The buzz about Heidi Ho’s vegan cheeses has been on the rise ever since the Portland-based company got its start back in 2011. Then, after co-founder Heidi Lovig made an unforgettable appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank last year, (scoring a deal with Lori Grenier), the company has helped changed people’s perceptions of plant-based cheese in a major way.
The company’s five products weren’t available everywhere, however, so lots of non-dairy eaters have been clamoring to get their mouths around the organic, vegan creations. The good news is, they’re now national. Whole Foods is carrying them coast to coast.
Lovig — who runs the company along with her partner Lyssa Story — actually landed Whole Foods national about a year ago, and the product rollout happened throughout the early part of 2015. Florida was the only holdout, and the state’s stores finally started stocking the cheeses as of September. The options include a Creamy Chia Cheeze, Spicy! Chia Cheeze, Smoky Chia Cheeze (FYI all of which are perfect for nachos) and Ne Chèvre, a live-culture cashew cheeze in Pure and Black Lava varieties.
“We have eight regions that have all five [cheeses] and then we have three regions that have three,” Lovig tells Latest Vegan News.
“Whole Foods has been so great to work with — they gave me money to grow my business. We’re a part of their Local Producer Loan Program,” she explains. Initially, the grocer gave the company $20,000, but then offered another $100,000 if Lovig could find a way to go national. She did.
Whole Foods isn’t the only retailer to carry Heidi Ho — it’s also available at Sprouts markets and plenty of other spots (check the store finder on the company’s website to see where it’s on sale near you).
As far as the future, Heidi Ho is just getting started.
“We’ve got some really exciting and innovative products coming out in 2016 that are just in development right now,” Lovig said. “They’re super top secret in a vault.”
“It [product development] is one of my favorite parts of the job. I rarely get to do it, and that’s why we haven’t had any new innovations because we’ve just been growing so fast. But we have enough support now that I’m able to step into my test facility.”