How does a cheesecake-like snack bar coated in dark chocolate sound? Well, it already exists and is a popular treat in the Baltics. Now, Lithuanian company Pakma wants to broaden the appeal of its glazed curd cheese bars and bring them more widely into Europe and the UK.
These already exist in the US too under the brand Clio, which markets its versions as ‘genius bars.’Made with Greek yoghurt and covered in dark chocolate, the products are described as power snacks that are high in protein, gluten-free and packed full of probiotics. Six flavours are available: strawberry, vanilla, honey, hazelnut, blueberry and espresso.
Could this be the indulgent-meets-nutritional munch we’ve been waiting for?
A cheesy choice
Pakma can produce 12,000 snack bars per hour in its manufacturing facility and has a range of flavours and textures.
Different countries have distinct recipes. Monika Labutiene, sales manager at Pakma, told Food Spark’s sister site Dairy Reporter that the bars can be made with cheese and ingredients like nuts, cookies, biscuits and muesli; some are topped with sprinkles while others are coated with colourful glazes.
Popular in Lithuania is the vanilla-flavoured curd bar enveloped in chocolate, while other options made by Pakma include cacao and caramelised hazelnut, chocolate-coated curd with condensed milk, coconut-flavoured curd and a bitethat incorporates poppy seeds.
Over in the UK, the Pakma bars are sold online on a few speciality sites aimed at those looking for food from regions like Russia.
But Pakma has competition. UK-based Markomilk sells its cheesecake bars on health food sites and at Jubilee Markets in Covent Garden. Made with curd and other raw ingredients, they are also lactose-free, gluten-free, high in protein, calcium and potassium, and suitable for vegetarians, according to the company. Flavours range from strawberry and creme brulee through to coconut, chocolate and cherry, and poppy seed.
So can Sparkie have his (cheese)cake bar and eat it too?
As I’ve suggested before, the market is really good for authentic traditional foods right now. Products that I would consider friendly, like this, are concepts and ingredients which are familiar to consumers. They are particularly easy to introduce right now with little risk of rejection.
The market is split on the health food front, but there are enough consumers to go around, allowing both ends to flourish. There has even been some upturn in the indulgence market as a rejection of the influence from healthy eating, so it should be no problem.
This always comes with the caveat though that the product must be good. Food quality is at an all-time high and prices remain reasonably low. A new authentic product will get initial sales from curiosity, but it will gain repeat custom through being genuinely high quality.