With six years under their belt and multiple sofi™ Gold awards on the shelf, Dina DiCenso and Joshua Katcher have made New York-based RIND a well-known cheese brand. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)-certified company has quickly raised the bar on plant-based cheese with its soft-ripened, French-style cheese—and it’s making its presence known on the West Coast with United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) and new products.
“With distribution through Tony’s Fine Foods/UNFI, our products will be available throughout California, parts of the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska,” comments Greg Langel, Director of Marketing and Sales. “We are excited to make inroads in the western United States, as our availability has been mainly limited to specialty stores and restaurants until now. Expansion into Canada within the next few months is also planned, starting in the Vancouver area.”
The company’s state-of-the-art cheese cave in the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal is New York City’s only dedicated vegan cheese cave, Greg tells me. RIND’s aged cheese is also the first and only vegan cheese to be sold in Whole Foods artisanal dairy cheese cases in New York City, currently reaching seven locations.
In addition to cave-aged vegan cheeses, RIND offers rich and creamy spreads. RIND ensures a sustainable, environmentally conscious business to reduce its carbon footprint. To meet this effort, the company endeavors to make delicious products and bring in eager partners along the way. This produces versatile cashew spreads such as Spicy Tomato ‘Nduja, made in collaboration with City Saucery, and brand-new Beese spread, a sweet cheesy spread made in partnership with Mellody’s excellent vegan honey, to the market.
“Through UNFI’s distribution, we will have a selection of our award-winning, cave-aged, French-style mini-wheels and creamy cashew cheese spreads on the West Coast,” explains Greg. “Veggie Underground is made with real, 100 percent domestically sourced veggies, and we’ve carefully selected the varieties to use as they are the main ingredients. The carrot cheese has been a favorite of vegan slices connoisseurs since it launched last summer, and we’ve gotten rave reviews about the flavor of our new parsnip and red bell pepper cheese varieties.”
Health, superior meltability, and versatility set RIND’s Veggie Underground (VU) line apart on the market. Its innovative carrot-based cheese slices product, which won a sofi Best New Product award, is now joined with two new flavors.
“We expanded the VU brand with our new Parsnip and Red Bell Pepper varieties to complement the carrot cheese,” continues Greg. “Since launching this spring, we’ve focused on expanding its distribution. This led us to onboard with UNFI and Webstaurant, making it available in more than 60 retail locations and restaurants nationwide. Environmentally minded shoppers looking for healthy, vegan cheese that packs flavor will be interested in our wide range of veggie-forward offerings.”
RIND plans to roll out VU shreds and cream cheeses later this year, while all of its products are now found in foodservice sizes. If you want to see some for yourself in person before placing that order, UNFI’s Fresh Specialty Show on August 23 might just be your ticket.
“Our team will be distributing samples of our products at Ft. Mason in San Francisco, and we would love to meet interested buyers, chefs, and store proprietors!” Greg exclaims. “Our mini-grilled cheese sandwiches featuring Veggie Underground slices are always popular at industry trade shows!”
The cheese category continues to grow and expand, and DMN is eager to try them out.