20 Years of Family Owned,Vegan Ionnovation
ION Chicago, IL – Chicago Vegan Foods, which introduced Dandies, the first internationally available vegan and gelatin-free marshmallow, is turning 20 years old this year. Family owned and self-funded, the vegan food company continues to innovate in the plant-based category with its takes on classic comfort foods.
With their beginnings traced back to the ‘90s animal rights movement, founders Ryan Howard and Dan Ziegler started Chicago Vegan Foods in 2001 to channel their activism into a business that could help bring awareness to animal rights and create alternatives to products that were harmful to animals and the environment. The company got its start making Temptation Vegan Frozen Dessert (which evolved to include Temptation Vegan Soft Serve) and Teese Vegan Cheese. In 2010, their flagship product, Dandies Marshmallows, launched into stores. With a taste and texture indistinguishable from conventional marshmallows, Dandies have become the go-to ingredient for baked goods, campfire s’mores, and hot cocoa. Made with no artificial flavors or colors, no corn syrup, no gelatin, and free from gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and tree nuts, these vegan marshmallows are also a better-for-you and allergy-friendly version of the classic confection. Today, Dandies is a top-selling item in the U.S. natural channel and sold at conventional and natural grocers across the U.S. and Canada, plus select retailers in the U.K. as of summer 2020. Dandies are a popular item for foodservice and industrial applications as well. Propelled by the success of Dandies, Chicago Vegan Foods has experienced 40x growth over the past 10 years. An expansion into a 40,000 square foot SQF certified facility in 2018 allowed the company to meet growing demand with increased capacity, automated production, and customized, state-of-the-art equipment. The company is currently ramping up for a new line of plant-based product offerings in new categories launching under the Dandies brand for 2022.