This past year, our chef, Karen, published her first book, The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking, a book which began with respect to research and development 4 years ago. In the short amount of time that has past, the growth of vegan/plant-based cheese, and cheese analogs (i.e. non-cultured cheezes), has been exceedingly rapid.
In 2012/13, there were very few dairy free cheese like alternatives on the market beyond Daiya, Tofutti, and maybe one or two other lesser known brands depending on where you live.
In 2017, brands abound across the globe, not just the bigger name brands such as Miyoko's Creamery, Violife, Vtopia, but smaller, more artisanal craft products; Artisa Tasmania (Australia), Cheese the Queen, (Bulgaria), New Roots (Switzerland), Happy Cheeze (Germany), Cheesehound (Williamsburg, NY, USA), Blode Kuh (Los Angeles, CA, USA), and of course, us, Blue Heron (Vancouver, BC, CAN). By 2019, the dairy free foods sector anticipates global sales nearing $24 billion dollars. By end 2024 dairy free cheese/cheese analogs is anticipated to bring in $3.5 billion dollars in global sales.
With this kind of rapid growth, and opportunity seeking in a market that is quickly going from niche to mainstream, there are a number of things to think about, including ingredient sourcing and impact on producing nations (where the nuts and coconut milk come from), quality (fast, high volume production doesn't guarantee good), methodology (there is no ubiquitous, common language or methodology for the field).
Our chef Karen teaches Intro (and soon Advanced) courses in the craft of artisan vegan cheesemaking, and has written a couple of articles this year. One of them has been published in the largest permaculture magazine, based in the UK, Permaculture. Her article on vegan cheese making, it's growth and understanding it as a craft can be found in their 25th Anniversary issue, being released on October 26th, and includes a recipe: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/subscribe