Course:FNH200/Assignments/2022/Medium Cheddar Cheese - Original vs. Dairy-free

From UBC Wiki

Medium Cheddar Cheese is a staple food item in household diets. It is a good source of calcium, fat and protein; however, cheese is a dairy product which some people might be allergic to, thus, a demand for dairy-free cheese has been a recent creation that people have been interested in.

The purpose of this wiki page is to compare two cheddar cheese alternatives found in Canada with each other: Medium Cheddar Cheese - Original vs. Dairy-free.


Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block vs. Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block

Cheddar Cheese is a food item made with dairy, having a sharp, earthy and pungent flavour. Cheddar Cheese is usually used in recipes as a topping in a lot of various dishes to add a more "cheesy" texture, such as pizza, spaghetti, or pasta.

As Cheddar Cheese has a complex flavour thanks to microbial enzymes, dairy-free cheese products use substitutes to dairy in order to imitate the flavour, texture and structure that cheese usually brings.

A comparison will be made in the following section in order to analyze medium cheddar cheese block and its dairy-free counterpart, there will also be emphasis on the pictures, ingredients, substitutes & additives, and labelling requirements.

Pictures of Product

Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block
Image 1: Front View (Design, Logo & Claims)
Image 2: Back view (Nutrition Fact Sheet & Ingredients)
Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block
Image 3: Front View (Design, Logo & Claims)
Image 4: Back view (Nutrition Fact Sheet & Ingredients)

Ingredient lists

1. Ingredients

Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block
  • Milk
  • Modified Milk Ingredients
  • Bacterial Culture
  • Salt
  • Microbial Enzyme
  • Colour
  • May Contain Calcium Chloride
  • Oat Base (filtered water, gluten-free oat flour)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Modified Potato Starch
  • Natural Flavours
  • Salt
  • Chickpea Protein
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Lactic Acid
  • Annatto (colour)

Ingredients are listed in order of importance, starting with the ingredient with most importance and ending with the ingredient with the least importance.

2. Substitutes & Additives

Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block
Fat Substitutes None (Milk Fat) Coconut Oil
Protein Substitutes None (Milk Protein)
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Chickpea Protein
  • Modified Potato Starch
Dairy Substitute None
  • Lactic Acid
  • Natural Flavours
Additive Colouring (Annatto)
  • Lipase
  • Colouring (Annatto)

3. Role of Substitutes & Additives

Role of Substitute/Addititive
Coconut Oil
  • Used as a substitute for Milk Fat
  • Coconut Oil and Milk Fat are both saturated fats, allowing Coconut Oil to be a substitute for Milk Fat[1].
Chickpea Flour & Chickpea Protein
  • Used as a substitute for Milk Protein
  • Chickpea Flour has been historically deemed "safe [for] use [as] food" but has not been tested for a "safety assessment by Health Canada" in terms of food usage[2].
Modified Potato Starch
  • Used as an emulsifier for fat
  • It is also used to mirror the protein structure of Milk Protein
Lactic Acid
  • Contributes to maintaining a seemingly sour and tangy taste in Daiya's cheese product that occurs in traditional cheese as a result of lactose undergoing the fermentation process to create lactic acid
  • Used to maintain the pH of the product for safe consumption
Natural Flavours
  • Used to imitate the flavours of cheddar cheese in dairy free products
  • Present as a natural flavour additive in the Daiya product. Lipase is permitted, as per “good manufacturing processes” in the Canadian food system and can come from a variety of animal and microbial sources. Although a specific reference to this on the product itself could not be found, it is assumed that the lipase used in this product comes from a microbial source given the Daiya “Cheddar Flavoured Block” likely consumer target include vegans[3].
  • Annatto is approved for use in a wide range of products, including milk and cheese products (which Daiya is not), sausage casings, margarine, and others. While a specific mention to “cheese like products” could not be found,. it is assumed that Annatto is allowed in the Daiya product given that it is relatively less allergenic compared to other synthetic colouring and is also used in a wide range of processed cheese spread and products that Annatto is approved for. This additive can be added as per “good manufacturing process”, meaning: the minimum required for desired effect[4].
  • Cheddar Cheese is less limited in what they can use: annatto, carotene, chlorophyll, paprika, riboflavin and turmeric. The colouring used, as stated by Balderson from their website, is also Annatto. The additive is usually added as per “good manufacturing process”, meaning, the minimum required for desired effect[5].

