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The Entrepreneurs of Scheller: Dianna King Creates Plant-Based, Vegan Cheese Startup Eat UNrestricted

Dianna King, Georgia Tech Scheller Evening MBA student, is changing the way you think about cheese with her company Eat UNrestricted, a plant-based, vegan cheese company.
Dianna King Headshot

Dianna King is an Evening MBA student and the founder of Eat UNrestricted, a plant-based, vegan cheese company.

Dianna King has a message: If you want to go back to school, this is your sign to do it.

The Georgia Tech Electrical Engineering alumna and founder of Eat UNrestricted, a plant-based vegan cheese company with a soulful twist, says returning to her alma mater to join Scheller’s Evening MBA program has helped her grow as an entrepreneur in more ways than she expected.

“I’ve learned a lot, and it’s been helpful to talk to my professors about real business challenges I am facing,” she says.

King credits the Evening MBA program for helping her to think more strategically as she grows Eat UNrestricted, which she started in 2020 in response to the limited plant-based, vegan food available on the market.

A Vegan Lifestyle

King’s family history of cancer and her food allergies influenced her to switch to a plant-based diet in 2016. But when King became a vegan, it was difficult for her to transition to a plant-based diet due to the lack of options. Being a food connoisseur, she began experimenting in the kitchen with different cheese recipes and hosted dinners for friends and family.

Using her Southern roots as inspiration for her meals, King served American-style cuisine with a vegan twist. Everyone instantly fell in love with her meals — especially the macaroni and cheese — and wished they could find a product like her cheese sauce on the market. King began researching manufacturing food and decided to start a consumer package goods company (CPG).

“I enjoyed making a mixture of cuisines, but everyone gravitated toward the mac and cheese,” she said. “I realized the flagship product and the one I would launch Eat UNrestricted with would be a vegan cheese sauce, especially since vegan cheese is one of the most difficult alternatives to find that satisfies people’s tastes.”

In the seven years since King became a vegan, veganism and plant-based diets have grown exponentially. There are more than 70 million vegans worldwide, and the plant-based market increased by 27% during the pandemic. King smiles as she talks about how exciting the journey has been launching Eat UNrestricted as a nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free cheese alternative.

“We pride ourselves on not having our product be overly processed as some of the other vegan cheeses in the market,” she said.

The rapid growth of the market combined with the success of the brand has King grateful to have fellow Yellow Jacket alumnus, Eric Thompson, on board as co-owner and strategic advisor of Eat UNrestricted. Like King, Thompson has food allergies and was one of the first people to support King and her vision for the plant-based company.

Thompson helps scale the business as King balances her full plate as an Evening MBA student while working full-time as a project manager and research engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The support she receives from her community doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I have a great co-owner who supports me, and we’re starting to work with key partners more to help with laborious workloads. We’re onboarding with Amazon to get its help with packaging and distribution, and I have great support from my work community at GTRI,” she said.

The support King receives also includes being recognized by her peers in the industry. She was recently awarded the Innovator Award for Black Women in Food by Dine Diaspora, and she has partnered with media company The Shade Room to promote Eat UNrestricted to its 28 million Instagram followers.

Full Circle Moment

King’s idea to create an affordable and vegan cheese alternative can be traced back to her family dinners when she felt restricted in what she could eat because of her family’s Southern ties. She wanted to create a brand for people to eat unrestricted while eating well.

“I knew I wanted to do something in food, and in a way, I knew my life would end up like this. I also wanted to be an engineer, too. I feel like people shouldn’t have to choose one or the other, especially when people are juggling multiple things now,” she said. 

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