Modern Kitchen is a new brand of vegan cream cheeses, made using whey protein that’s produced in a fungus by food tech company, Perfect Day. Modern Kitchen is one of four brands owned by The Urgent Company, which was established by Perfect Day to create products that use this vegan whey. I previously reviewed one of these brands, Brave Robot ice cream, and thought that it had issues with aspects of both taste and sustainability. Let’s see how Modern Kitchen cream cheese compares…
Modern Kitchen cream cheese is available at the Grocery Outlet, but not massively cheap (compared to other products at the Grocery Outlet) – it was around $4.50 for an 8 oz. tub. Then again, it retails for $8 in my local bagel place.
I bought the Harissa Pepper variety and tried it out on toast, crackers, etc. The good news: it doesn’t have that strange taste & texture that I found in all flavors of the Brave Robot ice cream that I tried. So perhaps the whey protein formulation has been improved, or it wasn’t the reason for the issues with Brave Robot. The bad news: the flavor of Modern Kitchen’s Harissa Pepper cream cheese just isn’t very exciting or memorable, other than being a little bitter.
Modern Kitchen – Spring Onion and Chive
However, I decided to give Modern Kitchen a second chance and try one more flavor – Spring Onion and Chive. I know how hard Perfect Day has worked to make vegan whey protein and I feel that it has the potential to replace dairy, but that the food products made with it so far have been disappointing. So when I tried the Spring Onion and Chive variety and pretty much heaved a sigh of relief – it was very good!
The flavors of the Spring Onion and Chive cream cheese work much better than the Harissa Pepper for me, which was a little surprising as I like harissa. The spring onion and chive tasted fresh and well-balanced (not overpowering). Somehow the texture is also better for this flavor – it has that cool, creamy taste that you expect from cream cheese.
I have no vested interest in Perfect Day or Modern Kitchen, but I do have a vested interest in the planet, so I like to see plant-based companies doing well. Having experienced disappointment with Brave Robot ice cream and then the Modern Kitchen Harissa Pepper cream cheese, I was wary about trying any more Perfect Day products. The Spring Onion and Chive variety, however, is so close to dairy-based cream cheese that I really can’t tell the difference.
A friend who tried both flavors felt exactly the same way – the Harissa Pepper was bitter and disappointing and the Spring Onion and Chive is far superior.
Modern Kitchen’s Spring Onion and Chive spread is definitely the best vegan cream cheese that I’ve tried so far. So, if you’re a cream cheese fan who’s looking for a plant-based product, I think it’s worth a try.
Modern Kitchen cream cheese: ingredients & nutrition
Modern Kitchen, Harissa Pepper – ingredients
Animal-Free Cream (Water, Coconut Oil, Non-Animal Whey Protein), Non-GMO Modified Potato Starch, Contains 2% or Less of Red Bell Peppers, Garlic Powder Paprika, Spices, Cultures, Salt, Potato Protein, Rowanberry Fruit Extract (Antioxidant), Non-GMO Modified Corn Starch, Paprika Color, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor.
Modern Kitchen, Spring Onion and Chive – ingredients
Animal-Free Cream (Water, Coconut Oil, Non-Animal Whey Protein), Non-GMO Modified Potato Starch, Non-GMO Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Potato Protein, Contains 2% or Less of: Chives, Onions, Cultures, Rowanberry Fruit Extract (Antioxidant), Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor.
The main ingredient in both is coconut oil, which as you can see from the nutrition facts label, below, contributes a lot of saturated fat – 35% of the recommended daily value. Both varieties contain 1 g protein per 28 g serving size – not a very significant amount. Overall nutritional content is similar to regular cream cheese, minus the cholesterol but a little higher in saturated fat and sodium.
Ethical rating for Modern Kitchen cream cheese
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of Modern Kitchen cream cheese, which I’m rating 3.5 out of 5 Green Stars:
- Modern Kitchen cream cheeses are all vegan. Adopting a plant-based diet is the top thing you can do to mitigate deforestation & climate change and to end animal cruelty and the insidious negative impact that the meat industry has on society.
- The whey protein is made in a fungus by Perfect Day, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 91-97% compared to protein from cows.
- The company provides no information on sourcing of other ingredients (e.g., coconut oil) or the company’s social impact.
- Perfect Day have assembled a sustainability council – perhaps their reach doesn’t extend to The Urgent Company (Modern Kitchen) but it seems that some advice would be welcome on making more sustainable products and communicating to consumers.
- The container does not appear to be made from post-consumer recycled plastic.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Modern Kitchen cream cheese:
- 4 gold stars for quality/value for the Spring Onion + Chive flavor (2.5 for the Harissa Pepper)
- 3.5 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )