Newport Spotlight: Say Cheese with GO Veggie!


While Newport Folk Fest is undeniably all about the music, the staff does a solid job of introducing festival goers to mindful products and businesses, many of which are local. Enter GO Veggie! This year, the Rhode Island based company will be on site with tasty samples and a chance to win a banjo! The Donkey chatted with Jamie Schapiro, Director of Marketing (and Shovels & Rope fan) to get the official skinny.

Donkey Jaw: What do you think will surprise people most about these cheese free products?

Jamie Schapiro: We find that people are pleasantly surprised at the taste of our products – many can’t believe it’s not real cheese. Our GO Veggie! Dairy Free, Vegan cream cheese is cultured like real cream cheese, so it has the same mouth feel and incredibly smooth taste. Wait until you try our grilled cheese bites at the festival made with our Lactose Free Slices! When people realize the slices are cholesterol free, saturated fat free and only 40 calories per slice, they’re surprised to find the health benefits don’t compromise taste.

Why should folks consider dropping dairy from their diet?

JS: Several different reports and studies have been published on the topic of reasons for dropping dairy. To me, the three primary reasons to eliminate or reduce dairy include:

1) Dairy allergy. Milk allergy is listed 3rd in the list of top 8 food allergies – often called the Big 8. The FDA requires that food manufacturers to list the 8 most common ingredients that trigger food allergy on packaging/labels. Also, Approximately 2.5% of children younger than 3 years of age are allergic to milk. Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life. Most children who have milk allergy will outgrow it in the first few years of life.

2) Living a vegan lifestyle.

3) General health. Dr. Alan Goldhamer published a really interesting article that talks about the problems with milk and why more people are moving away from it. Many people look to reduce dairy intake due to heart health conditions like high cholesterol. Dairy and animal products in general have high amounts of cholesterol and eliminating or reducing dairy provide great benefits to maintaining a healthy body.

Can you share a few more details about the banjo giveaway?

On Saturday and Sunday, stop by the GO Veggie! tent to select a guitar pick out of a bowl and claim your prize – every pick is a winner, while supplies last. Some are good for vouchers for free product or insulated lunch bags, and within those picks is are two grand prize winners for a Deering Banjo (valued at $499) donated from the good folks running the event. And of course the branded guitar pick is all yours to keep too – can always use another one of those, right?

What’s next for GO Veggie?

We have a strong focus and investment in R&D to make great tasting products and improve accessibility via more grocery stores nationwide. There are over 50 million people who are lactose intolerant and the desire to eat healthier is on the rise, so we will continue to enhance existing products and develop new ones to appeal to those people who can really benefit from a cheese free choice. New and exciting tasty products are always on the horizon at GO Veggie!

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