Philadelphia's First Plant-Based Cream Cheese Hits Shelves Next Summer

Vegan, flexitarian, and lactose-intolerant foodies have only recently been able to find alternatives to certain dairy-based foods — even the origins of oat milk are surprisingly contemporary. If you were to step into a food store in the U.S. as recently as five years ago, you wouldn't have been able to find the variety of plant-based dairy products we have today (via Eater). That means no dairy-free soft cheeses, no vegan butter or yogurt, and certainly no plant-based cream cheese spreads.

While the rise in the interest of plant-based foods has driven the development and improvement of dairy-free options (per Food Dive), certain products still have a way to go before they are considered equivalent in terms of taste and texture. According to Philadelphia's 2021 IRI and Mintel Data, one of those products (was) plant-based cream cheese. With less than half of customers returning to buy some after trying it the first time, the President of Research and Development at The Kraft Heinz Company, Robert Scott, said it was clear that the existing options weren't meeting expectations.

But alas, after two years of development, Philadelphia, the brand that invented cream cheese 150 years ago, is stepping in to fill that void (per The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Philadelphia plant-based

After inventing cream cheese in 1872, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia brand is making history once again as the first mainstream cream cheese manufacturer to enter the plant-based market (via The Kraft Heinz Company). The company's recipe, which has undergone two years of development, was conceived in response to consumer demand. According to Scott, the number of flexitarian consumers now exceeds vegans twenty-fold, with 52% of people looking for ways to add more plant-based foods to their diets. That's a large market of people living without a cream cheese replacement on their various bagels — and who better to provide that than the household name that is Philadelphia?

Original flavors of Philadelphia's plant-based spread are already available at select stores in the Southeastern U.S.; however, a nationwide release, plus two more undisclosed flavors are set for the summer of 2023. Made to replicate the experience of the brand's classic dairy spread, Philadelphia's plant-based version is made from a blend of coconut oil, potato starch, and faba bean protein, making it completely dairy-free, lactose-free, and gluten-free (per VegNews).