I have been a fan of Daiya products for many years. I was proud to support a Canadian company that was committed to producing cruelty-free vegan products. Now that Daiya has been sold to the Japanese company Otsuka, a large pharmaceutical company that engages in animal testing. Many vegans like me are not at all happy about this development, as we do not wish to support a parent company that conducts animal testing. It is for this same reason that I don’t buy products from Tom’s of Maine, for example, which is owned by Colgate, a company that has been conducting tests on animals for decades.
Many vegans have decided to stop buying Daiya products because of this change in ownership. It’s always difficult to know how far up the chain of ownership to take one’s ethics. Daiya products continue to be cruelty-free, as are those made by Tom’s of Maine. The question of parent companies is vexing, since so many companies are owned by larger companies which may, in fact, be owned by even larger companies. Again, how far up the chain does one go?
My approach is to use products made by companies that do not have links to animal testing. If these alternatives do not exist, then I will buy from a company if its products are vegan and cruelty-free, even if its parent company has some links to animal testing. In the case of Daiya, I have found a number of good alternatives made by companies with no ties to animal testing. My favourites are:
- Earth Island (in Canada), whose parent company, Follow Your Heart, makes its products in a solar-powered factory, and is firmly committed to cruelty-free products. The shreds are much better than Daiya’s and the price is comparable.
- Sheese, made by Bute Island Foods, which does not test on animals, and does not use palm oil. The Sheese line is incredibly good, but rather more costly than other vegan brands.
I make my own cashew-based cheese, but I do use commercial vegan cheeses if I want something a little firmer, and especially if I want to put shreds on my pizza.