Kraft Heinz Just Dropped First-Ever Vegan Singles In Collab With NotCo

Vegan cheese: The words seem contradictory and illogical and don't seem to belong together, because cheese, traditionally, is a product made from dairy milk. Some might say the words vegan cheese are an oxymoron, like boneless ribs, jumbo shrimp, sugarless candy, and meatless meatballs. Yet others, specifically the estimated 10% of Americans who describe themselves as vegans or vegetarians (per The Alliance for Science), might see the words vegan cheese as a reason to do a happy dance. Ask vegans about foods they miss after adopting a plant-based lifestyle and cheese heads the list, according to Vegan Food & Living.

Kraft Heinz, the company synonymous with iconic Kraft Mac & Cheese (yes, it officially changed its name) and Kraft Singles, is making a major push into the vegan cheese market, according to Bloomberg. The company has partnered with NotCo, a food technology venture, to come up with formulas for its first dairy-free cheeses. The inaugural Not Cheese Kraft Singles to roll off the line and into plastic wrappers will be classic American style, along with provolone and cheddar flavors. The Not Cheese slices will initially be available at 30 Giant Eagle stores in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. The product is expected to be on store shelves nationwide in 2023.

Coconut oil is the base of new Not Cheese Kraft Singles

What are Kraft Heinz NotCo's new plant-based cheeses made with? Inquiring minds want to know. According to Foodbeast, the animal-absent cheeses are made using a combination of coconut oil, water, modified corn starch, and chickpea protein.

Plant-based cheese isn't a new concept — far from it. Non-dairy cheese has been around for more than a century, with practitioners using ingredients like tofu, soy, and nuts to fashion dairy-free wedges and rounds (per Eater). Artisan-style vegan cheeses are produced all over the United States, making it possible for restaurants, cheese shops and home cooks to offer locavore, plant-based cheese boards.

Kraft Heinz and NotCo aren't alone in the quest to bring vegan cheese to market. The last five to seven years have seen a vast array of cheese alternatives that strive mightily to replicate the real thing arrive in grocery and health food stores. Brands and offerings that stand out (per Eater) include Colby Jack, cheddar, and Mexican-style shreds from Violife, melty-good Chao slices from plant-based meat and cheese company Field Roast, and an almond-based cream cheese copycat from California company Kite Hill.