No milk – nuts! How a start-up from Thuringia plans to revolutionize the cheese and yogurt market
A taste for a better world
Can we make the world a better place by snacking, and do something good for our bodies at the same time? The founders of Licorne GmbH & Co. KG say we can. But let’s start at the beginning.
There once was a young vegan woman who simply did not see the appeal of soy yogurt and imitation cheese. So she decided to make her own, out of nutritious nuts and using traditional cheese making methods. The result was something really good – so good that it drew the attention of two-time camembert world champion Claus Katzenberger, then the CEO of a sizeable cheese factory. Katzenberger gave up dairy-based cheese for good and joined the new vegan company, Licorne GmbH & Co. KG.
The team built a modern factury in Altenburg/Thuringia. After an intense phase of research and development in which they further refined and improved their process, the young company could establish its brand new range of cheese and yogurt alternatives – made from cashew nuts and almonds – in the German and Austrian health-food shops last year. From this year on their products will also be available in France and Switzerland.
Some may question Katzenberger’s choice to give up a stable career at 54 years of age to start all over with a totally new kind of food.
But he knows exaclty why: “Plant-based products protect the environment. It’s rewarding to make my own small contribution to stopping climate change. On a professional level, developing these products has been a thrill. It was a long hard road to our first assortment, because as a champion of dairy products, I wasn’t willing to compromise my rigorous standards of quality in the least. We don't want to sell imitations. We want to make real, only little processed foods that taste great.”
The manufacturing process is simular to traditional cheese and yogurt recipes. Like dairy products, the almond and cashew-based products are made by using fermentation with the help of vegan probiotic cultures. The terms “cheese” and “yogurt” are inproper on legal grounds to describe them, but their taste convinces even the most critical consumers. The products are not subjected to thermal processing, which means they contain living yogurt cultures. The company does not use any preservative agents, artificial flavours or enhancers in their products. Of course, they are also certified organic and vegan.
These foods do not just protect the environment. Nuts also protect the health of those who savour them. Made from almonds and cashews, these yogurt and cheese alternatives are a simple way for consumers to integrate nuts into their everyday life.
Licorne’s first product line contains three vegan cream cheese alternatives out of cashew nuts and one made out of almonds, plus two vegan yogurt alternatives from almonds. All of these delicious products can be used just like their dairy-based counterparts, even in dishes made au gratin and other recipes.
The team at Licorne is already in the process of developing a second line of dairy-free foods, including a cashew-based “sour cream butter”, a range of mature “cheeses”, and another nut-based cheese alternative with a scrumptious white rind – a special project close to Katzenberger’s heart. We can hardly wait to try them all!