If you pay attention to food companies or the latest startups, you’re aware that plant-based eating is disrupting both of the food industry. And, if you don’t, here’s some evidence: the egg industry has reportedly lost $74 million due to cruelty-free alternatives, while the meat industry is finding ways to invest in and create meat alternatives. The expansion of Beyond Meat (with a recently launched Beyond Sausage) and Daiya’s new string cheese product has increased these already recognizable brands, but for every one of these well-known companies, there are plenty more vegan startups that are about to change the way we eat. To help increase your awareness of all that is happening in veganism, here are five companies that you might not have heard of, but will know very soon.
1. Seva Foods
Seva Foods was founded in August 2017 in San Diego, CA with the intention of promoting love and compassion through nourishment and the belief that food can be a potent form of activism. Taking its name for the Sanskrit word meaning “compassionate service,” the company puts a plant-based spin of American classics such as its organic freeze-dried ice cream and coconut jerky, which is seasoned with coconut aminos and tears like traditional jerky. The vanilla ice cream is a hit due to its light and fluffy texture and the fact that it is 100-percent organic without artificial sugar or flavors, but we love the fact that the freeze-drying process means we can keep these in our cupboards longer than traditional snacks.
2. Maya’s Cookies
Maya Madsen was frustrated at the lack of vegan cookie options available, so she decided to start her own business. The result is Maya’s Cookies, a Southern California-based company that got its start after winning first place at a county fair cook-off. Highlights include a marble-fudge chocolate chip cookie pure cacao butter folded throughout, a snickerdoodle, a gingerbread cookie, a birthday-cake cookie, dark-chocolate peppermint, and an Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Maya’s Cookies are available at several cafés and restaurants in Southern California as well as three farmers’ markets in San Diego, but the business’ online store is expected to open April 1.
3. Kelly’s Croutons
When people think of Orange County, CA, the last thing they imagine is croutons. However, Kelly’s Croutons is changing that thanks to salad toppers made with sourdough bread, organic vegan butter, fresh garlic, vegan parmesan, olive oil, and spices. The Gourmet Cheezy Garlic Croutons taste just as good atop a salad as they do straight from the bag, while the Lemon Pepper Parm will be a happy addition to every salad you make.
4. No Evil Foods
Hailing from North Carolina, No Evil Foods was created in 2014 by Sadrah Schadel and Mike Woliansky to create plant-based protein that was better than animal-based meats. And, judging by the company’s saucy barbecued pulled pork “Pit Boss” and the Italian Sausage “the Stallion,” they have. The former is made by smoking plant-based meat over real hickory wood, before being pulled and sauced with an house-made sweet and tangy sorghum molasses barbecue sauce, while the latter is packed with smoked paprika, organic garlic powder, organic chili flakes, organic cayenne, and organic black pepper. No Evil Foods is now found in more than 30 states, with a heavy concentration in the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Rocky Mountain regions, New England, and select areas of Southern California.
5. Vegan Rob’s
Vegan Rob’s was founded in New York in 2015 by entrepreneur Robert Erlich as a way to focus on nutrition and compassion. We think you’ll love the brand’s Brussel Sprout Puffs, Wild Rice Chips, and Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn, but you’ll want to buy two bags of everything once you know that the company donates to a slew of charities, including The Gentle Barn, American Heart Association, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Feed the Children, and American Cancer Society.
Ana Levley is the founder of vegan digital marketing agency Aveccio and Uncorked Canine, a vegan wine, cheese, and dog-friendly blog, and the creator of Vegan Business Exchange, a vegan business support group.