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A number of retailers have quietly removed Daiya from the shelves after the vegan company was acquired by Japanese firm Otsuka for around $325 million, according to news outlet The Outline.
The acquisition, Daiya explained, would enable the brand to become a ‘global leader’ and give it more access to the market.
But the move wasn’t without controversy.
After it was revealed that Otsuka tests on animals, a number of consumers vowed to boycott the brand.
Otsuka’s own website says: “Use of laboratory animals in some areas of drug development is still necessary in order to validate the efficacy and safety of potential drug candidates prior to use in humans.”
A petition urging Daiya not to go ahead with the deal was launched, with campaigners saying: “We think that rejecting animal testing is more important than cashing in on the market for plant-based foods by companies that are only interested in serving this community because of the dollars in our wallets.”
Now, according to an article in The Outline, some stores are ditching the product.
Nora Vargas, general manager of Orchard Grocer, an all-vegan grocery store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, told writer Tim Donnelly: “The day that the sale was announced we pulled Daiya products from our shelves.
“It’s a total bummer. That’s the perfect word to describe it. It’s really too bad.”
That sentiment has now spread to the UK, with one source, who asked to remain unnamed, telling PBN: “I have been running my own vegan health food shop for a while.
“Although I stock a few kinds of cheese, customers do ask for Daiya. It was something I was looking into but now have decided against.
“My customers are used to me scrupulously checking every product on my shelves. If it is not vegan, they won’t buy it. Although I do want to see the niche products become more widely available, I am troubled when small brands are bought by parent companies who test on animals.
“So I won’t be trying to stock the product anymore.”
What does this type of boycott mean when it comes to bringing a product to the mainstream?
PBN’s source says: “I understand that if vegan products become more widely available, it makes veganism more attractive to a wider audience.
“There are lots of cases where people buy products from companies which have dubious parent companies.
“I wouldn’t tell someone they were doing the wrong thing if they choose to do so – just in this particular case, I felt my own personal ethics were not in line with the practices at Otsuka.”