The fact that it’s been a challenging past year-and-a-half makes hearing an inspiring local success story all the better. Launched during COVID, Vegano Foods is Vancouver’s first 100% plant-based meal-kit delivery service and online marketplace—and it’s flourishing, thanks to the vision and execution of Kaylee Astle and Conor Power. We chatted with the co-founders to find out more—and give you a chance to win a $200 prize pack! —Vita Daily
When and why did you launch Vegano? What do you offer, and what makes you different/unique?
CP: The concept of Vegano dawned on me about a year ago, when I was preparing a meal kit with a close friend and vegan. When I asked whether there were any plant-based meal kits on the market, I was surprised to learn that there were virtually no alternatives for vegan meal kits. Knowing that many meal-kit companies still processed animal products within their facilities, it didn’t seem right to simply substitute vegan ingredients into an existing meal kit. I knew that there had to be other people who felt the same way, people who want to live healthier lifestyles by limiting or cutting out animal products and who want to support a company whose values and vision resonated with them.
Plant-based eating is certainly growing in buzz-iness; can you expand on what exactly the term means?
KA: Many consumers believe they have to make sacrifices when they eat plant-based meals. This just simply isn’t true, and Vegano wants to show Canadians that plant-based meals can be delicious, filling and nutritious. We are targeting a demographic that wants to consume more plant-based foods, but needs help with recipes and techniques along the way. On a personal note, I was born with an intolerance to dairy, so my family often used plant-based alternatives in many of our meals. I’m excited to help more Canadians experience the benefits of a plant-based diet, even if it’s only a few days of the week.
What does it take to eat plant based, and how can Vegano help make this endeavour easier?
Vegano’s mission isn’t to make everyone 100% plant based; instead, we’re trying to encourage people to strive for a plant-based-first lifestyle.
Would you say your meal kits are for seasoned plant-based eaters, or newbies?
Both! We offer a wide range of meals that seasoned plant-based eaters will enjoy, but they are not difficult to make so it’s perfect for newbies!
Describe some of your delicious plant-based meals/products to us. What can we expect to eat?
Here at Vegano Foods, our culinary team works tirelessly to create unique vegan options for our customers that encompass a healthy and informed lifestyle. Our meal options are more than just vegan. We build each one around three core concepts: zero waste, natural ingredients and dedication. Instead of cooking up your everyday fare and making simple vegan substitutions, we focus on creating an entirely delicious meal that is made completely from fresh and natural ingredients from scratch right here in our kitchen. We focus on enhancing the amazing flavours that nature already gives us and creating a meal kit experience that is uniquely Vegano.
Top tips for going plant based?
Take it one step at a time. Introduce plant-based meals a few days in the week. Try new products like tempeh, nutritional yeast, a flax egg, etc. Also, sign up for Vegano, and plant-based living will automatically get easier 😉
Entrepreneurialism isn’t for the faint of heart at the best of times; add a global pandemic to the equation and it can seem near impossible! How did you do it? Any advice to other startups/dreamers?
Building a team of like-minded individuals is challenging during COVID, when we aren’t able to participate in in-person team-building activities and collaborative exercises but, luckily, we have been able to build a strong team, and that has definitely been the key to our success.
How does Vegano keep sustainability in mind, and give back to the community?
The team at Vegano believes that all organizations should play a role in the communities in which they operate. Although we only launched this past January, we already have a number of programs and initiatives in the works, including:
- Plant-based & Less Waste: Vegano has a zero-waste policy in our kitchens; any leftover food at their production facility is used to make soups or sauces, leaving our kitchen completely empty, and ready for the next week’s delivery boxes.
- Benefit Corporation (BCorp): To join the 1,000 global companies that are currently BCorps, Vegano had to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Do you have a favourite Vegano meal?
KA: The Violet Bowl, with brown rice, cabbage, cucumber, tofu and a delicious miso beet dressing. This fibre-rich bowl is full of flavour and colour!
CP: Our French Onion Mac & Cheese is creamy, flavourful and the ultimate comfort food, perfect for the whole family!
Win! A $200 Vegano Foods Prize Pack!
Congrats Brendan R. of Surrey, B.C., who will receive a $200 Vegano Foods prize pack: $100 for meal kits and $100 for the online marketplace! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.