Until now, vanilla bean has been known as a restaurant guide app for helping you find vegan-friendly restaurants. Now, the startup is entering into a new phase: vanilla bean is aiming to become the world’s first vegan and packaging-free delivery service. To this end, a new crowd-investing campaign has just launched. Co-founder and CEO Fabian Kreipl shared in an interview with us what the sustainable delivery concept is all about.
From a restaurant guide to a vegan delivery service – what brought on this development?
The basic idea behind vanilla bean was always to make it as easy as possible for people to eat vegan and sustainably on the go – no matter where they are. Our current app can be a huge help. But what if I don’t wish to go out? More and more people get their food delivered, at home or to their office. That’s where we want to come in.
What will set vanilla bean apart from other delivery services?
For one thing, of course, that we specialize in vegan cuisine. More importantly, however, is the fact that we’ll be delivering packaging-free. This concept is partly the result of discussions with scientists at the TU Berlin, where we’re an industry partner for a research project on avoiding packaging. Initially, we were banking on eco-friendly packaging. The more we delved into it, especially into the problems surrounding packaging waste, the more we realized that we had to make the service even more sustainable than simply using bioplastic containers. Eight million metric tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans every year. Nearly 50 percent of plastic waste produced globally comes from packaging. It’s thus frustrating to have a small landfill at home after ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. It’s time for a new way of delivering. Packaging-free food delivery is possible.
What does the packaging-free concept entail?
The customer orders their meal of choice via the vanilla bean app. This will be delivered via bicycle courier in a reusable box. With their next order, the customer receives a new box and simply returns the previous one. The courier drops that box off at the next restaurant, where it’s cleaned professionally. We track the boxes so that we know at all times whether each restaurant has a sufficient supply. That’s how we establish a reusable system of these multi-use containers. It’s important to us that the boxes are produced fairly and are fully compostable while still being robust and dishwasher-safe. If you want, you can use the boxes at home or on the go as a lunch box.
When and where is the delivery service launching?
Initially, we’re building the delivery service in Berlin, where we have already gained a sustainable logistics partner in Messenger. Their couriers work under socially responsible conditions, which, to us, was an important prerequisite. We also already have several restaurant partners on board in Berlin. We’ll be launching there in late summer of 2019. The next step will be to expand to further cities.
How can people participate?
We have just launched a crowd-investing campaign on Companisto. That’s the largest crowd-investing platform in the German-speaking countries. You can find out more about our delivery service and our business model on our profile page. From there, it’s easy to invest in a few simple steps.