Vegan pioneer and creator of Miyoko’s Creamery’s famous dairy-free cheeses Miyoko Schinner has found herself in the spotlight of Forbes50 Over 50 list. The vegan entrepreneur was featured alongside a long list of female leaders who have made a significant impact in their industries over the age of 50. The list is a spin-off from Forbes’ typical 30 under 30 lists that highlight the achievement of younger entrepreneurs. Schinner’s inclusion highlights the impact her vegan products have had on consumers and the plant-based market as a whole in recent years.

“The 50 Over 50 list spotlights women who are rewriting the rules of success, shattering the prevailing misconceptions about age and gender in the workforce, and inspiring women – and men – through all stages of their careers,” ForbesWomen Editor Maggie McGrath said. “By telling the stories of these incredible women, and highlighting how they are making a difference in their community, industry, or the world, we can also have a critical conversation about the need to acknowledge the misconceptions about age and gender and begin to change them.”

Schinner propelled herself and her vegan cheese line into the forefront of the plant-based industry. She revolutionized plant-based dairy and vegan cuisine during her time working as a chef and continues this work as an author and entrepreneur. She launched her French-style cheese line at age 57 in 2014. As the plant-based industry turned its eye towards cheese, specifically gourmet cheeses, Schinner decided she would experiment with cashew-based recipes. The development of Mikyoko’s Creamery led to the immediate popular success that demanded increased production. Currently, production comes from a 30,000-square-foot-facility in Petaluma, CA that opened in 2016.

“We are on a compassionate mission to reinvent the perception of plant dairy, which was set upon because of our love of all living beings, but it’s intertwined with the need for better sustainability approaches in business,” Schinner said. “More and more people are open to hearing about a vegan or plant-based diet, and just because you choose a specific diet or way of life doesn’t mean you should have to compromise on the quality of food. Together we can envision a new world based on truth, compassion, and courage.”

Following her company’s success, Schinner has become responsible for a 200-person team and her distribution facility. Miyoko’s Creamery reaches more than 29,000 stores across North America and Australia, making it one of the biggest dairy-free cheese products on the market. She also lobbied to allow plant milk to be allowed to use dairy-associated names. In 2020, Miyoko’s Creamery successfully persuaded a US district court to let plant-based companies continue to use the terms “butter,” “cruelty-free,” and “lactose-free,” which will extend the entire industry.

The Forbes feature signals that plant-based industries are increasingly a part of mainstream culture and industry. Schinner’s inclusion promotes veganism as well as highlights the significance of women in the plant-based industry. Joined by legendary chef Ina Garten, Vice President Kamala Harris, and media mogul Arianna Huffington, Schinner is in good company next to an extensive list of successful women above age 50.

“Age is absolutely an asset. Women over 50 historically were often overlooked as being ‘over the hill’ or as ‘has-beens.’ Well, the world is changing now, and Forbes recognizes this,” Schinner said. “Women today grow more powerful and more certain of who they are as they age. This inaugural list of 50 Over 50 by Forbes recognizes that women often come into their own after the half-century mark; after they have taken care of others and can now focus on their own inner strength–which was there all along, just not for the world to see.”

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