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The Vegan Experience: Brands that Will Make You Rethink What Vegans Eat

by Editorial Team

The growing popularity of a plant-based diet means more companies providing vegan-alternatives. Economists expect the global vegan market, valued at $14.2 Billion in 2018, to more than double by 2026. With the current pandemic, these estimates might even increase as more people learn about the link between pandemics and industrial animal farming.

If you want to switch some of your animal-based ingredients for cruelty-free versions, check out these food brands. Some of them have been around since the 1970s, while others are new to the plant-based market. What they have in common: cruelty-free and delicious products that will allow you to make classics such as a ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt bowls, or burgers, without animal products.

We provide some company information, whether they’re privately owned, part of a larger conglomerate, or completely vegan brands. Of course, we also included our favorite products. Supporting brands that align with your beliefs doesn’t just mean buying the products, but possibly investing in them.

A note, keep in mind that plant-based doesn’t always mean a healthy choice. Cane sugar is vegan, but that doesn’t mean you should load up on it. But these brands certainly offer better alternatives for your health and the environment compared to animal-based products.

This is not a sponsored post.

Privately Owned

Violife

Specializing in vegan cheeses from cream spreads, slices, to shredded, Violife has been creating plant-based products since the 90s. Based in Thessalonica, Greece, the company proudly makes Non-GMO and preservative-free foods.

In 2021, Canada will be the first country outside of Greece to produce Violife products.

Our favorites: feta, cheddar cream cheese, and shredded mozzarella.

Follow Your Heart

Founded in 1970 in San Fernando Valley, CA, Follow Your Heart makes the famous veganaise. Their story is truly remarkable, from their humble beginnings as a “seven-seat soup, salad, and sandwich counter in the back of a small natural food store” to a pioneer in vegan alternatives. They invested in solar power in 2003 and their green-energy powered manufacturing facilities continue to uphold their sustainable commitment. Let’s just say, they did vegan long before the world thought it was cool.

Our favorites: Ranch dressing and Veganaise, which comes in many varieties from original, soy-free, grapeseed oil, and flavored ones such as Siracha.

Forager

Founded in 2013 and based in Indio, California, Forager prides itself in sourcing organic and sustainably grown ingredients. Forager commits to a number of green and fair trade initiatives, such as OSC2 Packaging Packaging Collaborative, for sustainable packaging.

Our favorite: Yogurt (any flavor).

Califia

Started by serial entrepreneur and environmentalist Greg Steltenpohl, Califia, named after a warrior and the namesake of the state of California, produces dairy alternatives.

Our favorite: Oat milk barista blend

Oatly

A Swedish company founded in 1994, Oatly developed an enzyme technology that turns fiber-rich oats to liquid designed for humans at Lund University. The company boasts celebrity investors such as Oprah, Jay-Z, and Natalie Portman. The company reportedly hopes to go public in 2021, but for now, it maintains its status as a privately-held company.

Our favorite: regular milk

Public Companies

Beyond Meat

With Bill Gates and Leonardo Di Caprio as initial investors, Beyond Meat sets the gold standard for the new wave of vegan-exclusive publicly traded companies. The brand also gets much publicity, since it partners with large food chains to provide vegan meat in place of beef, pork, and chicken.

Set for global expansion, Beyond Meat currently has two manufacturing plants in China and has launched Beyond Pork in the country on November 2020. Pork is the most popular meat in China.

Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat is based in Los Angeles, CA.

Our favorites: hot Italian sausages and burger patties.

Trading: NASDAQ: BYND 

Yves

If you want a classic vegan ham sandwich, Yves makes some of the best vegan deli slices. Yves operates as part of multinational, The Hain-Celestial Group, which positions itself as an “organic and natural products company”. The company owns a number of non-vegan brands.

Our favorite: ham and turkey deli slices.

Trading: NASDAQ: HAIN

Earth Balance

Earth Balance, based in Chicago and a part of ConAgra Brands, provides a heart-healthy alternative to animal-based butter. However, some take issue with the fact that they use palm oil, which may not be the most environmentally-friendly option. Other vegan butter brands use coconut oil instead of palm.

Our favorite: Vegan butter sticks.

ConAgra manufactures non-vegan product.

Trading: NYSE: CAG

So Delicious

A part of Danone North America, which operates under Danone, a multinational company based in France, So Delicious dominates when it comes to vegan ice cream. In an effort to cater to the environmentally conscious vegan consumers, So Delicious has joined the B corp movement. This means the company “must meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability, and must aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”

Our favorites: vanilla and salted caramel ice cream (cashew milk based)

Trading: Danone SA (EPA:BN)

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