4. Comparison & Contrast

Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block Explanation
Milk Coconut Oil Coconut oil acts as a fat, substituting in for milk fat. It performs the same tasks by providing energy and a foundation for hormones while also aerating, carrying aroma, lubricating, and softening the product as a whole.
Modified Potato Starch Modified potato starch acts as an emulsifier for fat by matching the protein functions of milk protein[6].
Chickpea Protein & Chickpea Flour Milk proteins contain essential amino acids that our body needs, chickpea protein and flour substitute in milk proteins for the body as replacement for the essential amino acids.
Oat Base Milk contains probiotics, which are “good bacteria” that helps aid in digestion. Oat base contains Beta Glucan (dietary fibre) which substitutes probiotics in aiding digestion.
Annatto (colour) Annatto (colour) Annatto is a food colouring derived from achiote tree seeds. Both Balderson and Daiya use Annatto in their colouring, though Annatto does not affect flavour and is plant-based. Its inclusion in the Daiya's plant-based product is a more ideal choice relatively for people who are allergic to artificial or synthetic food colouring.
Bacterial Culture Lactic Acid Bacterial cultures are involved in the fermentation process, where lactose from the milk is converted to lactic acid. In the dairy-free cheddar block, there is no lactose from milk to be converted to acid, so lactic acid is directly added.
Microbial Enzyme Potato Starch (Protease) Enzymes in cheese are used to make milk casein proteins clump together forming solid curds (combine with rennet to form paracasein). Protease is also used to reduce the allergenic property of milk. As there is no milk in the dairy-free cheddar block, non-allergenic potato starch is used to imitate the protein structure of milk.
Natural Flavours (Lipase) Lipase is used to accelerate the ripening process and develop the distinct cheddar flavour. Natural flavours are added in the substitute to make up for this absent flavour since there is no lipase[7].

Note: Traditional cheese is made through an “age-old” method that does not involve a lot of ingredients. Milk is firstly harvested, pasteurised (not necessary to make cheese, but does add a safety element for food that will be distributed through the food system), and then a bacteria culture is added. This culture ferments milk sugar and lactose into lactic acid, lowering the pH and creating the well-known cheese texture known as casein (milk’s protein) and forms a smooth, water-containing gel once it is acidified.

The Daiya Dairy-Free cheese attempts to replicate the same texture and taste as cheddar cheese but without starting with a milk product. Interestingly, the intermediate lactic acid is added to the Daiya cheese which presumably mimics a similar pathway but without involving lactose or milk. In traditional cheddar cheese, the bacteria does a lot of the “work” in creating the “cheese” texture; whereas, in the Daiya cheese, more ingredients are used to essentially create a “man-made” cheese as close as possible to the actual counterpart.

Both Daiya Dairy-Free cheese and the cheddar cheese have colour added to them so that they are yellow in colour, however, Daiya lists the type of colouring agent (Annatto) directly on their packaging whereas the traditional cheddar does not.


