allplants was way ahead of the curve when it launched its vegan delivery box service in the UK, with no way of knowing that COVID would bring a wave of demand and interest in both DTC and plant-based foods, leading to the largest crowdfund by any vegan business in the world.
Throughout a troubling year for most businesses, this London-based plant-based brand founded by Alex and Jonathan Petrides, has racked up an impressive number of achievements. At the start of 2020, allplants sold its millionth meal, and this number had doubled just ten months later.
We were delighted to speak with Jonathan Petrides about what sets this well-known UK brand apart from the rest.
For our global readers, please introduce your brand and tell us why you started out.
It all began when my brother and I independently went vegan in the same week, inspired by our understanding of how plant-based diets could save the planet. We needed a convenient way to eat plants when we had no time or energy to learn to cook something new. We set up some supper clubs and the rest is history.
Now allplants is a chef-to-customer service and lifestyle brand making it easy and exciting to eat more plants, and less meat, with delicious, chef-made meals delivered to your door.
From Pad Thai to Mac & Greens, each dish contains two of your five a day, is low in sugar and contains protein, B12, and vitamin C. Customers simply pop them into a freezer, then heat up in the microwave or oven, and enjoy whenever it suits them.
Your meal range is impressive, we love the international flavours. Which are your bestsellers?
Our customers seem to love the healthy alternatives of home-cooked classics – our sumptuous Lasagne Noci and creamy Rigatoni Carbonara. All our meals are totally plant-based, made from real, whole food ingredients, naturally delivering a wide range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
We also see huge interest in dishes from cultures where veganism has been around a lot longer, as they don’t typically rely on dairy or meat products for their flavour, for example with our Spiced Aubergine Tagine and Teriyaki Udon.
All we’re about is making plant-based living more exciting and easy for everyone. We believe you can live without compromise, you don’t have to give up on flavour or convenience in order to live a healthier life, or one that’s better for the planet. Eating plant-based is a fiesta, not a fast.
Can you tell us about any new product developments?
We recently launched our Feast Box (a fully prepped roast that cooks in 45 mins, what’s not to love) and in January we’ll have a few collaborations launching with some plant-based friends that you’ll just have to keep an eye out for.
As demand for healthy convenient food delivery booms across the UK, this year we also launched our new delicious superfood smoothies; a pizza range in partnership with White Rabbit; and are adding a new dish every week to our winter menu. All of that joins our award-winning vegan meals and lighter lunch options, alongside our healthy treats range. allplants serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in one handy service.
We reported in March that allplants raised a record sum through the crowdfunding campaign on the Seedrs platform – congrats! Tell us about your decision to crowdfund and how the money will help your brand.
In March 2020, we finalised a record-breaking £4.5 million crowdfund, the largest crowdfund by any vegan business on this planet. Over 1,800 invested and 76% of these investors are not vegan, and 73% of investors believe there is a lack of healthy and nutritious plant-based meals available in the UK.
Our customers are involved in shaping everything we do at allplants – from helping us develop new recipes, to tasting new dishes and returning their packaging for re-use. We always planned to bring them onboard as soon as we could.
Working from a stable, scalable platform, over the next three years, the funding will grow in four core areas to further establish allplants as Europe’s number one plant-based food platform. These areas are: food innovation, improving its digital and offline experience, accelerating new customer growth, and preparing the company for wider retail distribution in the UK and internationally.
We have heard that you have a new plant-based kitchen, please tell us about that.
Our HQ, The Greenhouse, is Europe’s largest plant-based kitchen, a 20,000sq ft production facility in North London.
In line with allplants fast-paced growth, the kitchen is designed to host over 200 chefs, hand-preparing 200,000 meals per week as allplants and the plant-based movement accelerate into 2021.
Never before has a kitchen on this scale been dedicated to serving meals made entirely from plants, and this will allow us to continue making the best tasting plant-based food our world has ever seen, propelling plant-based living into a new era.
While the global pandemic has affected many businesses, the plant based industry, on the whole, has fared better than animal-based food companies, can you tell us how it affected allplants?
With Covid-19, allplants has been forced to rapidly scale. At the start of this year allplants served its millionth meal (after 36 months of cooking), now only 9-10 months later we are about to serve 2 million meals.
Before Covid-19, there was already an increased interest in chef-to-customer meal deliveries like allplants. Firstly, people simply wanted to cook less at home, yet still wanted to eat healthy meals after a busy day. Secondly, more and more people are trying toreduce their meat intake and eat a more plant-based diet for their personal health and for the survival of our planet.
At the moment with the length of the pandemic, there is a bit of home-cook drudgery. While we’re all doing way more cooking, sometimes we want a break and can’t do takeout all the time so our exciting and varying menu of healthy meals cooked by chefs in our kitchen to eat in yours are a solution many homes are adding to their freezer.
Ecommerce and DTC has been the success story of 2020 –do you see delivery services as here to stay, and how / where can this area progress in your opinion?
The allplants increased customer demand is here to stay – our customers’ repeat purchasing is already significantly accentuated. We also think that, post Covid-19, people will be significantly reducing their meat intake and leaning towards plant-based diets. I think we’ve all realised that nature bites back, we need to plan ahead and listen to scientists, so we’re expecting a step-up in plant-based eating.
What is “Veganise it”?
Veganise It is our guide to support you with all you need to cook plants like a pro and have fun while doing it. Our excellent creative team of chefs can help you discover vegan versions of your favourite recipes, handy resources, simple swaps, videos and more.
We created allplants to make eating more plants a supremely positive choice that is delicious, healthy, accessible and full of joy: an inclusive celebration of food and life: a fiesta, not a fast. But eating plants is still considered a massive compromise on taste and pleasure, requiring monk-like dedication, time and effort. Veganise It makes it easy for you to cook at home.
Do you think that your company and the plant-based industries will continue on their current trajectories? Do you see veganism eventually replacing animal agriculture?
Absolutely. The easiest and most immediately impactful change any individual human can make to shrink their carbon footprint is to change the food they put on our plate three times daily.
Eating more plants, and less meat, means a huge step down in greenhouse gas emissions, and a healthier crop of humans to lead the world like never before. It’s the #1 change any person can make to beat climate change – even the UN recommends it.
It is also reflected in our customers – almost two-thirds of allplants customers aren’t veggie or vegan, they’re simply hunting for convenient, tasty, healthy ways to fit into their busy lives. In May 2020, we surveyed thousands of our allplants subscribers. 80% are simply looking to eat less meat, with health, sustainability and animal welfare as the key reasons.
This is not a vegan-only market – this is all about the mass appetite for ‘vegan-ish’; simply adding more plants to people’s everyday lives. Every menu and supermarket across the country is introducing plant-based options, it’s no longer a niche category and global trends predict a massive shift towards plant-based diets.
What are your plans for the future with your brand?
allplants is building a global brand that will bring plant-based eating into the mainstream, faster and with flavour. We have ambitious plans, from adding more categories to expanding our offline and digital offerings, to make plant-based eating a supremely positive and easy choice for all.