Nut cheese

Adam Hamilton and Joshua Velasquez are ready to take their cashew-cheese company, Nuttin Ordinary, onto the national stage.

PETERBOROUGH — Nuttin Ordinary’s line of cashew-based cheese products is on the verge of breaking out onto the national market.

The company, started four years ago by partners Josh Velasquez and Adam Hamilton, recently expanded operations when it moved into an 8,000-square-foot space on Vose Farm Road.

“We kind of dove in, and here we are,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez and Hamilton were working on starting a vegetarian and or vegan restaurant, and came across a cashew-based cheese as they were exploring different recipes. Their business idea suddenly morphed into becoming a manufacturer. Hamilton said they realized they could reach more people with their plant-based food through retail than through a restaurant.

The pair started in a small space, about 750 square feet, where they worked on their cheese recipe and developed their business model. Now, they have a distribution agreement in place that will get their product into stores nationwide, but they need the space to be able to create enough product.

The Vose Farm Road property includes space to make the cheese, packaging space and cold storage as well as office space.

Hamilton said the company is privately financing the expansion, and said the company is in the middle of a seed investment round. Velazquez hopes that the company can create good jobs as it navigates its startup phase.

“We’re looking at creating quality jobs here,” Velazquez said. “We want to create 10 good jobs instead of 20 minimum wage jobs.”

The cheese spreads are made from cashews sourced from Asia, to get the right amount of sweetness. Nut cheese is made in a similar way to dairy cheese, with the nuts first getting washed, then fermented in a special tank. The end product is a creamy spread.

Velasquez said that plant-based cheese does not have the whey byproduct that dairy cheese produces, cutting down on the waste in the manufacturing process.

Nuttin Ordinary’s line of spreads are already getting into Whole Foods and co-op grocery stores, and will soon start showing up in more conventional retailers, thanks to the distribution agreement with Unfi, the natural foods distributor, Hamilton said.

The global market for vegan cheese is expected to reach nearly $4 billion by 2024 from $2.1 billion in 2016, according to a report by Variant Market Research. Vegan cheese is made from various sources, including coconut, soy and peanut milk. Widespread applications, including dips and sauces, and fast food snacks are expected to help the market grow in the years ahead, the report said.

Friday, January 17, 2020