NZ’s LILO aiming high to tackle food waste with plant-based cheesecake range

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

New Zealand’s LILO tackles food waste issue with plant-based cheesecake range, eyes APAC distribution ©LILO
New Zealand’s LILO tackles food waste issue with plant-based cheesecake range, eyes APAC distribution ©LILO

Related tags: New zealand, cheesecake, plant based, dairy free, Food waste

New Zealand start-up LILO Desserts is gearing up to launch its plant-based cheesecake range in the country this September, and is also eyeing Hong Kong and Singapore as its first export markets.

LILO’s plant-based cheesecake is made with a gluten free biscuit base, dairy-free coconut and cashew cream cheese layer and fruit topping (cherry, kiwi, blackcurrant).

Compared to traditional cheesecake, LILO says its non-dairy cheesecake is lower in sugar, and contains more antioxidants contributed by the fruit content. 

LILO recently won the start-up category at Foodstarter competition, which includes the opportunity to stock its products in New World supermarkets in New Zealand.

Supermarkets will be its primary channel, although the firm is exploring food service such as cafes.

Better for you

LILO was started by Cleo Gilmour and three other co-founders who wanted to create guilt-free desserts to meet changing consumer needs.

We see people wanting to eat healthier, but also feeling time pressured with their busy lifestyles. This has no doubt build up demand for healthy ready-to-eat products​,”Gilmour told FoodNavigator-Asia​. She added that COVID-19 had also accelerated the importance of healthy eating.

Gilmour, who is also general manager of sales and marketing, said fruits like cherries are high in melatonin which aids sleep, while blackcurrants are rich in antioxidants to improve eye health.

The co-founders had wanted to introduce and promote New Zealand-grown fruits to more consumers, by incorporating these in a convenient product.

Better for the planet

LILO is also tackling the global food waste issue by upcycling imperfect, ugly and unwanted fruits in its cheesecake products.

We want to raise awareness around the world about this global problem. There's no reason why a piece of fruit that doesn’t look perfect, isn’t as nutritious or delicious as another piece of fruit​.

We’re using fruits that will otherwise be thrown away as a topping in our cheesecakes. What’s more important are the nutrient,s and not how it looks​.”

The company is working with fruit orchards in New Zealand to source the fruits, and hopes to work with more fruit growers as LILO’s product portfolio expands.

The cheesecake range is manufactured in New Zealand: “We’re trying to address the rise of plant-based food, how we feed people sustainably, the global food waste problem, and demand for healthier and convenience foods, all in our cheesecake​,” Gilmour added.

Export plans

LILO is also eyeing the APAC region where the ready-to-eat snacks and foods on-the-go scene is vibrant, whereas this trend is only catching up in New Zealand.

The company wants to work with distributors and hopefully enter Hong Kong and Singapore early next year.

Cheesecake is LILO’s starting point, and the company hopes to create more healthy ready-to-eat snacks in the future.

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