Cheese analogues (more widely known as cheese alternatives) are products used as culinary replacements for cheese. These include vegan cheeses as well as some dairy products, such as processed cheese or Kraft Singles, that do not qualify as true cheeses. These foods may be intended as replacements for cheese, as with vegan products, or as imitations, as in the case of products used for salad bars and pizza-making, which are generally intended to be mistaken for real cheese, but have properties such as different melting points or lower costs that make them attractive to businesses.
As with plant milk, vegan cheese may be made from soybeans, rice, almonds, nutritional yeast and other non-dairy ingredients. It is aimed at vegans and others wanting to avoid animal products, for moral, religious or health reasons, including lactose intolerance or a desire to avoid cholesterol. Vegan cheeses may be lower in fat compared to dairy cheese, are cholesterol-free and are often a source of soy protein and isoflavones. Many have calcium added. Several brands melt similarly to dairy cheese, while others stay mostly firm, or melt only when grated. Varieties include:
One variant of pasteurized processed cheese dairy products is designed to melt well on pizza, while remaining chewy. These types of cheeses are sometimes referred to as analogue pizza cheese They are used on some commercially-produced pizzas in North America. These types of cheeses may be formulated for processing with basic cheese-making equipment but without the additional equipment and processing that Mozzarella cheese requires, such as the processes of mixing and molding. They tend to have a soft texture and once melted, may have a slightly "stringy" quality when pulled or bitten into. They may lack in a fusion, or melt together when cooked. It has been stated that pizza cheese appears to be the leading type of cheese analogue produced globally. Each year in the United States since 1987, over 700 million frozen pizzas are sold, three quarters of which contain cheese substitutes.
^"Star Tribune Archives". Nl.newsbank.com. 1987-09-11. Retrieved 2012-09-28. About three-fourths of the 700 million frozen pizzas sold each year in the United States contain cheese substitutes. The most common is casein,...(subscription required)