There are more animal-free products than ever on store shelves, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more. Lots more. By 2020, the market for non-dairy products is expected to hit $20 billion; $5.17 billion for meat substitutes. Clearly, the demand is there — and growing fast. Enter Wayfare Foods, a newly revamped, Montana-based company with an innovative production method and lengthy lineup of products, from puddings to butters to cream cheeses and more.
Wayfare isn’t an entirely new company. It put its first products on the market in 2010, and while the creations were popular with vegans — they never won with mainstream consumers. So, owner Kelly Coffin pulled the entire stock and started over.
“It was agonizing, but we didn’t stop until we had products we could feed to a regular mainstream customer and they loved them as much as they loved a Velveeta,” he tells Latest Vegan News. “It took me far longer and more money than I ever dreamed and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences in my life, but we really really believe in this and that’s why we did it.”
The resulting products are true doppelgangers for animal-based foods. Chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch puddings; plain, olive, and jalapeno cream cheeses; salted and cinnamon sweet whipped butters; ranch, French onion, and blue cheese dips — the list goes on. And while Wayfare currently offers more than a dozen products — it has an arsenal of others awaiting release, including block cheeses, ice creams, and eventually, egg and meat analogues.
Currently, Wayfare’s products are only available in the Northeast and the Northwest, but people are already going crazy over them, says Coffin. The company is working on nationwide expansion.
Unlike a lot of other companies, Wayfare either uses or recycles the entirety of each item, so there’s no waste. The machines used are custom-built, and to Coffin’s own design. “We do it differently than anybody in the industry,” he explains. “We wanted to build a system that we could duplicate in different regions. We wanted to do that because then you have an opportunity to truly become part of the local culture and put people to work. More than just selling them a product, you can become part of their lives and health.”
The current generation of offerings are made with bases of organic butter beans and oats, but the alternative ingredient options are almost limitless, says Coffin. “We could take tree branches and turn them into butter. In Asia we could use rice; in Africa, casaba; in the Ukraine, different grains. We’re not limited to one ingredient set; we can use almost anything to make it. ”
The company has huge long-term plans. Coffin and team want to duplicate the manufacturing process across the U.S. — then look towards other countries in Europe and Asia. “We want to duplicate that process throughout the world because there’s a crisis ahead of us. You can’t just keep killing and eating animals and think that’s sustainable. Something has to give and that’s why we developed this process.”
Overall, Coffin is seeking to dominate the traditional market, and get omnivores to start eating vegan products as part of their regular routine. That’s the key to changing the world. “I want the people at the McDonald’s drive through eating burgers and chicken; I want the mainstream consumer.”
If you live in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., or West Virginia, you can purchase Wayfare products at WayfareFoods.com, or use the store locator to see if they’re available at retailers near you. While currently offered in limited markets, Wayfare products will soon be available nationwide.