Daiya Is Promising “Tastier, Meltier and Stretchier” Plant-Based Cheese by the End of 2023

Vegans, take note: the Burnaby-based company has just invested millions of dollars in new fermentation technology.

Prior to today, if you asked me the difference between traditional and dairy-free cheese, I’d say two things: 1) Dairy-free cheese doesn’t hurt cows and 2) Dairy-free cheese tastes worse. Like, a lot worse.

Even the CEO of Burnaby-based Daiya, one of the most recognized dairy-free cheesemakers around, says there are improvements to be made. “I don’t believe any brand has fully cracked the code on a formula that cheese lovers feel entirely confident in,” said Michael Watt via a press release. It turns out, there is another major difference between dairy-full and dairy-free cheese: fermentation.

Daiya’s production facility in Burnaby.

According to Jamie Siu, Daiya’s research and development director in advanced research and technology, most companies that make dairy-free cheese don’t use fermentation as part of their process. Since fermentation is really what makes cheese, well, cheesy, there’s quite a bit of… cheesiness lost in plant-based alternatives (sorry).

But the local brand just announced that they’ve invested millions of dollars in new fermentation technology, and expect to have “tastier, meltier and stretchier” cheese slices and shreds by the end of 2023. Eventually, their aim is to use this new technology on all of their products.

Daiya's vegan calabacitas recipe
Daiya’s vegan calabacitas recipe

According to Siu, the new tech will “improve the flavour and make a more authentic product that is more similar to dairy, and help close that gap.” It works by combining plant-based ingredients with vegan lactic acid bacterial cultures, which will (and this is a scientific term) cheesify the product.

The one plant-based friend I texted about this today answered with a noncommittal “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s one opinion, sure, but I think it speaks to a universal truth: vegans have been hurt by empty promises before. Daiya, don’t let them down.