Exporting Vegan Cheese into Italy from the United States

Subject: Business
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1367
Topics: Marketing, Food, International Business


Vegan cheese is the cheese (known as Formaggio in Italian) made from plant and other non-dairy products for the people who are vegetarians or people who do not want to consume dairy products for reasons (Bishop-Weston, 2017). Some people do not eat animal products for various reasons. People avoid animal products for various because they are either vegetarians, want to live a healthy lifestyle, allergic to lactose or for ethical reasons. The vegan cheese is a good alternative for regular cheese. Vegan cheese is made from natural derivatives of non-animal products such as soy protein, yeast, nut milk, vegetable oil, natural enzymes, bacterial cultures, ager flakes, vegetable glycerin, coconut oil, etc. It is considered as a good source of healthy foods and is highly nutritious (Schinner, 2012). Unlike the real cheese that is made using casein protein derived from animal milk, vegan cheese is made from coagulation of non-animal proteins. Unlike the ordinary cheese that uses rennet (enzymes derived from animal milk) to coagulate proteins, vegan cheese uses oils, thickeners and emulsifiers to coagulate various plant proteins. This document examines the exporters of cheese from the United States to Italy, distributors of Vegan Cheese, export process, import process and methods of transportation used by these two countries. 

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Market for Vegan Cheese in Italy

Italy produces rennet cheese in large quantities for the local and international market. However, the vegan cheese is currently gaining market as more and more vegan cheese are being produced locally, and others imported into the country. The U.S. is one of the major sources of vegan cheese for the Italy market (Bishop-Weston, 2017). Vegan cheese taste like the ordinary dairy cheese and they come in different varieties to offer consumers choices (Valsoia S.P.A., Nd.). Although the regular cheese made from animal products is typical in Italy, vegan Cheese is not very common in Italy. Some restaurants and supermarkets are retailing vegan cheese where consumers can easily purchase them conveniently. There are a few producers of vegan cheese in Italy such as Vegan Mattapoisett di Luciente, near Milano area where vegan cheese (non-Formaggio) are made in Italy (Italia Formaggi, Nd.). The main sources of vegan Cheese in Italy include online retailers and suppliers from other countries like the United Kingdom.

The demand for vegan cheese is higher than the supply. Producers are coming up with new varieties more often, but it is believed that consumers have greater tastes for varieties than what the market can offer. According to (Bishop-Weston, 2017) Zizzi, an Italian chain of restaurant introduced mozzarella (dairy-free rice milk cheese) in January this year expecting to sell 1kg of cheese per week per restaurant. However, the demand grew in a few weeks to 4Kgs per week per restaurant resulting in 150% revenue growth. Also, Sainsbury decided to launch various vegan cheese outlets and immediately the demand shot up by over 300% of their initial projection (Schinner, 2012). Therefore, Italy is one of the largest markets for Vegan Cheese as more people divert from dairy cheese.

Exporters of Vegan Cheese in U.S.

The United States is one of the largest producers of cheese. While they mainly import dairy products from Italy and other European countries to produce Cheese and other dairy products, there are some producers of Vegan Cheese in the US. In the US, Vegan Cheese is produced for local consumption and export to the international market (Valsoia S.P.A. Nd.). The products are well labelled and packaged for international market to meet the specific requirement of the export market. Most exporters of vegan cheese in the U.S. depend on online marketing to reach clients from other parts of the world. Some of the exporters of vegan cheese in U.S. includes; Kite Hill, B and K company, Whole Foods Market etc. The online suppliers can serve the Italian market effectively. However, the product’s labelling and packaging must be followed irrespective of the method used to get the products from other parts of the world to the client in Italy. 

