Download as MP3
(If this link opens a new player, click the three dots on the player and choose ‘download’)

037 - How to scale-up your vegan business

How do you scale up a business? When you talk to the founders of vegan companies who have successfully scaled up their businesses, you start to see a lot in common with how they did it. The testing they did to find the thing that they could scale, how they interacted with their early customers and the mindset of being open to following opportunities and going where the business took them (not to mention making the connections needed to be in the right place when those opportunities came along in the first place).

In today’s session, we look at how three vegan businesses successfully scaled up and what we can learn from how they did it, including vegan craft-ale Fungtn, Better Nature Tempeh and Miami Burger – who first started out thinking they were in the restaurant business but soon found the secret to their success laid somewhere else entirely.

Share this episode:


Latest episodes:

If you have a vegan business, you have found your tribe

Here to support and inspire you to build a successful vegan business. Create a free account to get access to our weekly content – or join our paid monthly membership to get access to our full support community and online events.

Full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to episode thirty-seven of The Vegan Business Tribe Podcast with myself David Pannell, co-founder of Vegan Business Tribe.  And if you have a vegan business, or are thinking of starting one, then Vegan Business Tribe is here to support and inspire you not just to build a vegan business, but to build a SUCCESSFUL vegan business.

And I just want to do a massive call-out to all our Vegan Business Tribe members, especially those who have been so active in our Community Hub on Slack where we’ve been having discussions from everything from running Facebook adverts through to setting up vegan book clubs – and if you only listen to this podcast but you are not yet a member of Vegan Business Tribe, then you are missing out the vast majority of our content, our community and support.  It’s only £12.99 a month to be a member with no minimum term, which as I like to say, works out about the same as buying a cup of coffee a week from your local coffee shop.  And by being a member, not only are you making sure that I can keep recording this podcast every week, and keep championing vegan businesses, you also get full access to the website, all our weekly content, our marketing course on how to promote a vegan business and our regular online networking events and meet-ups with other members.  Because we know sometimes when you have a vegan business it can feel like you’re doing it all on your own.  You’re not.  You’re really not.  There are thousands of other ethical vegans just like you running their own businesses worldwide and if you want to connect with some of them, while at the same time getting support from myself and Lisa, then go check out the website and consider joining us. 

We also have a number of patrons who are members that pay that bit more to support our mission, and I just wanted to also do a quick call out to: Nick Mayhew who runs VFin and Peak Business Finance – so if you are looking to raise capital for a vegan business, maybe you need to buy equipment or need to take out a loan, then take a look at and know you will be dealing with a great ethical vegan just like you.  And our latest patron is Keith Lesser from Vegan Accountants – yes, we actually have vegan accountants now.  And Keith is always giving great advice to our members in our community hub, just take a look at to book a chat with Keith and find out more.

Now – there are certain questions that we get asked a lot about at Vegan Business Tribe – you know, the kind of questions that get asked over and again – and one of them is about scaling up a business.  There does seem to be a chasm, both in practicality and in understanding, about how you take a business from where you are now to serving a mass market.  For example, you might be making a product at the moment, maybe even in your own kitchen, so how do you go from where you are now to getting that product into independent retailers, or even into supermarkets and beyond?  Now, I will start with a disclaimer – covering the topic of scaling up a business in just one half-hour podcast episode isn’t going to answer everyone’s questions!  The actual steps your business will need to take to scale up will be unique to you.  Different types of businesses have different challenges to scaling up.  For example a tech business – so maybe you’re developing a vegan app – will have very different challenges in scaling up than a food business will have.  So if by the end I’ve not answered YOUR question, then come find me on LinkedIn, just search for David Pannell, or come join us on Vegan Business Tribe and we’ll book in a 1-2-1 to talk about your particular business.

But what we can do in a session like this is look at the foundations of how businesses scale up – the things that all companies who manage to grow to serve a mass-market have in common, and what they had to do first.  And, it might not all work quite as you think.  Because one of the reasons we’re talking about scaling up today is because we have just released our brand new scale-up interview series on the Vegan Business Tribe website where we talked to three successful vegan businesses about how they scaled up. First, we interviewed Zoey Henderson, the founder of Fungtn alcohol-free beer about how she went from spotting a gap in the market during the first lock-down to having a business that is selling more than a thousand units a month – all in under a year. I then spoke with Chris Kong, an Oxford University graduate and the co-founder of Better Nature Tempeh which you can buy in more than 200 retailers across the UK, about how they launched and scaled up really quickly.  In fact they hit their first 50 retailers in less than six months from launch.  And finally, we interviewed the founder of Miami Burger, Tom Bursnall, about how they got their frozen burger product into the supermarkets, in hundreds of Holland & Barret stores across the UK, listed with online retailers like Ocado and on the menu in chain restaurants such as Turtle Bay.