1. Descriptions

Necessary Labelling Requirements Balderson Medium Cheddar Cheese Block Daiya (deliciously dairy-free) Medium Cheddar Flavoured Block
Bilingual Labelling Both English & French labelling is present Both English & French labelling is present
Common Name Cheddar Cheese Cheddar flavoured block
Storage Instructions Keep refrigerated
  • Keep refrigerated
  • Do not Freeze
  • After opening best used within 7 days
Country of Origin Canada Canada
Nutritional Facts
  • Per 1 ¼” cube (30g):
  • Calories: 120,
  • Fat: 10g (15%),
  • Saturated+Trans: 32%,
  • Cholesterol: 30mg,
  • Sodium: 200mg,
  • Carbohydrate: 1g,
  • Fibre: 0g,
  • Sugars: 0g,
  • Protein: 7g,
  • Vitamin A: 10%,
  • Vitamin C: 0%,
  • Calcium: 20%,
  • Iron: 0%
  • Per 3 cm cube (30g):
  • Calories: 90,
  • Fat: 7g (9%),
  • Saturated+Trans: 35%,
  • Cholesterol: 0mg,
  • Sodium: 280mg,
  • Carbohydrate: 7g,
  • Fibre: 0g,
  • Sugars: 0g,
  • Protein: 0.4g,
  • Potassium: 20mg,
  • Calcium: 0%,
  • Iron: 1%
Legibility & Location The information is clear and legible The information is clear and legible
Identify & Principle Place of Business Balderson Cheese Co, Winchester, ON  KDC 2KD Daiya Foods INC., Burnaby, B.C
Date of Expiry 2023 February 25th 2022 December 23rd
Irradiated Foods N/A N/A
List of Ingredients Milk, modified milk ingredients, bacterial culture, salt, microbial enzyme, colour, may contain calcium chloride Oat base (filtered water, gluten-free oat flour), coconut oil, modified potato starch, Natural flavours, salt, chickpea protein, chickpea flour, lactic acid, Annatto (colour)
Net Quantity of Food 280g 200g
Sweeteners No added sweeteners- only naturally occurring lactose in milk is present No added sweeteners
Other Mandatory Information N/A Dairy, soya, & gluten free
Nutrient Content Claims N/A N/A

2. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

The information stated in the table above on Cheddar cheese Labels complies with the Canadian Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations learned from Lesson 4 course materials.

Storage instructions and expiry date: Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free cheddar flavour block has a shorter shelf life in that it expires earlier and, more importantly, that it must be used within 7 days of opening. The traditional cheddar cheese block does not make these claims, rather, cheese can typically be monitored in the fridge until visible mould is seen. In contrast, many traditional dairy containing cheeses can be eaten if mould is growing on it, or it can be safe by cutting the mould off and eating the remaining cheese provided the mould has not penetrated too deep. While both foods have expiry dates longer than 90 days, meaning that legally they did not have to record an expiry date, both manufacturers did. Of course, the Daiya “cheese” is required to state that it must be used within 7 days of opening as this is a storage instruction rather than an expiry date. It is also interesting that the Daiya cheddar block cannot be frozen. It is assumed that the act of freezing this product would disrupt the unique colloidal dispersion structure that gives the alternative its cheese-like texture as the water in the product freezes.

Nutritional facts: While nutrition is beyond the scope of this course, it is interesting that the Daiya “cheddar product” has relatively low levels of protein (0.4g per serving compared to 7g per serving in the cheddar block), despite the front of the package advertising that it is made with “chickpea protein” which implies that the product is high in protein. Similarly, the Daiya product has no calcium in it (0% of RDA vs. 20% of RDA) in the traditional cheddar cheese), despite the fact that it is advertised as a cheese replacement. The fat content of the two products is similar (7g in the Daiya product and 10% in the traditional cheddar) - likely due to milk fat in the cheddar and the coconut oil in the Daiya product. The carbohydrate is substantially different between the two with Daiya having significantly more than the traditional cheddar (7g vs. 1g, respectively). This is likely due to the primary ingredient in the Daiya product being oats - a known carbohydrate/starch source - whereas the source of carbohydrate in the traditional cheddar would be lactose from the milk that has not been converted to lactic acid.

Sweeteners: It is interesting that the traditional cheese block specifies that lactose is present in the cheese, specifying that a form of sugar is present in this cheese. This is likely because some consumers are allergic or intolerant to lactose and actively avoid it. By saying that “no sweeteners are added” this could imply that there is no sugar at all, so it is worth the manufacturer stating that lactose is present in the cheese.

Other mandatory information: It is notable that the Daiya “cheese” states that the product is soya and gluten free, when, presumably the cheese block would also be soya and gluten free as well. The reason for this discrepancy is likely that Daiya “cheese product” is attempting to market itself as a “health-conscious product” and, as their target audience are consumers who would be concerned about soya and gluten as part of their diet, conversely the target audience for cheese are regular grocery-goers who might not be as health cognisant. The difference in how the manufacturers state the exclusion of soya, gluten and lactose might be to increase familiarity of the ingredients to a wider market (also considering the Daiya cheese product has more ingredients). explicitly state this fact even though standard cheese wouldn’t have these compounds either.

