Non-Dairy Cheese Market in the US and Canada

Explore the latest research on non-dairy cheese trends in the US and Canada

May 2, 2024 – Plant-based diets are rising, alongside more individuals with food intolerances and allergies. With this phenomenon, brands have more opportunities than ever before to create products for consumers with specific dietary needs. Non-dairy cheese, despite still being a small category, is a product growing in popularity, as many of these consumers can enjoy a previously unusable ingredient while maintaining their dietary requirements. Our research demonstrates how these products are developing within the US and Canada non-dairy cheese markets, highlighting popular formats, brands, claims, flavors, and innovation.

Product Launches and Market Share

North America is the second largest region for new non-dairy cheese product launches. Popular positionings driving product innovation include “free from” claims catered to consumer needs (such as vegan, gluten free, lactose free, palm oil free), no additives or preservatives, ethical environment options with regenerative farming practices, and carbon neutral actions. 

New product development of non-dairy cheese has increased over the past four years. Since 2019, launches have risen by 13.5%. 

Non-dairy cheese is the sixth most common type of dairy product launched in North America. Product launches are driven by non-dairy versions of dairy cheese, mozzarella cheese, variety in shapes, convenience offers with recloseable packs, and squeezable pouches. 

The US launches more non-dairy cheese products than Canada, with the former launching an average of 75% of the products in North America, and the latter launching 25%. However, since September 2021, the gap between the two has been declining.  

Non-Dairy Cheese Market in the US and Canada

Brands of Note

Good Planet Foods and Miyokos Creamery are the two most active launchers of new non-dairy cheese launches. Runner up companies include Bel Group, Daiya Foods, and Follow Your Heart.

Good Planet registered an 8.2% increase in new product development within the non-dairy cheese market between 2022 and 2023, driven by cheese cubes and shreds formats, preparations with olive oil, and spicy inclusions.

Between 2020 and 2023, Miyokos Creamery held the highest growth rate of 10.6%, with cheese spreads, and additions of flavorful ingredients from the Allium family (such as garlic, onions, scallions, and chives) driving new product innovation.

A Spotlight Into Innovation in the Non-Dairy Cheese Market

Consumers show an interest in the taste and texture of non-dairy cheese mimicking the original product. Innovation in this sector is underway, with a US-based biotechnology company “Pureture” formulating plant-based casein which fully replicates the taste, texture, and function of traditional protein. The protein can be used in alternative dairy products to aid in, among other things, implementing the critical stretch and pull of real cheese into non-dairy cheese.

Plant-Based and Vegan Claims Prevail

Vegan is the most popular claim in the non-dairy cheese market, seen on around 80% of products. Plant-based is the next most popular claim, on 65% of products, but has dropped in popularity from 90% since 2022. Gluten free, GMO free, and lactose free are the next most popular claims. Emerging claims include probiotic, low cholesterol, traditional, no additives, and natural.

However, when analyzing by country, vegan only leads as a claim in the US, while in Canada plant-based is at the top. Example of dairy-free cheeses with vegan claims include “suitable for vegans” on Nuts for Cheese Cream Cheese Style Spread: Original, and “phenomenally vegan” on Miyokos Creamery Plant Milk Cheese Spread: Roadhouse Cheddar.

Preferred Non-Dairy Cheese Flavors

Garlic and herbs are the top two flavors in dairy-free cheese, both seen on 7.5% of product launches. Chive, smoked, and strawberry are the next most popular, with chive in particular growing rapidly within the last four years. Emerging flavors include onion, sun-dried tomato, red tomato, and jalapeno chili.

In the United States, smoked is the most popular flavor, just slightly above garlic and herbs. However, in Canada, garlic and herbs are the most chosen flavors by a wider margin.

What’s Next in Non-Dairy Cheese Market?

New product development of dairy-free cheese includes ethical, environmentally friendly options with regenerative farming practices and carbon neutral actions. Non-GMO innovations in the category, such as Pureture’s plant-based protein for textural and flavor benefits, are also of note. The combination of more ethical and environmental options, as well as non-GMO formulations may help further drive new product development in the non-dairy cheese market.

Free from and reductionism claims are growing, with vegan being the most common positioning in the United States, and plant-based as the most common in Canada. The five most common claims for non-dairy cheese launches in North America are all free from positionings – the first two being vegan and plant-based, while gluten free, GMO free, and lactose free are the final three. Brands should keep an eye on these popular claims, as many of them will likely continue to grow.


This article is based on our report, “Crafting the Future: US Trends in Dairy and Non-Dairy Cheese Innovation.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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