Dr. Oetker Stories

“Consumers expect cheese on a Pizza”

Golden yellow, beautifully melted, and preferably, with delicious strings – for most people, cheese is a must on every good pizza. This makes it all the more challenging to find an equivalent alternative for vegan products. Product developer Insa Parkan tells us how this was nevertheless achieved for Ristorante Pizza Margherita Pomodori.

“Consumers expect cheese on a Pizza”

7.6.2022 Sustainability Our Food

Insa, what role does cheese play in the development of a new pizza?

Insa Parkan: We know from our consumers that they expect cheese on a pizza. In addition to the base and the sauce – which does not always have to be a tomato sauce – it is very important for the formula. So far, we have mainly relied on mozzarella, Edam or Gouda.

So is cheese essential for the taste of a pizza?

Insa Parkan: A aromatic cheese contributes significantly to the taste of a pizza. However, it's more than that: Cheese is also characterized by its melting and special mouthfeel. The sensory impression therefore goes beyond the pure taste. 

Plant-based alternatives are essential for a vegan pizza. What are these made of and can they be used on a frozen pizza without any problems?

Insa Parkan: The options are evolving and there are many different cheese alternatives, for example, based on almonds, cashews and even potatoes. While developing our vegan Ristorante Margherita Pomodori, we tried thirty different variants alone. And I have to admit that the tastings weren't always a pleasure. Many vegan cheese alternatives are very sticky and lack the typical flavor coming from aging of real cheese. Therefore, in the end, it also depends on the overall recipe.

Which vegan cheese alternative can be found on the vegan Ristorante Margherita Pomodori?

Insa Parkan: In the end, a raw product based on coconut oil prevailed. In combination with aromatic ingredients such as dried tomatoes and pesto, we have succeeded in creating a harmonious recipe. 

Does the pizza with vegan cheese actually taste different?

Insa Parkan: If you don't know that it is a vegan pizza, you probably won't taste it at all, but you might see it. Because vegan cheese alternatives don't melt quite as much in the oven as regular cheese. There will certainly be many more exciting developments in this field over the next few years.