London Inc. November 2020 - 26

So, You Want My Job

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR

Margaret Coons of Nuts For Cheese chats about
managing rapid growth, the name game and the
benefits of a liberal arts education
MARGARET COONS IS FOUNDER and CEO of Nuts For Cheese
(www.nutsforcheese.com) , a thriving London company that makes
vegan cheese, and more recently, butter. Based on a cashew
recipe she began developing more than five years ago, the
products are available in grocery stores across Canada. All
products are made in London. The company began operations in 2016 and has 30 employees.
Coons grew up in Ancaster and graduated from
Western in 2012 with a BA in English language and
literature. When she's not working, she still enjoys
experimenting in the kitchen. She also practises yoga
and is itching to get back on a plane to travel. She just
turned 30.

Why did you decide to create a plant-based,
dairy-free cheese? There weren't a lot of plant-based
options when I was growing up as a young vegetarian
and then vegan. I've always been passionate about
making plant-based alternatives more widely available
and developed my very first dairy-free cheese recipes
when I was a chef at a London vegan restaurant.
How did you arrive at your cashew-based
recipe? I spent hours - and many late nights - experimenting with nuts and seeds to create creamy sauces
emulating cheese. I landed on cashews because of their
decadent flavour profile and consistent texture.
What about the name, where did that come
from? A few glasses of wine with friends and tossing
ideas around! There were a number of contenders, but
Nuts For took the cheese-cake.
Was there a big break you remember? A retailer
that bought in early? We've been fortunate to grow
very organically. When we did secure our first large
retail partner, it caused a monumental shift in the
company as we dove into the world of palletization,
distribution and grocery, suddenly scaling up quickly.
You recently introduced Nuts For Butter. Was
that a natural evolution of your company or was
26 | londonincmagazine.ca | NOVEMBER 2020

there some specific motivation? We've always
been interested in growing the plant-based category
and our own Nuts For family of products. Our Nuts
For Butter is made using similar ingredients and
processes as our dairy-free cheeses, so is a natural
line extension. Like our cheeses, our butters work for
a variety of cooking occasions and function like their
dairy counterparts. They melt, spread, cook and bake
like no other plant-based butters we've tried.
You studied English and literature. Obviously,
a business degree is not a requirement to be
successful. I think post-secondary diplomas and
degrees instill a lot of the soft skills necessary to
succeed. While I loved every moment of attaining my
liberal arts degree, I think the best education is found
in trying new things, taking risks and learning from
experience. Also, with my English degree, I can write a
mean email!
Can you describe a typical workday if there
is such a thing? I work well with variety and it's
a good thing because on any given day I might be
experimenting with our product development team to
create new products, giving my opinion on marketing
assets, meeting with a major retailer, formalizing
an HR policy - Covid's provided no shortage of
opportunities to take care of our team at an HR level -


http://www.nutsforcheese.com http://www.londonincmagazine.ca

London Inc. November 2020

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