Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Green Rebel.
Alt-protein startup Green Rebel has launched an animal-free cheese product, adding to its existing portfolio of plant-based beef and chicken analogs.
“Dairy cheese is the third-largest carbon emitter after beef and lamb when it comes to food production. When trying to provide more sustainable food options, replacing cheese is just as important as replacing beef,” said the Indonesian startup’s co-founder and chief innovation officer, Max Mandias.
The “plant-based cheddar cheese” is made from “locally and sustainably sourced” cashew, potato, and rice. Green Rebel claims the product — Green Rebel Cheeze — can be sliced, grated, melted, or grilled in much the same way as conventional, animal-derived cheese.
In a statement, Green Rebel said that dairy consumption in Indonesia is on the rise, with 48% of urban shoppers in the country buying cheese on a regular basis due to perceptions that it is healthy, indulgent, and a premium product, according to market research by Kantar. Many foodservice businesses are also adding cheese to their menus in an effort to give locally popular dishes a “Western twist,” the startup suggested.
However, up to 80% of Indonesian, and wider East Asian, populations are lactose-intolerant, according to various academic sources.
“We hope that by providing plant-based cheese, we can cater to existing vegans who long for the taste of cheese in their menu, as well as educating new markets on the health and environmental benefits of consuming plant-based cheese in comparison to dairy cheese,” said Green Rebel co-founder and CEO Helga Angelina Tjahjadi.
“Calcium needs magnesium to be absorbed well, which makes plant-based ingredients an ideal source of calcium since most plant foods contain both nutrients.”
Green Rebel Cheeze has launched in Burgreens, the vegan restaurant chain founded by Angelina Tjahjadi and Mandias, and will also be available to purchase on the startup’s direct-to-consumer website and third-party e-commerce platforms from today. The product will be on supermarket shelves in January 2022.
Green Rebel was established by Angelina Tjahjadi and Mandias to develop plant-based meat replacements tailored for Southeast Asian cuisine. It has worked with close to 750 different foodservice partners across Indonesia, including Domino’s, Ikea, and Starbucks. In June, it unveiled what it said were “Asia’s first” plant-based protein products that imitate whole-muscle cuts of meat.
The Jakarta-based company recently graduated from the 2021 cohort of the GROW Impact Accelerator, an agrifoodtech startup program backed by AgFunder’s GROW Impact Fund. It’s set to launch its existing meat replacement products for consumer purchase in over 100 retailers by the end of this year.