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Daiya Sells Out; The Day Vegans Became Unhinged

I have to admit, reading  news about Daiya being purchased by a pharmaceutical company (Otsuka) nearly had me foaming at the mouth. I was outraged. I felt like they had let me down and the whole vegan movement, they sold the f*ck out and I was so f*cking pissed off.

I watched the announcement online, as most folks did. You can watch the video below to see what the founders had to say.

Again, I was angry after watching that. I felt like they were being greedy d*ckheads who only cared about one thing, money. With all the other companies selling to larger corporations, it honestly didn’t come as a huge surprise.

Beyond Meat received investment capital from Tyson Foods.

Gardein was acquired by Pinnacle Foods.

Vega, So Delicious and Silk are owned by Danone.

Maple Leaf Foods recently bought Lightlife.

Unilever owns Ben & Jerrys and Breyers who have finally offered vegan ice creams.

I could go on for a bit, but I wanted to make a couple of points instead that could make all of this more positive than it is negative. The fact of the matter is; sometimes money talks. If a brand like Daiya is looking to expand but doesn’t have the money to do so, having an offer on the table to be able to grow and hit new markets is a must— especially if the right deal is struck and you get to maintain the ability to oversee how the company is run and have a say in its future. That’s pretty much what happened here.

We’ve all loved Daiya for years. They were the talk of the town at some recent expos and their new products are going to blow people away. Besides cheese they also have cheesecake, yogurt, salad dressings, cream cheese and mac & cheese. They’ve tweaked a bunch of the recipes over the past year and will be releasing them soon.

Back to the video and announcement. I was angry that I wouldn’t be able to try these products because Daiya had aligned with a company that is known to test its products on animals. Yes, Otsuka are big, huge, GIANT pieces of sh*t, there is no way of getting around it. It was hard to sit with this and try to rationalize why the acquisition could be a good thing. I came up with this reason and maybe a couple more.

It is quite possible that they (Otsuka) are legitimately trying to get out of the whole animal testing thing and are going more toward a plant-based business model; that seems to be what the Daiya guys think and I believe them to be stand up guys. They didn’t do this for the past (almost) 10 years to just throw up their hands and say f*ck it. These are passionate guys and you can tell in the video. You can also tell in their responses to all the posts on social media. While those same comments are canned, they are consistent in what they believe.

We got to look at this a different way and think that it might just help the movement. Daiya will be distributed all over the place now, imagine all those people who are going to get turned onto it and drop dairy. I know more than a few people who still have yet to make the final jump to full vegan and that’s because of cheese. Ya I know… But still, this move could be huge for them, especially if the new formula is as good as they say it is.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t jump off the proverbial bridge every time something like this happens. We can’t just yell “BOYCOTT” or hop over to change.org and get a petition going; that seems childish. It’s not always as black and white as it seems and may very well be a blessing in disguise. I will admit, for a few days I switched my cheese brand from Daiya to Go Veggie (it’s all my local market had).

I plan to go back to Daiya though because I like the product.

I plan to go back to Daiya because Otsuka needs to see that vegan foods are a growing market and they should get out of the animal abuse game. As I said before, money talks. If they see the growth they will invest more. If we take our toys and run away like children then Daiya fails and Otuska (and other investors) see the movement as a fad and move on.

I plan to go back to Daiya because I believe in what they think they are doing. I don’t own the business and I can’t tell them how to run theirs. If they believe this will help others than I am all for it.

Do what you want to do, I can’t tell you what to believe or think. I can tell you what I think and that’s now been said.

I’m interested in your civil comments, please let me know what your thought are now that there’s been a few days for this all to sink in.