New Culture will launch animal-free mozzarella at the popular LA pizerie in 2024

Dive Brief:

  • Animal-free mozzarella from New Culture will appear on the menu of famed Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles next year.
  • Before it becomes a regular menu item, New Culture and Pizzeria Mozza will host a series of launch events. The first will be in the restaurant in early June, but there will be other restaurants throughout the year in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.
  • Cheese from New Culture will be the first product to contain animal-free casein — the dairy protein that gives cheese its brand extension.

dive insight:

New Culture is launching an entirely new type of food tech product, and they’re following a successful guide: start in a well-known restaurant with a reputation for making high-quality dishes, spread to other restaurants, and then eventually retail, once the item has the crest.

Since New Culture makes animal-free casein, founder and CEO Matt Gibson has always had his eye on getting in the pizzerias first. When many people think of chewy cheese, they think of cheesy pizza. New Culture Animal Free Cheese is made by producing casein through microfermentation – modifying small organisms including yeast so that when fermented they produce casein. The rest of the ingredients in New Culture cheese are vegan.

As a division, vegan cheese saw a slight decrease in sales. According to SPINS data, vegan cheese sales in the United States were $230 million in 2022 — a 1.7% decrease in sales dollars and a 5% decrease in unit sales compared to the previous year. The penetration of vegan cheeses at home was just 5% last year.

Studies have shown that consumers are interested in the concept of vegan cheese, but not the taste. A study conducted by the Vegan Foods Association and 84.51 showed that 73% of consumers were interested in a better-tasting vegan cheese that melts well and does not have a grainy texture.

New Culture might be a way to provide that. Last year, a food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle declared that New Cultures cheese is “virtually indistinguishable from real dairy” on pizza.

Aside from owning a pizzeria, Silverton is personally valuable for helping launch New Culture Cheese. One of the hallmarks of its Osteria Mozza restaurants is the mozzarella bar, which serves up sumptuous, fresh versions of the chewy white cheese.

“I’ve always been of the school of thought, just because it’s an alternative doesn’t mean it needs to be anything less than amazing,” Silverton said in a written statement. “When I tried New Culture cheese, I was surprised and excited by the safety of the product and really felt like it lived up to our standards.”

Pancakes in Pizza banana Rated among the best in Los Angeles, Silverton is a James Beard Award-winning chef. Food critics say the unique crust and fresh ingredients define Pizza banana separate. Silverton and New Culture worked together to improve and prepare the New Culture product for launch, and the pizzeria will create pies that showcase the cheese.

A similar plan worked for Impossible Foods as it first launched a signature burger at David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in 2016. The burger was trendy and gained popularity—and the company had time to improve its formula and scale manufacturing—before it became available to consumers in grocery stores.

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