Gold Coast company Dairy Free Down Under has become the vegan crème de la crème after collecting a prestigious new business award.
Dairy Free Down Under, which is now Australia’s only large-scale manufacturer of gluten free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly cheese substitutes; was named the winners of the Emerging Business category of the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards for 2018.
Founders Kevin and Jenny Flanagan, who also own fruit wholesaler Family Fresh, say they were completely shocked when they were called to stage to accept the award.
“There were so many impressive companies, we really didn’t think we were in the running – we were not expecting that, but it’s a sign of the times with veganism is on the rise and more people move away from dairy and embracing healthier or more conscious lifestyles,” Jenny says.
“We initially developed the branded, value-add range to diversify from fruit business, which is mostly commodity-driven. Our inspiration came from one of our daughter’s who is intolerant to dairy and my desire to have us all sitting around the same table enjoying the same meal without cooking multiple alternatives.
“We are now selling products throughout Australia and we are preparing for export.”
While the family only launched its range in March this year, Kevin says it had taken more than three years to research and develop its range of dairy substitute products, which include various cheeses, dips and a sour cream that launched nation-wide in Zambreros on November 1 this year to coincide with World Vegan Day.
“There is a growing niche for non-dairy and vegan-friendly food and very compelling health and humanitarian benefits associated with these lifestyles,’’ Kevin says
“There were similar products available from overseas manufacturers, but no Australian company had successfully developed and commercialised dairy-free cheese alternatives.
“We had a few struggles during the research and development phase, but it has already proven incredibly successful.”
Kevin says while it might appear to be an overnight success, winning the award was a reward for many years of hard work.
“We owe it to our team – there isn’t a single staff member out of our
30 employees who isn’t passionate and dedicated to our journey,” Kevin says.