Vancouver start-up addresses plant-based meal-kit demand amid COVID-19
02 Feb 2021 --- Vancouver-based Vegano, a plant-based meal-kit delivery service, is encouraging Canadian consumers to take plant-based living beyond Veganuary.
Following its official launch on January 4, 2021, Vegano has delivered over 800 plant-based meals across Metro Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler.
In 2020, Google reported an uptick in vegan-related searches, and the term “vegan” has even received more search queries than vegetarianism. Moreover, Veganuary has gained popularity in 2021 in comparison to previous years.
“The pandemic has made many people look to preventative health measures, and eating more plant-based food has been proven to improve your health on various levels,” Beck Pura, communications spokesperson, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
He explains that influential activists such as Greta Thunberg have raised awareness surrounding sustainability and the importance of preserving the environment.
“In addition to the meal kit industry, other sectors including cosmetics and beauty industries are also adopting cruelty-free and plant-based ingredients. Additionally, consumer packaged goods companies are making strides in minimizing the amount of product packaging they use or use more recycled and recyclable packaging,” he says.
Rising demand for plant-based food
Vegano offers a range of chef-created recipes using farm-fresh organic ingredients, which Vegano sources locally.
While other meal-kit delivery companies only provide vegan or vegetarian options, Vegano processes no animal product in any of its facilities, minimizing the risk of cross-contamination, it states.
“Many start-ups use an agile methodology, which allows them to stay at the cutting edge of technology, prepare for change and pivot when necessary. There are many facets to running a meal kit delivery service – of course,” Pura explains.
“However, we must also take into consideration the feedback from our customers, as well as changes in trends. As a start-up, we are continually innovating and adapting product offerings to fit our customer base’s changing lifestyle.”
Honing in on global flavors
Vegano’s recipes are created by world-renowned chefs and are inspired by the flavors of the world, according to Pura.
“We like to keep things interesting by using various spices and flavors to suit different palates. We will be introducing new meals bi-weekly, and there will be a steady rotation of new meals and fan favorites.”
The company often experiments with several recipes before introducing new meals. Members from across the organization try out recipes and give feedback. “We also use our customers’ feedback on past recipes to improve old recipes or create new dishes altogether,” Pura adds.
Access to reliable food
“As many consumers were spending more time at home, home cooking became a necessity and trend. Meal kit companies addressed concerns such as food shortages in grocery stores, reliable food access, convenience, no-contact delivery and easy to follow instructions for people who are new to cooking,” continues Pura.
Inspired by the plant-based movement, the founder and CEO of Vegano, Conor Power, wanted to make high-quality, vegan-friendly products more accessible to the general public.
“Adopting a more plant-based lifestyle made me realize that making vegan meals at home can be tricky. Vegano takes the guesswork out of meal prepping by delivering meals that can be prepared in under 45 minutes.”
Minimizing food waste
Vegano’s portioned meals minimize food waste, which aligns with its “empty kitchen” policy. Any leftover food at its production facility is used to make soups or sauces, leaving its kitchen empty and ready for the next week's delivery boxes.
Canada wastes approximately 2.2 million metric tons of edible food each year, costing Canadians over CA$17 billion (US$13 billion). Vegano is committed to environmental sustainability and uses post-consumer recycled packaging that can be recycled or composted easily.
“Vegano is working toward becoming a B corporation, and we take pride in corporate social responsibility. We only order enough produce to cover our weekly orders. All meals are perfectly portioned to ensure there is little to no waste, as food waste is becoming an increasing problem in Canada,” Pura details.
In addition to founding Vegano Foods, Conor Power is a venture capitalist who has raised over CA$20 million (US$16 billion) for various tech and CPG companies, with several successful exits publicly and privately.
“We plan on expanding our operations to Toronto and Montreal next and are working with one of our American partners to introduce the Vegano brand to Los Angeles,” Power concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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