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Dan Staackmann

Dan Staackmann is the founder and president of Upton’s Naturals, an independently-owned, ethical vegan food company based in Chicago, IL. A 25-year vegan and long-time advocate for animal rights and environmental sustainability, Dan founded Upton’s Naturals in 2006 with a DIY attitude and slow-growth business model. Beginning in a shared kitchen, he created and introduced the first integrally-flavored packaged seitan. After testing the market in a handful of local restaurants, Upton’s Naturals Seitan proved to warrant a product packed for retail and a dedicated production facility. The seitan launched in a limited number of natural food stores in the Midwest and reached national distribution by 2011.

In 2013, Dan worked with award-winning architects, UrbanLab, to design and build a mixed-use building in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood that includes private living space, offices, production space, and a café called Upton’s Breakroom. In 2015, after growing a loyal base of customers, Upton’s Naturals was the first in the world to launch pre-cooked, pre-seasoned young Jackfruit in a retort pouch, which is now available in 20+ countries worldwide. In April 2018, the company expanded into a new production facility that’s more than six times the size of the West Town facility, where Upton’s Breakroom remains. Upton’s Naturals’ latest products are shelf-stable, heat-and-serve Ch’eesy Macs and Thai-inspired Real Meal Kits.

  • September 16, 2020    |   First Amendment

    Oklahoma Compelled Speech

    Oklahoma requires vegan products to rewrite their labels to the meat lobby’s satisfaction

    As anyone who’s seen a Cheerios box or Coca-Cola bottle knows, a product’s name is often the biggest thing on it. Other words on product labels are usually much smaller, except for large warnings required to highlight dangers, like on cigarette and alcohol labels. But this year, at the meat lobby’s prompting, Oklahoma will start…

  • July 2, 2019    |   First Amendment

    Mississippi Food Labeling Law

    Mississippi Makes Selling “Veggie Burgers” a Crime

    Brace yourselves: Veggie burgers don’t contain meat. If this doesn’t come as a stunning revelation, then you’re savvier than the state of Mississippi gave you credit for. In 2019, at the behest of the meat lobby, Mississippi banned food companies making plant-based meat alternatives from using any meat product terms on their labels (burgers, hot…

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