, tapioca flour, and starch are included to bond the cheese.
The most significant difference between animal and vegetable cheeses is that they are dairy-free (non-dairy). It does not contain any dairy products, so even people with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance can eat it without any problems. In addition, it doesn’t contain carcinogenic animal proteins or cholesterol. Plus, vegan cheese does not contain hormones that might transfer from the animals into the product. Some products contain FDA-approved hormones, which stirs the discussion about whether regular cheese contains too many animal growth hormones, which might be harmful to the body, but you don’t have to worry about that for now.
On the contrary, the disadvantage is that people with allergies such as soybeans and nuts used as raw materials cannot eat them. Different brands have different ingredients, so you should always read the label carefully before making a purchase. Vegan cheese does not contain much of the protein and calcium that dairy products have. The most significant difference other than raw materials and nutrients is texture. The stretchy and smooth texture of the cheese is unique to animal cheese. However, using tapioca-based starch and flour brings it closer to the texture of the dairy cheese most people are used to.
Vegan cheese still has some nutritional imperfections. However, it should also be taken into account that many brands are experimenting with different materials and new manufacturing methods to improve their vegan cheese products to perfection. For those who have or want to have a vegan diet but don’t want to give up cheese, vegan cheeses are a great option. Or if you want to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake for weight loss and health vegan cheese might be a great alternative!
From summer 2022, we will start importing Willicroft vegan cheese from the Netherlands! If you are interested, you can pre-order by following the link below.