Food & Drink

Is this the future? Frozen vegan pizza hits the UK

How many times do you finish work late, dread the thought of cooking so you head to the supermarket scan the aisles for something quick, healthy, vegan and something that can be shoved in the oven and into your mouth in less than half an hour? How many times do you wish you could find in those aisles a vegan pizza? Frozen Vegan Pizza. It is the stuff of dreams. The solution to all bad work days, empty fridges and tired souls. One Planet Pizza, a UK based company based in Norwich is making those dreams into reality, one margherita at a time. VC spoke with the founder of the brand…

Hi Mike! Frozen Vegan Pizza! It seems so obvious and yet… so ingenious! How did you come up with the idea for the business?

Well I have been vegan for over 30 years now, and all that time I have not be able to buy a decent vegan pizza, so finally I talked through the idea with a vegan friend called Tanya and my son Joe and we decided to do something about it! Our aim at One Planet Pizza is to be the number one frozen vegan pizza brand in the UK (and then Europe). We want to bring a vegan alternative to one of the most popular fast foods in the world eventually through mainstream retailers. We wanted to achieve this by developing a range of high quality, healthy and great tasting pizzas in as ethical and fun way as possible through a company funded by the community it seeks to serve.

One of the remarkable things in your business is your ethical transparency. Yours is a company made up of vegans, funded and supported by vegans. How do you feel about making socially responsible choices while also trying to start a succesful business?

Pizza is the world’s number one fast food, and yet there isn’t a vegan pizza brand out there. If we can get just 0.01% of the frozen market, that’s still a million pound business. But equally important is giving vegans, veggies and other people that want to eat a more ethically and healthily an option: a choice as to the sort of pizza they buy. We have over 100 investors, all of whom are vegan or vegetarian, or at least “veggie curious”, and its great to have that network of supporters in place, as we hope the investors will act as real advocates of and advisors to, the business going forward.

Tell us about the origins of One Planet, you’ve only been around for less than a year? What have been some of the biggest challenges (and highlights) of your time setting up the company?

The company has now been producing pizzas for just 4 months, but we already are in 15 shops around the country and are producing more than 300 pizzas a week. The other exciting news is that we have hit our target in terms of our crowdfunding campaign, in fact it was hit within 24 hours of going public. With this funding, we are now looking at building a new production kitchen that will up our capacity to over 1000 pizzas a week, and that’s when we will need to develop our distribution network nationally. Plus we have already had interest from Spain, Australia and America.

The key challenges to setting up the business have really been around distribution. A lot of health/wholefood shops are fairly small and lack storage, particulary for frozen goods. So we have to come up with a way of distributing fairly small deliveries, to a large network of small, independent shops. One of the exciting things we are looking at to overcome this challenge is home delivery. This seems to be the way forward so look out for this in the near future!

At this point for a good 5 minutes all I was thinking about was One Planet home delivered pizza…

Tell us about the range of pizzas you offer and who comes up with the recipes?

At the moment we are distributing a a range of 4 “classic” pizzas, but we already are looking at a gluten free option and some seasonal specials. We have a small team of people that trial the new pizzas and then some local shops where we can test them!

And yes dear reader, I asked (implored) them when Scotland would get a pizza the action (sorry/not sorry) The answer is through The Vegan Kind and in Kircaldy (Health Food and More). You can follow the growth of One Planet and find out all about their recipes and ingredients on their site at www.oneplanetpizza.com. Check out their insta exploits at @oneplanetpizza