While the direct-to-consumer model is busy transforming the world, plant-based diets are transforming the way people eat on a global scale. In this Q&A, DTC Daily speaks to Jonathan ‘JP’ Petrides (pictured below), founder & CEO, allplants, a business at the heart of both of these revolutions, to talk about the business’ story so far, from building the team, to how it is looking to develop into the Earth’s most forward thinking food company.
What was your goal when you established allplants?
It started with changing our own food choices and likewise a realisation that every one of the choices we all make everyday, shapes and changes the world we live in. But while humans are (mostly!) wonderful, we’re all incredibly prone to making bad choices all the time, right?
Almost four years ago, Alex and I went on our own personal journeys down the rabbit-hole of learning how fantastic eating more plants can be for our own health and even more for the health of our planet. We were both enjoying trying out eating out more plants, and then all plants – and realised more and more that when we had the time to cook from scratch or could find a niche vegan/veggie restaurant, eating plant-based is a delightful adventure – but as soon as you’re short of time it could feel like a massive sacrifice (to either not eat at all, or not eat well).
As brothers from a big Cypriot family, mealtimes have always been an occasion filled with pleasure and so this need to compromise didn’t sit well for us. And it felt absurd that there was nobody was making it easy for people like us!
So we committed to one simple goal: inspire the next billion plant-powered people. With the food we make and community we build, we want to influence the way we all eat. Food is the key to unlocking impactful change to your health, happiness and relationship with the natural world.
You guys now have 70 employees, but obviously you started out small. How did you go about compiling your team? What were the key competencies you were looking for?
We’ve worked super hard at it – really mobilising everyone we know and expert partners to find the best people (whether they be a chef, engineer, designer or all out hustler), and then designing and running a thorough process to ensure these are allplants people – who share our values and behaviours – at the top of their game, with a (long or short) past of shooting for the stars, who’ll raise all of our games and transform whatever they touch.
We’ve also had the gift of a mission we all deeply and personally care about that it turns out more and more people are on their own journey of discovery into – unleashing the power of plants by making it undeniably delicious, easy and fun. This creates a very authentic energy, which helps us find new team mates with a real zeal to join our us on this exciting journey for a planet-positive future.
And of course we’ve made plenty of mistakes and got incredibly lucky too, to find and bring together such an epic group of allplants peeps.
There are lots of brands who class themselves as ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’. How do you stand out from these businesses with your messaging?
As a B-Corp every decision we make at allplants, however great or small, is one where we consider growth in balance with planetary impact. Switching to a plant-based diet is the most powerful way to reduce your environmental footprint and that’s why we’re fixated on helping people and planet thrive, one forkful at a time.
We’re conscious of the greenwashing that goes on by lots of businesses, but for us, being ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ isn’t a trend, it’s a way of being. It’s also part of the reason we decided to register as a B Corp – to drive a global movement of people and use business as a force for good.
Every one of us can cut their food carbon footprint by 70-80% overnight by switching to a plant-based diet – that’s one of the reasons I made the leap – so we want to make it a no-brainer for the rest of the world!
That’s why we took on the challenge of hand cooking every dish, to do it right. 99% of new food brands create recipes and get existing producers to make it for them, but that’s not good enough. It doesn’t allow us to produce outstanding innovative dishes, and certainly not to re-engineer every step to be more efficient and forward-thinking in our own kitchen. By taking ownership of the full stack we can bring our planet first mission to the table, and produce 21st century food with every touch.
How have you used external funding to help develop the business?
There’s been bucketfuls of support and hugs along the way from family, friends and investors, and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s been part of our adventure. The allplants family has and continues to expand, and we’ve almost delivered over 800,000 delicious plant-based dishes to homes across the country. And most excitingly, we’re only getting started!
What does the future hold for allplants? How do you plan to remain “the earth’s most forward-thinking food company”?
We want to continue changing the way the world eats, exciting people across the UK, and beyond, a forkful of delicious plant-based food at a time. Everyday we’re working on projects that will change the way people think about food, whether it’s the launch of our latest Rainbow Falafel Mezze bowl, or launching allplants installations like our self-checkout freezer in Amazon’s London HQ. There’s so much more we’re plotting, and can’t wait to share it with the world, so watch this space…