Nutritional claims: While the standard cheese contains calcium, the manufactures do not include a disease risk reduction claim with respect to calcium and vitamin D. The package states that a serving contains 20% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium, which means it contains 200mg based on the fact that adults (who are not pregnant or breastfeeding) require 1,000mg of calcium a day[8]. While this is enough calcium to make a disease reduction claim, the product does not contain Vitamin D as well[9]. In contrast, the Daiya “cheese” contains neither calcium nor vitamin D, an interesting observation for someone attempting to use the Daiya cheese alternative in replacement of standard cheese for their diet.

Standards and Food Identity Composition: The standard cheddar cheese block falls under Division 8 - Dairy Products, B.08.030 - cheese, specifically B.08.032b (Cheddar Cheese) in the Canadian Standards and Food Identify Composition[10]. Because of this, the manufactures are required to list the Milk Fat (M.F.): 32%, in this case abbreviated to M.F. which is permissible, and the Moisture Content: 37% in this case. Cheddar Cheese is not subject to the standards and food identity composition rules listed in B.08.033. The Daiya product is not permitted to be labelled as cheese as it is not made out of “partially skimmed milk, skim milk, buttermilk, whey and whey cream, or milk in concentrated, dried, frozen or reconstituted from, butter, butter oil and whey butter, any constituent of milk or whey protein concentrate”, and, as such, does not meet the product description as laid out in B.08.001 - Dairy Products. It is notable that the Daiya product uses the name “Medium Cheddar Flavour Block”, implying that it can be used to substitute cheese without making the claim that it is cheese.

Food Grade Standards: The standard cheddar cheese is not listed as being grade 1, suggesting it does not meet the grade requirements for cheddar cheese with regard to flavour, firmness, texture, smoothness of surface, uniformness of colour and/or uniformness of size and shape[11]. The cheese does advertise itself as “premium quality” but there does not appear to be a standard to make such a claim.

Irradiation Standards: Food irradiation is done to ensure food safety by exposing the food product to ionising radiation (i.e. gamma rays, x-rays, or electron beams) which can kill microorganisms, control insect and parasite infestations, or slow ripening or sprouting of produce[12]. In Canada, only four categories of food are permitted for irradiation and these are: 1. potatoes, 2. onions, 3. wheat, flour, 4. spices & dehydrated seasonings. When irradiated is used for the food product, this must be clearly stated on the food packaging. Alternatively, for products containing multiple ingredients, a note specifying irradiated food is required if an ingredient that has been irradiated makes up more than 10% of the product[13]. In the case of the traditional cheese block, none of the ingredients listed have been approved for irradiation in Canada. In contrast, the Daiya “cheese” contains modified potato starch, and, hypothetically, the potato used to make the potato starch could have been irradiated and if it makes up less than 10% of the total product it would not be indicated on the label. Potato starch is listed as the third ingredient, behind oat base, and coconut oil so it is possible that it makes up less than 10% of the Daiya product but we cannot be sure..


  1. "Fats: Fats and your health". Government of Canada. June 2022.
  2. "List of non-novel determinations for food and food ingredients". Government of Canada. May 2022.
  3. "5. List of Permitted Food Enzymes (Lists of Permitted Food Additives)". Government of Canada. May 2022.
  4. "3. List of Permitted Colouring Agents (Lists of Permitted Food Additives)". Government of Canada. February 2021.
  5. "3. List of Permitted Colouring Agents (Lists of Permitted Food Additives)". Government of Canada. February 2021.
  6. "KMC Launches New Potato Starch Based Solution for Vegan Cheese". food ingredients. Sep 2015. |first= missing |last= (help)
  7. "Lipase applications in food industry" (PDF). 1. 6: 141–158. April 2007. |first= missing |last= (help)
  8. "vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes". Government of Canada. July 2020.
  9. "Health Claims on food labels: Acceptable disease risk reduction claims and therapeutic claims". Government of Canada. October 2019.
  10. "Foods (continued)". Justice Laws Website. March 2022.
  11. "Division 8: Dairy Products". Justice Laws Website. March 2022.
  12. "Food Irradiation". Food Irradiation. June 2016.
  13. "Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Food Irradiation". Government of Canada. June 2016.

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