When Veronica Fil first sampled the cauliflower and hemp-based cheese her husband, chef Shaun Quade had created, she said: “Do you realise what you’ve done? This could be huge.” She was right. The innovative portfolio that unfolded from Grounded Foods originated in Shaun’s fine dining restaurant in Australia then landed, via New York, in LA, with pre-sales of its cheese selling out within three minutes last April.
Today, almost a year later, these long awaited chef-created cheeses are officially launching in the US, ready to disrupt the outdated, unsustainable animal cheese market.
In July, Grounded closed an oversubscribed seed funding round where it raised $1.74M. Already, it has attracted the attention of media, chefs, and investors across the globe.
While there are already plenty of cheese alternatives available in the US, Grounded is different. Its unique proprietary combination of upcycled cauliflower and hemp overcomes challenges other brands have faced around cost and sustainability (artisan nut-based cheeses) and poor nutritional value (coconut oil-based brands).
In an interview with vegconomist last year, Shaun Quade said he deliberately took a different approach when developing the recipes, aiming to create something completely new and unique. The result is cheeses that are not only vegan and keto-friendly, but also free of casein, nuts, soy, gluten, and GMOs — and high in protein, omega 3 and 6, and calcium too.
From the beginning, Grounded has been focused on convincing flexitarians to switch away from dairy. It knew that if it was going to succeed, it would need to convincingly replicate the taste, texture, and addictiveness of conventional cheese. The key turned out to be fermentation, which has allowed the brand to “reimagine the sensory experience of eating cheese”.
But when it comes to convincing the masses, cost is also a key factor. To stay accessible to as many people as possible, Grounded is aiming to keep prices low, with the average MSRP being $5.99 USD. The cheeses will also be available in packs of 3 or 6 from the Grounded website, priced at $30 and $50 respectively (with delivery included).
Despite its success, Grounded says international expansion isn’t on the cards right now. The startup is committed to 100% local and independent supply chains, and won’t be expanding until it can do so sustainably.
“We’re not vegan ourselves, but we recognize that there are enormous sustainability issues surrounding dairy production,” said CEO Veronica Fil. “Our goal is to help everyday people shift away from dairy, by creating something so insanely tasty you wouldn’t think twice about choosing it over cheddar.”
Grounded cheese can now be purchased for home delivery at https://groundedfoods.com