Vegan Going Mainstream to Your Local Market



Once upon a time veganism was nearly unheard of. Everywhere you go, you had to list the items that can be included in the diet. But lately it seems that veganism has been going mainstream. From supermarket shelves stocked with products that you can use to make a quick meal at home to the announcement of a fast-food vegetarian restaurant, it seems that going vegan has never been easier.

For a quick and easy meal, vegetarians have long relied on Amy's Kitchen brand of prepackaged delights—from frozen Mac n Cheese to canned chili and many other staples in between. So when Amy's Drive-Thru opened in Northern California, vegetarians and vegans began to hope for a version in their own neck of the woods. While a vegan-friendly fast-food chain may be in the works for the future, some brands are at least making an effort to help vegans whip up something in their home kitchen. Brands like Tessamae's, an all-natural, vegan salad dressing company has products that can be found in any mainstream market. Even better, is that it's a family company devoted to community outreach. I had the chance to interview the company's founder, Greg Vetter, a former raw vegan and the brain behind the brand about creating the company and his favorite vegan recipe.


Can you start by telling me how Tessemae's came about?

My mom was always trying to find ways to get me and my brothers to eat our vegetables, so she made this amazing salad dressing (lemon garlic). It became a neighborhood favorite! One day I came home and one of my friends had stolen our dressing. At that point, I thought to myself "If a man is going to steal another man's salad dressing. I should be selling this stuff!" From there, I called Whole Foods and told them that I was a food manufacturer, which wasn't true at all, and brought the dressing in a Tupperware container to the Whole Foods Market in Annapolis. One thing lead to another and they asked me to present it to their regional buyers. Next thing I knew I was Googling how to be a food manufacturer, where to create UPC codes, and what a HAACP plan was.  A few weeks later we opened in the Whole Foods in Annapolis and sold 55 cases of lemon garlic dressing within the first five days. Fast forward 6 years and we are now distributing nationally to Whole foods, Kroger, and Safeways across the country.

What were you doing before you made dressing? Previous culinary experience?

I was playing professional lacrosse for the Chesapeake Bayhawks and was working as a director of an employee benefit company.  Love lacrosse, not so much employee benefits.

What makes Tessemae's so unique?

Hear me out on this one. Sadly, what is most unique is our simplicity.  I say sadly because it is really a recipe that anyone could make in their own kitchen. A recipe where no shortcuts have been made or compromises accepted.  Honestly, it shouldn't be unique it should be the standard.


Was it important to you that Tessemae's be vegan?

Actually no. When we started Tessemae's we didn't set out to make our dressing Vegan or "free" of anything in particular, our goal was to use real, simple, natural ingredients.  Sugar free, Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegan, Paleo, and Whole 30 approved. It's amazing all of the categories that your product can exist within when you allow the food to remain as intended.

Do you think veganism is going more mainstream and is Tessamae's part of that move?

I can certainly see that more and more people are appreciating the value of a vegan diet.  No longer does it feel like something a random few embrace.  And even if not a complete diet overall, the inclusion of raw, nutrient dense produce is certainly on the upswing.  I was a raw vegan for 2 years so I understand the importance of being vegan. Tessemae's offers about 20 vegan products. 

Does Tessemae's have any celebrity fans?

Yes, we have celebrity fans. We've made our way into many green rooms. Many of our coveted investors maintain celebrity status.  Truth be told, it's a story that really connects with most everyone.  We all have moms, uncles, neighbors, or girlfriends with secret recipes needing to be shared with the world.

Tell me about Tessemae's dedication to social responsibility?

Socially, one of our greatest charges as a company is to demonstrate the importance of eating real food and simplicity in which general health can be attained.  Additionally we feel that eating healthy should be a choice, not a privilege for a select few.

Favorite recipe or way to use Tessemae's?

I drink our dressing straight out of the bottle and eat the Chesapeake mayo with spoon. But I will say that our tomato & avocado salad is pretty amazing!

Tessamae's vegan friendly products may not be available at your local fast-food drive-thru, but until such a unicorn comes to your neighborhood, Tessamae's can probably be found in your local supermarket. Tessamae's dressings may not be a full meal deal in itself, but it can make preparing your next meal just a little easier and quicker.

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

Related Articles

Around the web