Chicago Vegan Foods Pioneers Plant-Based Foods and Inspires Change
CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago Vegan Foods, which introduced Dandies, the first internationally available vegan and gelatin-free marshmallow, is turning 20 years old this Friday, August 27th. Family owned and self-funded, the vegan food company continues to innovate in the plant-based category with its takes on classic comfort foods.
With their beginnings traced back to the '90s animal rights movement, founders Ryan Howard and Dan Ziegler started Chicago Vegan Foods in 2001 to channel their activism into a business that could help bring awareness to animal rights and create alternatives to products that were harmful to animals and the environment. Reflecting on their humble beginnings, Howard notes, "We started in my tiny basement and now manufacture out of our own 40,000 square foot, fully vegan facility. We can manufacture over 18 tons of marshmallows a day, which is over 100 miles worth of marshmallows placed end to end!"
The company got its start making Temptation Vegan Frozen Dessert (which evolved to include Temptation Vegan Soft Serve) and Teese Vegan Cheese. In 2010, their flagship product, Dandies Marshmallows, launched into stores. With a taste and texture indistinguishable from conventional marshmallows, Dandies have broken down stereotypes connected with vegan foods to become the go-to ingredient for baked goods, campfire s'mores, and hot cocoa. Made with no artificial flavors or colors, no corn syrup, no gelatin, and free from gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and tree nuts, these vegan marshmallows are also a better-for-you and allergy-friendly version of the classic confection.
Today, Dandies is a top-selling item in the U.S. natural channel and sold at conventional and natural grocers across the U.S. and Canada, plus select retailers in the U.K. as of summer 2020. Dandies are a popular item for foodservice and industrial applications as well. Propelled by the success of Dandies and the explosion of the plant-based market, Chicago Vegan Foods has experienced 40x growth over the past 10 years. An expansion into a 40,000 square foot SQF certified facility in 2018 allowed the company to meet growing demand with increased capacity, automated production, and customized, state-of-the-art equipment. The company is currently ramping up for a new line of plant-based product offerings in new categories launching under the Dandies brand for 2022.
Shared Ziegler, "We started this company to make plant-based foods that everyone could enjoy while using it as a springboard to educate. We never thought our mission would take us this far. It's humbling to hear from customers about how we've changed their lives with something as simple as a marshmallow or ice cream, giving them an opportunity to re-experience family memories and to make new ones, with a friendlier upgrade."
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SOURCE Chicago Vegan Foods