If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen glimpses of Treeline's brand new packaging. I’m happy to tell you that as we speak, it’s already rolling out to stores and appearing on our online store!
I wanted to take a moment to give you some background on the changes, because there’s a lot more to Treeline’s new look than meets the eye!
Treeline is all about authenticity - remaining true to my original vision for vegan cheese, my compassion for animals and my commitment to the vegan cause.
Treeline was born in my kitchen over a decade ago. I had become increasingly concerned about the cruelty of the dairy industry and, having given up all dairy products several years earlier, I still found myself missing the delicious artisanal cheeses I had enjoyed before deciding to go vegan. There was just about nothing on the market that came close, so I was determined to create cheeses that vegans and non-vegans who loved good cheese could enjoy, without sacrificing taste or texture. I felt that if I made cheeses that tasted really good, and were good for you, I might even inspire others to join me on the vegan journey.
I have spent the past decade or more perfecting Treeline cheese with this goal as my inspiration. Throughout this process, I have insisted on great taste, responsible ingredients and high quality. I have also stayed true to my values. That's why, unlike many other "vegan" brands that are made in factories that also make dairy cheese, Treeline cheeses are made in our own dedicated facility that is 100% vegan, on equipment that has never been used for anything else.
We are now seeing change that is putting our movement at risk. It is crucial that we renew our commitment to being the change we believe in rather than just being consumers of what the corporate money men serve up.
Since I founded Treeline, a lot of vegan cheese companies have come and gone. A lot of money has been invested, and a lot lost. Sadly, with all the capital and all the hype, the authentic passion for the cause that drove me and many others now seems to be getting lost. The market is increasingly dominated by money men rather than agents of real change. Inspiring vegan voices are being replaced by plant-based platitudes in the relentless pursuit of short-term profits. We are seeing ingredient quality decline. We have seen vegan founders ousted. We have seen fantastic new brands created by committed vegans failing, because they can’t compete with the corporate behemoths that can buy shelf space in stores and bombard us with marketing that fails to advocate for our cause.
It feels like today’s corporatized vegan food industry (that the corporate ‘experts’ prefer to call ‘plant-based’ rather than vegan) has just become another way to make money rather than a way of bringing about meaningful change.
There has indeed been a lot of progress that has chipped away at the dairy status quo. That is, of course, a good thing because it means fewer animals suffer. But in my humble opinion the starch and tropical oil based products that have flooded the market in recent years aren’t real food. In the long run they will not convince anyone to commit to ditching dairy. Moreover, genetically engineered food-tech that tries to imitate dairy proteins (along with their allergens and adverse health effects) doesn’t provide a meaningful alternative either.
I believe the true alternative to dairy lies in healthy and nutritious products that are made with minimal processing and wholesome vegan ingredients that are sustainably grown from the earth.
It’s time for all of us to reclaim vegan cheese and recommit to the cause of veganism
I have to admit, with regret, that there was a brief time when, amid the hype and investment, Treeline dipped its toe into going corporate. I allowed myself to be persuaded that the changing times meant my company needed a more corporate leader than I could ever be. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was a mistake, and luckily, I was able to take my company back and ensure its authenticity.
While my original recipes and ingredients have never changed, one of the casualties of that brief period was our packaging. The corporate look that replaced the original Treeline style never spoke to who we are and what we make. Strong call outs of what we stand for were de-emphasized and the packaging became monolithic and bland. Some of our customers saw this and felt we had lost our way. I can’t say I blame them.
One of the first things I did when I resumed the CEO role was fix this. Gone are the cookie cutter logo and generic corporate image. Replacing them is a proud celebration of who we are and of the art and craft of vegan cheesemaking. Our new look and new “Treeline Cheesemakers” title, announce to the world that the real Treeline is back to its authentic vegan self - and then some!
This is just the beginning
I am by nature a private person, which is why you’ve not heard much from me over the years. But now, given what has happened in the world of vegan cheese over the past year, I feel compelled to come out of my cashew cheese cave to help re-inspire vegan cheese with true vegan purpose, and to speak up for what I believe in.
Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal customers, for your support. The flood of competition from giant corporations with huge budgets has threatened to sink us. But with you and with our authentic vegan mission we will thrive and continue to produce the most delicious and most authentic vegan cheeses!
All the best to you. Please stay in touch.