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(Mosheim, Tenn., Oct. 7, 2019) – A small food manufacturer in East Tennessee specializing in dairy-alternative vegan sauces was recently awarded a state grant. The company will use the money to expand its production facility and grow its market throughout the U.S.
Vegan Valley cheeze and alfredo sauces are plant-based, vegan, kosher certified and made without preservatives or trans-fats. Currently with four flavors—Mild Original, Alfredo, Nacho Queso and Jalapeno Queso—their refrigerated shelf life is one year.
Sold in 16-ounce, lead-free glass containers, the sauces are made with organic cashews and can be purchased at Whole Foods Markets, Ingles Markets, Inc. and health food stores throughout the Southeast.
In July, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture granted Vegan Valley funding in the amount of $50,000. Part of the Agriculture Enterprise Fund, the grant was created to support agribusinesses that are making an impact on Tennessee agriculture.
Samma and Gregory Highland created the Vegan Valley brand in 2013 after raising a daughter who had severe food allergies and founding a meal preparation and delivery company for people with food allergies and health issues.
When a client who had become a good friend died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), they closed the meal prep business in 2017 to focus solely on the dairy-alternative vegan sauces.
Samma Highland, a University of Tennessee graduate with a degree in food science and nutrition, worked as a dietician and consultant to individuals with food allergies before moving with her husband Greg back home to her family’s farm in Mosheim, Tenn., now the headquarters for Vegan Valley.
“Plant-based diets and veganism have grown 500 percent since we began making Vegan Valley sauces six years ago. We’re growing because our product tastes good as well as being good for you,” said Gregory Highland. “It’s also good for our local economy.”
Expansion plans for the Vegan Valley manufacturing facility that has been certified gluten-, soy- and dairy-free include increasing the square footage from 1,400 to 5,000 square feet and adding automated equipment and walk-in coolers. The number of employees has grown from four to six workers.
While the farm, located in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains, is non-GMO and organic, the Highlands are working on official certifications for those labels.
Future plans include growing the Vegan Valley product line to vegan dips and sour cream. In the meantime, they’ll concentrate on getting the product in grocery and health food stores beyond Southeastern U.S.
About Vegan Valley
Vegan Valley, a dairy-alternative line of cheeze and alfredo sauces, is plant-based, vegan and kosher-certified. Made on a farm in East Tennessee, they contain no preservatives or trans-fats. Currently available in four flavors—Mild Original, Nacho Queso, Jalapeno Queso and Alfredo—Vegan Valley is made with organic cashews, making them dairy-, soy- and gluten-free. Most importantly, they taste good and have a shelf life of up to a year in your refrigerator. Learn more www.VeganValley.com or www.facebook.com/veganvalley
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