Now, you will have noticed that those three companies are all food and drink companies, and if you do indeed make a food or drink product, as many vegan companies do, then you will get that bit more insight from these three interviews.  But what really surprised me when I watched all the interviews back to write up my own notes is that the industry you are in actually doesn’t really matter.  The basic foundations of scaling up a business (or maybe more importantly of creating a business that is designed to go mass-market) are the same no matter what industry you are in. And that’s what we’re going to concentrate on today.  However, the series on the website has over three hours of video content and is available to all Vegan Business Tribe members to watch back as part of their monthly membership, so once we’ve finished this session make sure to head over to the website to watch them in full – because you will learn a lot from these three people.  And this is a really important thing to remember – the best people to learn any business skills from are the people who have actually done it.  If you are sat there scratching your head not knowing how to scale up your business, or how to market your business, or just how to GROW your business – then don’t just sit there.  There are PLENTY of people who have done exactly what you are trying to do.  You do not have to re-invent the wheel, you just need to go out there and find them.  So that’s what we’ve done with this new scale-up series on the VBT website, we’ve gone out and found three vegan businesses who have successfully scaled up their businesses and spent an hour with each finding out how – so head over to the website to watch a preview.

OK, so you might already have a business that you want to scale up – you MIGHT be making a vegan food product, or you might be offering a vegan service or you might even be running a charity or not for profit – where do you start?  Well you might be expecting me to say you need to start by creating your business plan and working out your strategy, but then you would obviously be mistaking me for a bank manager!  Now, this might be quite a controversial opinion, but I hate business plans with a passion.  Yes, you need to plan a strategy – but a 50 page doorstop of a document that gets quickly flicked through by your bank manager and then sits in a drawer for three years won’t help you grow a business.  A business plan, and especially if you are creating a business plan before you have actually launched a business, is no more than a guess of what you think might happen. And if I have learnt anything from my 20 plus years of building my own businesses and working with many successful companies, is that you very rarely find success in the place you thought you would find it.  The entrepreneur journey is not a straight line, and so often I’ve seen people find success because of a chance encounter, or by learning something new after they got a product to market and observed how people interacted with it.  And the most successful businesses I have ever worked with had their business plans on a single sheet of paper that they could stick to the wall.  Because you need to be flexible with your plan, you have to go where the business is and follow the opportunities as you discover them.

And this is something that came up in all three interviews we did with founders for our scale-up series, they all said this exact same thing.  Having the right entrepreneur mindset is crucial to growing and scaling a business.  You have to follow the opportunities and be open to receiving them when they come.  Let’s take a look at Miami Burger.  Now Tom is a great guy – he’s as ethical a vegan as you will ever find and he launched Miami Burger not really to make money, he already had another successful business, but he launched it to simply try and get healthier, better quality fast food to the public.  It was something he wanted for himself.  And Miami Burger, that you can now buy across the UK, either frozen through retailers or on the menu of restaurants, first actually started out as a fast-food restaurant themselves.  They positioned themselves as a healthier, more ethical version of McDonald’s and never led with the vegan message even though everything was vegan on the menu. And originally, the idea was to grow the business as a fast-food chain.  Tom had a vision of a Miami Burger in every city throughout the UK – but that isn’t how it worked out: the restaurant had a loyal following but never particularly made much money.  Now, it would have been easy to just keep running the restaurant because that’s what they thought the business was, waiting for this explosion of growth and new customers that would have never come – but Tom used it as a learning experience.  He used the restaurant to really understand what people wanted and to test the concept. And what he realised was that the restaurant itself wasn’t the product – it was the healthy burger (that tasted like it really shouldn’t be healthy) that they had developed that was the ACTUAL product.  Now, they could have just stuck to the original plan and said: “well, to get this product to more people we need to open more restaurants”… or they could separate the two.  And that’s what they did.  They started supplying other restaurants in town with their burger on the back of customer demand for more restaurants to offer plant-based options and Tom realised this was a far better way to build a business: why take decades to get to 30 restaurants and take on all that risk when they could instead sell their products through other people’s.

And it was the right decision.  The restaurant didn’t survive in the long term, but the brand and the burgers did.  And this is a hard decision for anyone to make with their business – coming to terms that the idea you first start out with might not be the idea that you will find success with.  But until you actually get a product into the hands of customers, you don’t actually have all the information you need to create a business that will scale.  Sometimes, the answer to scaling up isn’t to scale up the business you currently think you have.

