Long-term experience leads to new innovation and new investments for Daiya Foods

Daiya Vice-President of R&D Roy Tam. Photo provided by Daiya Foods.

The plant-based sector has seen a surge across Canada over the past few years, but it isn’t a new entry to the country’s agrifood industry. A number of plant-based companies have called Canada home for more than a decade—including Vancouver-based Daiya Foods, which celebrates its 15thanniversary this year.

Known for its selection of plant-based cheese alternatives, Daiya has made a name for itself throughout Canada and around the world. Consumers know the brand for its ability to closely replicate the taste and texture of traditional cheese, using ingredients high in protein and, increasingly often, grown and processed here in Canada.

“We’ve long prided ourselves as being the ‘break-through brand’ in the plant-based cheese category — we existed to fill a need when there was no other alternative on the market,” Daiya Vice-President of R&D Roy Tam said. “People have a special affinity with cheese — and we believe everyone should be able to eat it and enjoy it. That’s why we’re here, and that’s why we’re plant-based.”

Daiya Italian shreds on a pizza. Photo provided by Daiya Foods.

The desire to bring a range of cheese-forward foods to every consumer has served Daiya well. Through collaborative partnerships, including two under Protein Industries Canada’s first round of funding, Daiya has spent the past few years developing novel food products featuring innovative ingredients. Focused on meeting consumer demands for improved taste, texture and nutrition, the products range from new cheese alternatives, to pizza, Mac & Cheese and frozen cheesecake.

The success of the products and partnerships has helped the company to not only grow its portfolio, but also its footprint. Daiya opened a new facility in 2022, with a state-of-the-art innovation centre focused on the latest developments in technology. It’s the largest fully plant-based stand-alone manufacturing facility of its kind in North America, and just a single step in Daiya’s journey toward future growth in the sector.

“With our 15 years of experience, we’re taking everything we have learned and all the reformulations we have made along the way and putting that into a new way of making our cheese that we’re confident people will love,” Tam said. “Early this year we announced we had made a multi-million-dollar investment into fermentation technology, with a new formula born out of this process due to be rolled out across products later this year. Our facility, and our new fermentation capabilities, are an investment in Daiya’s future growth, and that of the entire plant-based industry.”

With 15 years behind the company, and many more ahead, Daiya’s innovation and product releases aren’t expected to slow down. Plans for new releases are already on the horizon, providing consumers across Canada with new plant-based cheese choices to look forward to.

Daiya Crumbles on a salad. Photo provided by Daiya Foods.

Featured interviewee

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Roy Tam

Vice-President of R&D

Daiya Foods