Distributors of Vegan Cheese between US and Italy

The distribution of vegan food between U.S. and Italy follows the procedure for distribution of food and agricultural products. Although there are consumers of vegan cheese who make a direct purchase of the vegan cheese online from the U.S. suppliers, mainly the distribution is made through supermarkets and restaurants outlets (Schinner, 2012). The restaurants offering Italian foods located in the U.S. sell different food products with Italian names. The vegan cheese is given the Italian names to enable common Italian names to enable the Italian clients, and other lovers of Italian foods identify the products easily. Also, the Vegan Cheese are sold through restaurants and supermarkets in Italy. Currently most of the large restaurants and supermarket retail outlets are offering various types of Vegan cheese in the Italian market. 

Export Process

The export process for Vegan Cheese in the U.S. must comply with all requirements for exportation of food products outside the country. The exporter must obtain export certification from the U.S. government (Kite Hill, nd.). The certificate is presented to the customer in the importing country since certification is a mandatory requirement for the international business. The certification is for food products is made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Agency which maintains the list of authorized suppliers of specific products as well as the country of destination. 

It is also a requirement for the exporters of vegan cheese to label and package the product appropriately to avoid conflict with the customs officers. Where appropriate the cheese packaging should be airtight and self-stable (Bishop-Weston, 2017). Labelling is essential for customs clearance and indicates the place of origin in compliance with the international standards. Failure to comply with customs requirements can attract fines or result in confiscation of cheese by the customs officers. Furthermore, the description of the vegan cheese just like other products being exported should be in English or another internationally recognized language. 

Import Process

Italy is one of the European countries. The country operates in the Eurozone hence it has to comply with European import and export requirements. When importing a product from a country outside the European market, the importer must ensure the products are labelled appropriately and satisfy all other requirements such as the product’s country of origin (Schinner, 2012). The imports undergo custom clearance at the border. The customs agency inspects the products to ensure they meet all requirements including quality requirements. The importer must also produce relevant documentation for authentication the ownership of the products and other requirements of the country of origin.

Methods of Transportation

Transporting a vegan cheese from U.S. to Italy is done through aircraft. This method of transportation is preferred because it is fast and convenient for lightweight perishable products (Bishop-Weston, 2017). Mainly online buyers receive their orders within the shortest time possible. However, other methods of transport are used in addition to air transport to get the product from the main terminals or airport to the point of destination or area of residence. Although air transport is expensive, it is convenient for perishable products such as Vegan cheese because they are required urgently. 

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The increasing desire for healthy living, ethical concerns and medical issues associated with consumption of animal products has led to increasing in non-animal products in the market. Vegan cheese is non-dairy products that are experiencing unprecedented demand due to various perceived benefits. The U.S. is one of the leading producers of vegan cheese in the world. They produce for local international market. Due to increasing online marketing consumers from various parts of the world are importing vegan cheese from the U.S. and the orders are shipped by air to the consumers in Italy and other parts of the world. Restaurants and supermarkets are the main distributors of vegan cheese U.S. Other distributors include food processing companies which are responsible for moving cheese from U.S. to Italy. However, all products being transported from the U.S. to Italy must comply with requirements of the common European market. Products are shipped by air from U.S. to Italy to ensure customers receive the product in good condition and within the shortest time possible. 

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  1. Italia Formaggi (Nd.). Vegetarian Italian hard cheese Retrieved from; http://www.italiaformaggi.com/pages/products/vegetarian-italian-hard-cheese.aspx#.Wd7Be2j-nIV
  2. Bishop-Weston, T. (June 12, 2017). As Dairy Free Vegan Cheeses Take Over The World – Is this the final nail in the coffin of the global dairy industry’s Profits? Vegfest UK. Retrieved from; http://vegfestexpress.co.uk/tabs/blog/2017/6/as-dairy-free-vegan-cheeses-take-over-the-world—is-this-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-the-global-dairy-industrys-profits
  3. Kite Hill, (nd.). Dairy-free for all. Retrieved from; http://www.kite-hill.com
  4. Schinner, M. (2012). Artisan vegan cheese; from everyday to gourmet. USA: Book Publishing Co.
  5. Valsoia S.P.A. (Nd.). Plant-based diet the Italian way. Retrieved from; https://www.european-food.com/valsoia-spa/portrait/
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