WHICH COTTAGE CHEESES ARE CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE?
CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE™ - COTTAGE CHEESES
Cottage Cheese is generally viewed as a healthy choice and it certainly can be when we’re eating something which is Closest To Homemade™ >> as close as possible we can get to homemade with a store-bought brand.
Private label store brands are the most popular ones in this dairy category with three key leading branded players >> Daisy, Breakstone’s and Knudsen’s. (Source: Statista 2019)
Homemade cottage cheese is simply made with just a few ingredients >> dairy/some combination of dairy like milk + cream, salt and culture which curdles the dairy. That’s it!
KRAFTHEINZ’S BREAKSTONE’S AND KNUDSEN BRANDS ARE AMONG THE LEADING BRANDED COTTAGE CHEESES IN THE U.S. (Source: Statista 2019) Both Breakstone’s and Knudsen Cottage Cheese 4% contain ingredients which are Not In Kitchen™ >> ingredients we would never use if we were making homemade cottage cheese from scratch.
Breakstone’s and Knudsen are both owned by KraftHeinz; they are basically east-west counterparts of one another. Dairy is very costly and difficult to transport so it is not uncommon for large(r) companies to have different geographic bases of operation >> long ago Kraft Foods purchased West coast-based Knudsen to complement its East coast-based Breakstone’s business which it had acquired prior.
KraftHeinz’s Breakstone’s Cottage Cheese 4% contains Modified Food Starch, Calcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor and Vitamin D3. (Source: Breakstone’s Web site 4/24/19)
KraftHeinz’s Knudsen Cottage Cheese 4% contains Modified Food Starch, Acetic Acid, Guar Gum and Vitamin D3. (Source: Knudsen has no ingredient information on their Web site so this is from Whole Foods Web site 4/25/19)
Among these three shown above, Hood Cottage Cheese contains the most Not In Kitchen™ ingredients at seven with added Whey Protein Concentrate, Locust Bean Gum, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sorbic Acid and Carbon Dioxide. (Source for ingredients: Hood Web site 4/24/19)
BREAKSTONE’S DOUBLES ARE BANNED AT WHOLE FOODS MARKET because they contain Potassium Sorbate, a chemical preservative which Whole Foods cites as “unacceptable in food.” (Source for banned ingredients: Whole Foods Web site 4/19).
Let’s look more closely at Breakstone’s + Knudsen’s Cottage Doubles Mango Habanero flavor; as noted, KraftHeinz owns Breakstone’s and Knudsen so they have the exact same product offering here.
These KraftHeinz products have 12 ingredients Not In Kitchen™ including the chemical preservative Potassium Sorbate.
There is no Habanero pepper in the ingredients even though we see a fresh one on both of the packages. How is this package graphic legal when KraftHeinz pictures an ingredient which is not inside the product?
HOOD BRAND IS OWNED BY CATAMOUNT DAIRY HOLDINGS. Many Hood products are Far From Homemade™. Let’s look at the Hood Cottage Cheese with Cucumber & Dill. There are 12 ingredients in this product which are Not In Kitchen™ including added sugar + maltodextrin (a type of saccharide/sugar), three stabilizing/thickening agents, artificial + natural flavors and chemical preservatives including Carbon Dioxide. (Source for Hood Ingredients: Hood Web site 4/24/19)
Q: Do you expect to find sugar as an ingredient in any brand of Cottage Cheese with Cucumber & Dill?
Q: Why do you think Hood adds sugar to the Hood Cottage Cheese with Cucumber & Dill?
This Hood Cottage Cheese with Cucumber & Dill is banned at Whole Foods Market because it contains Artificial Flavor which Whole Foods cites as “unacceptable in food.” (Source for banned ingredients: Whole Foods Web site 4/19)
MISLEADING PACKAGE GRAPHICS: Catamount Dairy Holding’s Hood Cottage Cheese with Cucumber & Dill contains Dehydrated Cucumber >> have you ever even seen dehydrated cucumber? On the package front, fresh cucumber slices are shown (like we would do at home when making homemade) but Hood uses Dehydrated Cucumbers >> this is misleading packaging and it’s a wonder how it’s legal.
Many of Catamount Dairy Holding’s Hood products are banned at Whole Foods Market for various Far From Homemade™ commercial ingredients they contain like High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Sweeteners like Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (a.k.a. Ace-K), Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate. (Source: Hood Web site 4/24/19) According to the Hood Web site, they have approximately 2 billion dollars in annual sales.
On the Hood Web site: “For more than 170 years, the name Hood® has been synonymous with fresh, quality dairy products that taste great.”
ORGANIC COTTAGE CHEESES: Often the perception of organic brands is that their ingredients will be held to a higher standard and they are more likely to be Closest To Homemade™. Not in the case of these three organic cottage cheeses >> Horizon Organic, Organic Valley and Clover Sonoma Organic. (Source for ingredients: Horizon Web site 4/24/19, Organic Valley Web site 4/24/19 and Clover Sonoma Web site 4/25/19).
