Commercial

Since the introduction of these products in the 1970s, cheese analogue consumption in the United States grew to about 208 million lb in 1988, or about 2.2% of the total cheese markets (31). The main incentive was a lower price than natural cheeses. In 1980, for example, the average price of cheese analogues was $0.47/lb less than natural cheese (5). This was due to the use of vegetable oil in analogues, rather than butterfat, as well as imported casein products as the source of dairy protein.

The principal use of cheese analogues has been in sandwich slices or as an ingredient in food products manufactured by food-processing companies or food service operators. In these applications, the analogues can be used as extenders of natural cheeses. Common uses are in frozen pizzas and in food service cheese shreds and cheese sauces. The United States retail market has not grown substan tially, because cheese analogues have a lower quality than natural cheeses. Nonetheless, analogues of pasteurized process American cheese and mozzarella shreds are being sold in the grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS IN CHEESE ANALOGUES Formulations

Cheese analogues all contain a protein source, a fat component, and a variety of minor components chosen to provide the desired flavor, texture, color, nutrition, and keeping quality. Table 6 lists ingredient statements provided by these types of analogue product: a filled Cheddar type, an imitation process cheese, and an imitation cream cheese. The formulations are considerably more complex than for natural cheeses.

PROTEIN SOURCES Casein Products

The most critical component in cheese analogues is the protein. The cheese analogues that have had commercial success are all based on casein, the protein in milk. In some cases a soluble casein salt, or caseinate, is used. One of three forms of casein is generally used. For each, the starting material is skim milk (Table 7).

Vegetable Proteins

Several patents have been issued for, and papers written about, the use of vegetable proteins such as soy or cottonseed protein in place of caseins (16,32). However, these products have not been commercially successful to date because of many technical problems. These include such important characteristics as flavor, melting properties, gel strength, color, translucence, and mouth feel (such as

Table 7. Composition of Casein(ates)
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