Miyoko’s Kitchen expands production: ‘Demand has exceeded our wildest expectations’
Founded by chef, author, and TV personality Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Kitchen got off to an explosive start in 2014 and has been battling to keep up with demand ever since, said Schinner, who started selling her wares online in 2014 and is now in all but two Whole Foods regions, regional chains such as Raley’s and hundreds of independent natural food retailers.
She has also persuaded a series of high-profile investors to back her cultured nut venture, from Tofurkey founder Seth Tibbott and Wildwood Natural Foods founder Billy Bramblett to Obvious Ventures, the VC firm started by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams.
The new 28,636 square feet facility in Basin Street Properties’ Lakeville & Marina Project in Petaluma, will house production, shipping and customer service, while R&D will remain in Fairfax, said Schinner.
“We have grown from four employees to over 40 in just 18 months. The demand and positive response for our Vegan cultured nut products, has exceeded our wildest expectations. We now have 12 products in the market with the recent release of our award winning European Style Cultured Vegan Butter and Fresh Vegan Mozzarella.”
There are 12 organic cultured nut products in the Miyoko's Kitchen line-up, from Country-Style Herbes de Provence to Aged English Smoked Farmhouse. Most are based on cashew nuts; coconut oil; a miso made from chickpeas, rice koji, sea salt, water, and koji spores; nutritional yeast; and cultures.
The high price point - $7-12 per 6.5oz wheel – has not proved a barrier to date, as a growing percentage of consumersare prepared to pay for gourmet food products, and plant-based and ‘cultured’ foods are hot right now, says founder Miyoko Schinner.
As to where best to stock meat and dairy alternatives in the store – views differ, says Schinner.
“It’s interesting. Kite Hill [a gourmet cheese alternative firm based in Hayward CA] is in the cheese case at Whole Foods, but a lot of people that don’t eat dairy don’t shop the cheese case. We’re in the alternative sets with meat substitutes and our turn in stores has been very good.”