The last year has been challenging for all businesses; whether large or small, we’ve all been affected somehow. As companies open up again, we face new hurdles, a lack of staffing and recent consumer trends, so how can we adapt to this new world? Some may suggest the business of plants.
Lauren Lovatt, founder of the Plant Academy shares her story and thoughts on the challenges businesses and plant-based businesses, in particular, are facing.
Plant-based business can be defined in a few ways, starting with a company that focuses on plant-based ingredients, whether food, beverage, cosmetics or otherwise.
I would say that Plant-based goes beyond the ingredients used and into a way of conducting conscious business. It is future thinking and truly aware of its positive and negative impact, whilst always being active in implementing practices to influence and create in sustainable ways.
The Plant Academy vision
For myself, as the founder of Plant Academy, we began with a vision to inspire passion through plants and help more entrepreneurs start plant-based businesses because we saw a lack of indeed targeted courses out there for people wanting to create their conscious concepts. Our Last onsite course, Plant Three, focused on teaching this idea of plant-based business, and 15 months on everything is significantly different, but what is it about Pant based business that shows true agility, sustainability and a vision for the future?
Because of the pandemic trends in sustainability and health are going up tenfold. Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-have to need-to-have in recent years, and although we have seen big businesses needing to up their green credentials, a system change is what is now essential. Plant-based businesses are the link between wanting to change and making it easy for people to consume consciously, not only through good products but through their marketing, placement and aspirational concept curation.
The business of plants overseas
Here in London, Plant-Based businesses are commonplace, but many incredible concepts are emerging overseas to share this vision with people around the world. HOY is Paris’ trailblazing Plant-Based hotel, an idea with a plant-based restaurant, yoga Shala and sustainably focused rooms.
“Hoy is quite a different hotel as we are oriented to wellbeing, an industry which has been evolving and progressing over the past 5-6 years. I think that this year helped people to change their lifestyle and mood quicker and faster. They want to have a good impact on their environment. People are less afraid of wellness practices as they need to turn to natural remedies rather than medicine.” Charlotte Gomez de Orozco, founder of HOY.
The changing hospitality space in the UK
Closer to home, there are many plant-based concepts, like Mother in Hackney Wick, who has gone from café, to shop to veg box scheme and back to thriving business because of their creativity and agility.
“A new range of customers are coming to MOTHER who are curious about the benefits of eating more plants and less meat. The pandemic has given people the chance to slow down, and in turn, think more about their food choices. Whether it’s for their health, the planet, or the animals – eating less meat is a great way to go, and we continue to make delicious alternatives.
We’ve adapted by making our food easy to access throughout the ever-changing hospitality service landscape. Utilizing our Canalside take away hatch and delivery channels, we haven’t had to close for a single day during the lockdown, which seems to have been appreciated by the community” Charlie, Mother Co-Founder.
Even world-renowned restaurants have reconsidered their offer, take the example of Eleven Madison Park, a notable three Michelin star restaurant in New York, which this post-pandemic is reopening vegan.
“When I started thinking in creative ways, I knew we couldn’t go back to what we were doing before. As an expert in this field, I couldn’t ignore all the things happening in the food industry. It’s a fact that it’s not sustainable to continue the way it is. The idea of luxury and the products we think are luxurious has to be rethought, and, in many cases, we’re holding onto old ideas. For me, if there was one time to break free from this and show a different way, it would be now” Daniel Humm ‘we’re back video’.
Ingredients are critical in this time because of the positive impact well-sourced plants have on our planet and how we can think differently about how we grow and our impact on the world. Urban farms, like HARVEST, Organic and biodynamic focused suppliers like Shrub are all part of this system, making sustainable food the priority.
Beyond food, there are people making products, photographers, influencers and beyond all carving their way to share positive plant-based ideas with the world and to add to the business of plants. As we do need to act now, these people and concepts make a new way of living possible for us all.