Plant-Based Cheese or Pepperoni

About Schwan’s:

Schwan’s is a national, multibillion-dollar company that manufactures and markets many popular brands including Red Baron®, Tony’s®, and Freschetta® pizzas, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts, and Pagoda® Asian-style snacks.

Open Innovation Challenge:

Schwan’s is seeking plant-based cheese and/or pepperoni that performs and functions close to current frozen pizzas.

Reason for Seeking External Innovation Partnership:

Plant based products are on trend, but commercially available non-dairy cheese and non-meat pepperoni do not perform as well as traditional ingredients.

Scope of Solution Space:

  • Acceptable solutions must have pronounceable, pantry friendly ingredient lines.
  • Solution must have similar performance to pepperoni or cheese when processed and heated on a pizza.
    • Pepperoni: color, appearance, mouthfeel, texture, taste
    • Cheese: color, melt, stretch, taste, mouthfeel, texture
  • Preferred solution would have comparable nutrition to traditional products and enable protein claim on front of package.

Innovation Solutions Not of Interest:

  • Gluten as a primary protein source or texturizer
  • Nut-based solutions