The US plant-based market has often cast a shadow on its Canadian counterparts, but several vegan brands are not only thriving in Canada, but innovating in the plant-based and alt-protein space.
Vegans and vegetarians make up almost 10% of the Canadian population, and although there are many plant-based options available in retailers across the country, Canadian consumers say supporting home-grown businesses is important to them. From established household names to emerging players, these companies are redefining the possibilities of Canadian vegan cuisine.
The trailblazer of the Canadian plant-based industry is, of course, Daiya, who pretty much pioneered dairy alternatives in Canada back in 2009 with its cheddar and mozzarella-style shreds. Many pizza chains across Canada and the United States use Daiya as their vegan cheese of choice, and the company has continued to push boundaries over the years with new products and new global retailers.
Daiya invested millions in a new fermentation facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, with plans to create an entirely new type of plant-based cheese. The facility received LEED status last month (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), so processes are well underway. In the meantime, Daiya is using the facility to create its other renowned products including it’s recently introduced oat flour-based cheeses: Goat Cheeze Crumbles and Feta Cheeze Crumbles. The products are readily available across major Canadian retailers, including Metro, Loblaws, Sobeys, No Frills, and Real Canadian Superstore.
Boosh is well known amongst Canadian consumers for its delicious bowls. With its heat-and-serve offerings, this Canadian company features a lineup of six plant-based bowls, including Coconut Curry Cauli, Mac & Cheeze & Peas, and a Mexican Fiesta Bowl. The company also launched an appetizer line- Amuseboosh, with vegan cheeses and pâtés.
The brand recently responded to increased consumer demand by leasing a larger space for its headquarters, and founder Connie Marples says, “We are extremely excited about our rapid expansion and growth.” Boosh also acquired the plant-based chip brand Beanfields, which is available throughout over 7,000 stores in North America. Boosh’s products are found in smaller health food stores around Canada, while Metro is the only main retailer carrying their line.
3. Earth’s Own
Earth’s Own is a well-known Canadian producer of dairy alternatives, including plant-based milk, dairy-free butter, cream cheese, and sour cream. The brand’s oat milk put them on the map, with over eight different types available, including barista blend and chocolate, securing them a spot on Air Canada’s in-flight menu. Earth’s Own also produces almond milk, which was voted best-tasting almond milk in Canada (beating out Silk in a blind taste test).
The company is headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia, like Daiya, but it operates three different manufacturing facilities across Canada. Earth’s Own is widely available in Canada, including at No Frills, Safeway, Thrifty, Whole Foods, Walmart, IGA, and more!
Konscious is new to the Canadian plant-based scene and is poised to make a splash in the Canadian industry with its innovative approach to vegan seafood, particularly frozen vegan sushi. Konscious Vegan Seafood was founded by French chef Yves Potvin, who is no stranger to the Canadian plant-based food market. He is also the founder of Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein and is now breaking into the plant-based seafood market. Their products finally launched at the end of July 2023, and Konscious aims to have its products in upwards of 5,000 stores by the end of the year.
The brand’s products include plant-based California Roll, Rainbow Roll, Tuna Avocado Roll (made from tomatoes), and also a range of onigiri and poke bowls. It has already received tons of press, and not only is Konscious Foods available in Canada, but it’s stocked in the United States as well. The primary stockist at this point is Whole Foods, but products will also be available in a range of independent health food stores. They will also be the exclusive plant-based supplier in Whole Foods’ food service sushi counters.
In the thriving landscape of the Canadian plant-based market, these brands are not only meeting the demand for vegan options, but also pioneering global innovation and redefining the possibilities of Canadian vegan cuisine. Watch this space for our upcoming interview with Konscious Food.