These organic cottage cheeses all contain organic stabilizers/thickening agents and chemical preservatives so they are not featured on the Closest To Homemade™ chart. As you will see, the Closest To Homemade™ cottage cheese brands have none of the ingredients we see here in these organic brands.
FAT FREE COTTAGE CHEESES: In order to compensate for missing ingredients from the base original recipe, fat free cottage cheeses (and ALL fat free products) tend to have multiple ingredients Not In Kitchen™ >> usually more than their base counterpart. Even the fat free organic offering from Whole Foods’ 365 brand has 6 ingredients NIK™.
PLEASE ALWAYS CHECK FAT FREE INGREDIENT LABELS AND CONSIDER: Although we all applaud any of us making an effort to make better choices, please look closely at fat free products’ ingredients and see that this is food science and may not be a better choice. We are paying for a lot of things which aren’t naturally in (this case cottage cheese) products and may be harmful to our bodies >> maybe not just from this one product but it is the daily ongoing accumulation of these things.
Artificial Color in plain cottage cheese? We are eating white color.
FRIENDSHIP DAIRIES FAT FREE COTTAGE CHEESE WITH PINEAPPLE (below) HAS THREE INGREDIENTS BANNED AT WHOLE FOODS MARKET INCLUDING ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR AND ARTIFICIAL COLOR. This Friendship fat free cottage cheese with pineapple has 24 ingredients which is an indication in and of itself that it is Far From Homemade™.
Although there are some naturally-occurring sugars in this Friendship fat free cottage cheese, there is also Added Sugar + Added Brown Sugar >> one 16oz. container (4 servings) contains 60 grams of sugar.
LOW FAT + REDUCED SODIUM COTTAGE CHEESES: Looking at KraftHeinz’s Breakstone’s 2% Cottage Cheese with 30% less sodium as an example, we see that, in order to be profitable while meeting consumers’ taste expectations and requirements for re-purchase, commercial + chemical ingredients must be added to deliver a “viable” product. Food Science + Profit Margins.
This KraftHeinz Breakstone’s Cottage Cheese has 11 ingredients which are Not In Kitchen™.
PINEAPPLE COTTAGE CHEESE COMPARISON: Muuna vs. Good Culture single serve, each with pineapple on bottom of cup. (Source for ingredients: Good Culture Web site 4/25/19, Muuna has no ingredients on their Web site so Muuna ingredients came from a package on the Wal-Mart Web site 4/25/19)
The Muuna product has nine ingredients Not In Kitchen™ while the Good Culture has three.
There is Fructose in the Muuna product: The Muuna Cottage Cheese with Pineapple contains nine ingredients Not In Kitchen™ including the sweetener Fructose >> the nomenclature of just ‘Fructose’ as an ingredient is a relatively new expression of the same product which in another iteration is High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS. In other words, Fructose has emerged as a less volatile designation of this corn-based sweetener in response to consumers’ growing concern over the health issues associated with elevating High Fructose Corn Syrup consumption. Regardless of whether it is High Fructose Corn Syrup or Fructose, our bodies process the fructose in the same way.
Muuna Cottage Cheese with Pineapple is banned at Whole Foods Market because it contains that previously noted chemical preservative, Potassium Sorbate.
Muuna Cottage Cheese with Pineapple also contains Not In Kitchen™ ingredients like added Natural Flavors, Pectin, Carob Bean Gum, Milk Mineral Concentrate, Milk Protein Concentrate, and Vitamin A Palmitate which is likely functioning as a preservative.
Good Culture USDA certified Organic Cottage Cheese with Pineapple contains three ingredients Not In Kitchen™ >> Organic Pineapple Flavor, Pectin and Organic Turmeric.
Turmeric is used to add yellow color to the product to enhance the “pineapple” experience and more closely match consumers’ expectations of what color a pineapple cottage cheese should be when mixed together.
Although we don’t add color to homemade cottage cheese with fruit, the good news is that turmeric is a beneficial root with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (so even though it is noted as Not In Kitchen™, it’s actually a good thing it’s in there).
Closest To Homemade™ Fruit added Cottage Cheese: Since the idea here is to find brands which are Closest to Homemade™, Good Culture Cottage Cheese with Fruit gets the designation for being the closest of the fruit added cottage cheeses.
CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE™ COTTAGE CHEESES: Daisy 4% Milkfat, Good Culture 2% and 4% which are USDA certified Organic and Good Culture 6% Double Cream Classic, and USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified Nancy’s Probiotic 4% and 2% Lowfat from the Springfield Creamery >> Nancy’s contains four strains of lactic cultures.
These Closest To Homemade™ cottage cheeses have no added sweeteners, no stabilizers or thickening agents, no added flavors, no fortification and no chemical preservatives. It is possible!
And we leave you with a couple of old print ads for Cottage Cheese: