Family business Good Stock Foods Ltd. of Edmonton has created Prairie Melt, a plant-based cheese with a unique, crumbly texture that ticks the boxes for many special dietary needs.
Red Seal chef Michelle Robinson and her parents and brother opened Good Stock in 2017 as a restaurant and pivoted during the pandemic to also become a retail store.
Robinson, who has worked in the food industry for 12 years and as a chef for 10 years, started out cooking traditional dishes and ended up going vegan.
“I realized cheese was what I missed it most as a vegan,” she said in an interview. This helped her identify a gap in the market for the lactose-intolerant. “I knew I wanted as few ingredients as possible and I wanted it to be sustainable.”
With the goal of making something she herself would enjoy, she developed Prairie Melt by trial and error.
The plant-based product is made from five ingredients: potato, canola oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt.
It is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and vegan.
Robinson recommends it for pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, nachos and quesadillas. She offers a tip on the company’s blog: “To use Prairie Melt as a topping, crumble on your dish and bake at approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 to 20 minutes. If broiling on high heat, cook for 2-5 minutes only or until it just begins to brown. Prairie Melt will also melt in the microwave after about 1-2 minutes on high.
“We worked with the Leduc processing centre to develop the products,” she said. “We tweaked it to be even more meltable. It has a unique texture. It’s a little bit softer than feta – crumbly. You can pick up a block and crumble it onto your pizza. We melt it into our mac and cheese. You can keep it in a melted state.”
Robinson and husband Jamieson Byrt, who assists with business development, tested the product locally last year and now are ready to ship across Canada and internationally. Prairie Melt is available to food service now in 12-kg size (4 x 3-kg bags) for $144 and soon will be available at grocery and specialty stores as well.
“We have a good variety of customers – pizza shops, a pub, a bakery that makes cheesy bread, Mexican restaurants,” Robinson said. “It’s versatile.”
Good Stock Foods takes orders directly and the team is actively seeking a distributor.
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