Written By Joanne Englash
Maybe it's the middle of the morning of the office, halfway through the afternoon at home, or an hour or two after dinner. At some point into every vegan's life, a longing for a snack inevitably occurs. While vegetables are virtuous and fruits are fabulous, the hottest trend in the vegan world is all about jazzing up options for snacks. The latest news involves (wait for it) cheese.
Smile: Say (Vegan) Cheese
Those new to a vegan lifestyle or just contemplating the possibility of going dairy-free often feel wistful about cheese. But cheese lovers can rejoice with the meltingly good options that exist and the ones that are on the way.
Veganism is credited as one of the key reasons that the plant-based cheese industry is posed to hit $3.5 billion by 2023. Revealed in a new report from Market Research Future, the rapidly expanding non-dairy cheese market is dominated by companies including Daiya Foods Inc, Violife Foods, Follow Your Heart, Bute Island Foods and Tofutti among others.
What qualifies as a non-dairy cheese? The products must be made from plant-based milk, such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and rice milk.
Dairy-Free and Delicious
A dairy flavoring company has started a new journey that vegans can celebrate. Their mission: To make the perfect vegan cheese. Edlong Dairy Technologies has taken on the challenge of combining buttery flavors with vegan ingredients in order to provide vegan food companies with a way to create vegan cheese that tastes like the animal-protein-packed product.
Known as a dairy flavoring company, Edlong Dairy Technologies has a goal of capturing the full flavor of dairy-rich cheese without adding animal products. Their newsworthy concept: Help those seeking allergen-free, cruelty-free, and vegan foods without forcing them to sacrifice their desire for flavorful cheese.
"We started by adding in a [vegan] butter flavor to build some buttery richness and to mask some of the starch and mask the vegetable fat," explained Edlong Europe’s applications manager Anne-Marie Butler. "We added in cheddar-type flavors in there to build savoriness and background cheesy notes."
Thus far, the company has created vegan parmesan, and vegan cheddar is on the way. Edlong hopes to apply these flavors in the production of vegan foods, especially dairy-free, cheese flavored snacks.
Vegan Pizza Power
Newly pledged vegans often miss one food in particular, and that's cheese-covered pizza. While a variety of recipes exist for make-it-yourself vegan pizza, one pizza chain on the East Coast just made headlines by stepping up to the challenge to offer vegan pizza at its eight locations.
Coal Fire pizza shop just earned vegan virtue cheers, with not one, not two, but EIGHT locations now ready to feed vegans. For those who wish they had a place near them that served up vegan pizza, this particular pizza chain's decision to cater to vegans is reportedly the result of a push from animal-rights organization Vegan Outreach.
If you're in (or visiting) Maryland or Virginia, you can stick to your vegan diet at one of Coal Fire's east coast locations. The vegan cheese option on the menu features non-dairy cheese from Daiya Foods.
Taylor Radig, Campaigns Manager for animal-rights organization Vegan Outreach, is credited with working with the company to achieve the goal.
"Coal Fire makes it a priority to have different options for all types of food lovers," said Coal Fire’s Marketing Director Lindsay King. “We pride ourselves on now offering Daiya cheese and hope that our vegan clients are pleased with the new option on our menu.”
The vegan pizzas are available on gluten-free crusts, because the regular crust isn't plant-based. In addition to the Daiya pizza blend cheese, the vegan pizzas feature a wide selection of vegetables.
“A big company like Coal Fire adding a vegan option makes it more accessible to the public,” pointed out Radig.
Over on the West Coast, a Canadian import, Virtuous Pie, just celebrated the opening of its first pizza shop in the United States. The all-vegan, two-story pizza café is based in Portland, OR.