Daiya – A Love Story (With Pizza)

Vegan cheese, for years it has always been an absolute bummer.  Until recently the best one could find was Follow Your Heart and Teese, neither of which was pitch perfect on taste or melting.  Then along came Daiya, a vegan cheese that was as close to perfect as possible in both taste and melt.  It just asked to be put onto your pizzas, your cheese coneys, your lasagna, your mac & cheese etc.

I recently got in touch with Daiya to get the run down on their past, present, and future; check it out after the break!

Vegan cheese, for years it has always been an absolute bummer.  Until recently the best one could find was Follow Your Heart and Teese, neither of which was pitch perfect on taste or melting.  Then along came Daiya, a vegan cheese that was as close to perfect as possible in both taste and melt.  It just asked to be put onto your pizzas, your cheese coneys, your lasagna, your mac & cheese etc.

I recently got in touch with Daiya to get the run down on their past, present, and future; check it out after the break!

Can you tell me a little about the formation of Daiya, what was the catalyst for creating Daiya?

The story began with a love of pizza and a family kitchen. Inventor and vegan Andre Kroecher wanted to create a topping that would satisfy his craving for pizza with a gooey melt and great flavor. In 2005, he began experimenting with ingredients. After a few accidents and the odd disaster, Andre began serving his creation to both vegan and non-vegan friends alike. The feedback was so positive that by mid-2007, with the help of friend and co-founder Greg Blake, Daiya was born and the real work started.
Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California is the largest natural products show in the world, a spring board to success for a company with the right product. Unaware at the time of the stir they were going cause, Andre and Greg purchased a 6000-watt commercial pizza oven, 900 Rocky Mountain 12″ pizza crusts, 120 litres of Rebellious Tomato Sauce, and shipped it all down to Anaheim.

Within hours, Daiya was a hit and they couldn’t keep up with the demand! By the end of the Expo, Daiya had prepared and served over 8000 slices of pizza, and were presented with the 2009 VegNews Magazine Best of Show Award  (a high tribute for a product that was yet to hit the market).  People were astonished by the similarities in taste and texture. Consumers phoned, blogged, texted, and tweeted friends raving about Daiya, a revolution in the vegan and allergen market. It is through the support of our fans that we have been able to achieve the success with our retail retail packages were made available last April in the United States and this October in Canada.

What sets Daiya apart from other vegan cheese?

Daiya uniquely melts, stretches, and tastes just like real cheese. It is free of many common allergens including soy, dairy (casein and lactose), gluten, eggs, rice, peanuts and tree nuts (expect coconut oil). It is also free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics.

We have completed building our own facility that is specifically dedicated to producing Daiya products, making them free of all these allergens and eliminating the potential of cross contamination. Our production facility and products have also received the Orthodox Union Kosher Certification (OU).

I saw on your Facebook page recently that Daiya is being offered by schools, how could interested students get their cafeteria to offer Daiya?

It’s great to see people of all ages becoming more health-conscious and proactive about the food they consume. Kids and adults with food allergies, intolerances, and dietary restrictions should have access to the same delicious meals as everyone else, which is why we are so happy that Daiya has been able to make this happen for people without these options prior to our products.

We are always looking to make Daiya more accessible to our consumers through retail outlets, restaurants, and in schools. Students can ask their schools to carry our products and direct them to our website for further information in regards to nutrition content, ingredient lists, and our product line. To place an order, our website also has contact information on our distributors. They can also email cr@daiyafoods.com if they have further questions regarding our products.

Are there any plans to expand Daiya in the future?  Any new flavors?

Our Research and Development department are always working on new product ideas to add to the Daiya line that meet our high quality standards.  We will make announcements on our on facebook page and on twitter when we introduce new future products.

Could you provide some of the Daiya office’s favorite recipes using Daiya?

Our fans are the most amazing chefs and inspire us to try different recipes in our test kitchen. We have posted many of their recipes on our website, Cooking With Daiya. Some of our favorites include mac and cheese, lasagna, and pesto pizza (though any flavor of pizza is our favorite!). One of our favorite things to do (which is another inspiration from our fans) is to mix Cheddar and Mozzarella Style Shreds together, creating a perfect blend of flavors. We especially love this combination in quesadillas topped with guacamole.

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