Now, so often when I’m writing these podcasts I feel like I’m popping people’s bubbles and being a bit blunt, but if you’re looking to build a business that will scale then it’s important to get started with the business as soon as you possibly can and realise that you are starting out without all the answers.  You are going to have to pick them up along the way.  If you worry too much about the journey in its entirety then you will never get the project off the ground.  And again, this can be a surprise to hear but you will hear the same message again and again from anyone who has built a successful business. We think that people go to business school, they spend six months creating a plan, they go out and find funding then launch this perfect business that is designed to go mass market and that just happens.  And that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Chris Kong, the co-founder of Better Nature, tells me in his interview on the VBT website that the mindset of any good entrepreneur should be to try and kill an idea as soon as possible.  Now, that sounds really counter-intuitive, but before you commit five or ten years of your life to trying to scale up something, you need to do everything you can to make sure your idea isn’t destined for a dead end.  Most ideas do fail.  So the quicker you can find out if yours is one of them, the quicker you can move onto the next thing that might have a better chance.  And what is also counter-intuitive is this idea that the best way to scale a business is to not get too hung-up on scalability right at the start.  Prove your business first.  Your first 100 customers are the most important customers you will ever have.  Bend over backwards for them, treat each as if they are your only customer and they will teach you everything you need to know about your product or service and what people want.  Get your new products into their hands as soon as possible and get their feedback, get them to be part of your journey, make them part of your business growth, and if you treat them right then they will bring more people to you.  Worry about scaling up only once that happens, because scale will happen organically if you build a loyal band of customers who rave about you to all their friends and contacts.

So, what we’re starting to work out is that the secret to scaling a business isn’t actually what you think it is.  It’s not about just taking your business that, perhaps, isn’t doing that great at the moment and thinking that more sales in the answer. It’s about testing, it’s about getting your product or service into the hands of as many people as you can and finding the thing that naturally starts to scale itself – then focusing on that.  Like Miami Burger, it wasn’t the restaurant that people wanted, it was the burger.  And had they tried to scale the restaurant they would have likely soon been out of business.  Like Better Nature Tempeh, Chris found that it wasn’t tempeh that people wanted (in fact most people have never heard of tempeh) they wanted a meat-free alternative to familiar products like BBQ ribs or mince which is what Better Nature started making, but out of tempeh.

And it’s also just like when Lisa and I started to build Vegan Business Tribe.  If we had built what we were actually planning to build then you wouldn’t be listening to this podcast now!  Instead, we built up an audience then learnt from that audience the ACTUAL thing they wanted and made that into a community that people would be happy to pay for.  And this is important: if you try to scale the business that you think people want but you have struggled to prove, then you will also struggle to scale it. The biggest problem that most people hit when they try to scale a business is that it’s not been proven or disproven yet.  So your first step to scaling is test, test, test – and if the thing you’re testing isn’t taking off then test something else until you find the thing that does.  And be open that it might not be your core product or business as it stands at the moment that is the thing that’s going to scale-up.

OK, so once you HAVE actually found the thing that’s starting to scale – so it’s starting to take off on its own, you’ve not been able to kill the idea no matter how much you have tried – then how do you take that thing and scale up your business to take that product to more people?  Well, especially if you are making a physical product (so if you are making food or a product you can wear or hold in your hand) then money is going to be one of the first questions you come up against.  And I said right at the start, there are some questions that we get asked a lot at Vegan Business Tribe – and getting funded is probably the biggest one!  And again, I’m back to feeling like I’m going to be bursting some people’s bubbles here, but funding doesn’t work like you think it does.  People think that they can come up with a great idea, and the idea alone is good enough to get someone to give you money to implement it and scale it up.  And it isn’t.  The vast majority of small businesses start out by funding themselves.  You might get a small grant, or be able to crowdfund a small part – but usually, getting funding means getting a bank loan or using savings, or even maxing out some credit cards to give you some capital.  Because very VERY few investors will invest in just an idea, even if you are vegan and they are vegan.  There’s a rule in business that says you should only ever put money into something that has been proven to work so that you can make it work bigger and better.  Contradictory to popular opinion, investors are not betting people.  They will only put money either into a business that has already been proven, so that they can help it grow further and make more money (meaning they can get a better return on their investment) or they invest in businesses that are set up by people who have already grown successful businesses in the past and they think are going to do it again.  So unless you have one of those two things, so you’ve proven your business is already making good money and with their investment it will make a lot more, or you’ve already got a string of successful businesses behind you, then you’re going to have a really hard time getting an investor interested yet.  Again, sorry to burst your bubble.  If you need money to scale up then you’re going to need a plan B.  And that might be a loan, or a family member or friend and that makes it all the more important that you have first tested and got the business making some money first.  And that’s not a bad thing.  As I said, you should only ever put money into something that you have already proven is working to make it work better – and if it’s your own money that you’re putting in then that will make you REALLY take that philosophy to heart.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start building up your contacts to start looking for people who might be able to help you in the future.  Building up good, high-quality contacts in the industry you are working in is really important.  So many businesses I know that have successfully scaled up have done so because of a relationship they developed with someone several years earlier, or they had created an encounter because they had put themselves out there amongst people they knew could help.  They had attended all the networking events and used LinkedIn really well to make good connections.  This is something that Zoey, the founder of Fungtn Beer talks about a lot in her interview in our scale-up series. You need to build up a network around you to put yourself in a position to receive opportunities.  And you have to be open to receiving them: Zoey told me of how sometimes she would have 10 Zoom calls a day with people and think she’s got nothing out of any of the conversations, that she’d just completely wasted her day, until weeks or even months later one of them turned into something.  Or that she’s got something out of a call that wasn’t the thing she went into the call expecting – such as being invited to get her brand showcased at a festival or getting a personal invitation to a pitching event that she didn’t know about.

