French cheese, but not as you know it

Tomm’Pousse’s vegan products made from cashew nuts or soya have won awards. They include CamemVert.

With more people seeking non-dairy options for the fridge or dining table, vegan ‘cheese’ is on the rise. Jane Hanks reports

In a country known for its cheeses, it might seem sacrilegious to produce a vegan alternative with no dairy products, but there are young companies in France producing new vegetal based creations which cannot keep up with the demand for their products and which are planning to expand by moving to bigger premises.

Though many of these products are packaged and designed to be eaten in a similar way to dairy cheese, a recent case from the EU Court of Justice ruled that traditional dairy terms such as milk, cheese, cream, butter or yoghurt cannot be used in purely plant-based products.

It was decided that German company TofuTown could no longer name its plant-based products Veggie Cheese or Soyatoo Tofu Butter. There are some exceptions: coconut and almond milk and peanut butter are still allowed.

However, a quick scan of the supermarket shelves where this type of product is beginning to appear shows they are being sold to look like a cheese alternative. At my local Biocoop in Sarlat, I found Vegeese, packaged as cheddar look alike slices made principally from coconut oil and Risella “which can be eaten like Mozzarella”, with ...

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