Why I Don’t Support The Daiya Boycott

In a classic example of confused hypocrisy, vegans are boycotting Daiya foods in response to the Japanese conglomerate Otsuka’s purchase of the company. The boycott is well-intentioned, but poorly thought out. Otsuka is a large Japanese multinational conglomerate that owns a pharmaceutical company. That company – like almost all pharmaceutical companies, all over the world – is required by law to test on animals.

The Problem with Animal Testing

I am not here to defend animal testing. It’s a terrible, archaic and largely completely unnecessary process that is still legally required in nearly every country for new drugs. But as vegans, our strategic goal should be to change the legislation, not harm the viability of a company that is trying to make vegan food more available to the masses. Otsuka is required by law to test on animals, as are all pharmaceutical companies in the USA, according to PETA. I do think it’s important to point out that Otsuka is aware of the ethical problems with animal testing and attempts to reduce their reliance on these tests as far as is possible or practicable. Daiya is still a vegan brand, and there’s no indication from Otsuka that anything is changing in that respect.

My view

So, if Daiya stops being a vegan brand, I won’t buy their products. But as long as they are continuing to sell vegan food, I will buy it. Just like I buy vegan products from a plethora of other non-vegan companies. If you never buy vegan products from non-vegan companies, then feel free to join the boycott. But if you’re just upset that a tiny vegan brand has “sold out” to a larger company, get over it, and focus on spreading the vegan message.

It’s also rather intriguing to me that people have been so upset by this acquisition, when other vegan brands have followed similar trajectories without the backlash. For example, Danone – one of the largest dairy companies in the world – just bought White Wave Foods for $10.5 Billion USD. White Wave manufactures Silk Soy milk and a variety of other plant-based products (it also owns Horizon organic dairy, so they’re definitely not all-vegan either). Anyway, It’s been a very successful acquisition, with Danone experiencing better profit margins in the wake of the sale.

There also wasn’t much of an outcry when Tyson invested in Beyond Meat. This kind of shocked me, since not only is Tyson one of the largest meat producers in the US, it also has a horrible record with mistreatment of its workers and the animals it abuses and slaughters. For more on this, I strongly recommend anyone interested in understanding the meat industry read “The Meat Racket” by Christopher Leonard. He describes how Tyson and the other major meat producers “built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up.” Let me know if you’d like to see a review of the book on this channel!

Closing thoughts

I completely understand why someone who consistently avoids buying products from non-vegan companies would boycott Daiya. But I also believe in being logically consistent, so if you buy vegan items form non-vegan companies (which nearly all of us do), this boycott makes zero sense.

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2 Responses to “Why I Don’t Support The Daiya Boycott

    4 months ago

    It says “My View”, great have your view . . . here’s “My View” … to be totally honest it sounds like the “cookie cutter” responses from several “Vegan” sites…. like a press kit regurgitated in an effort to damage control the major fallout daiya has had due to their SELLOUT to a big pharm company that animal tests! I, personally, will have nothing to do with Daiya . . . too many other companies that are owned by non vegan companies that DO NOT conduct ANIMAL TESTING. #DoneDeal #BoycottDaiya

    • That’s the lovely thing about opinions. We all have one. 😉 I’m not Daiya’s biggest fan. I have a video where I throw serious shade at their cheese. But I order it on Pizza since the rest of my family likes it and it’s a way of encouraging Panago (Canadian pizza chain) to offer more vegan options. I think they could seriously stand to improve their products, as I say in the video. But “selling out” is how you expand your market share, which matters in a capitalist system. I wish them good luck.

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