So, if you want to scale a business then you need to put yourself out there, and that means developing a tough skin for the rejections because, amongst those rejections, will be the opportunities also.  Or it might be that you plant a seed that you reap 6 months later.  But, what you must not forget is that, as a vegan company, you have something that other businesses don’t have.  You have a shortcut to other people who have the same ethics as you.  There are now vegan investment funds like Beyond Animal and VegCapital who are picking up vegan brands and helping them scale – once they have proven their product and market.  So reaching out and getting to know the people involved with these funds and in this sector now is not a bad idea. And because you are vegan and they are vegan, you will find that you can use your shared ethics to make connections that you couldn’t make in any other sector.  You can, and should, use the ethical and vegan connection you have to reach out and get to know other companies and professionals who can help your brand.  Don’t go straight in asking them for help or money, just ask them for advice.  At best they may offer to help when the time is right, at worst you will have made a top-quality new connection and come away with some insight you didn’t have before.  LinkedIn is your friend here, and it’s really underused by so many companies, but you will find that amazing people who are making lots happen in the vegan business scene are only a couple of clicks away. That might be people who can help with manufacturing, people who might want to stock your products or just people who have already done what you are trying to do and are happy to give back to another vegan business who is a few years behind them.

LinkedIn is also the place to go to find buyers if you’re trying to get into retail.  And it’s worth us just taking a few moments to talk about getting into retailers because if you sell a physical product then breaking into retail can often play a big part in scaling up.  But if you have never worked with retailers before then it’s not always obvious where to start: do you just pack up what you make into a case and go start knocking on the doors of your local health shops?  Well, you can do that – especially in the early days when you are testing your product out – but be under no illusion that getting into retail is hard.  Staying in retailers is even harder.  Someone might take on your product for a month to see how it sells, but if it doesn’t fly off the shelves they won’t be reordering.

And the key to breaking into retailers is actually by getting picked up by wholesalers first. These are the companies who already supply to hundreds, maybe even thousands of stores and will manage the distribution and relationship with them for you. If you run an independent store then you don’t want to receive lots of invoices from lots of different suppliers and have to order direct from every one of the 200 brands you stock. You don’t want to have deliveries coming every day and people dropping in with boxes of their products morning noon and night – you want to buy all your products from a single wholesaler so you have a single delivery day every week and a single invoice that you have 60 days to pay.  Wholesalers also often give extra rebates on the entire order or cash-back offers, so retailers know they will get a product even cheaper than buying direct from the manufacturers.

So identifying the wholesalers that your target retailers use is really important, and you can do this simply by asking them.  Walk into a shop you’d like to be stocked in and ask them who they buy their products from.  And again this is why it’s really important to build up your network early and learn how to tell your story in a really short, concise way for when you need to introduce your company.  Better Nature Tempeh actually got approached by their first wholesaler while they were at events like the Just V Show when testing their products on the public.  Nakd Bars, who sold the business for more than £60m, spent years exhibiting at shows like VegFestUK in their early days.  These are the kind of places where buyers hang out looking for new exciting products, but they might need to see you a few times before they approach you to make sure you’re hanging around and are established.  And once Chris and Better Nature Tempeh did get into their first wholesaler, they then drove around every single shop that wholesaler supplied with samples, letting the retailers know that they could now buy their product from the wholesaler they already used. And if they agreed to take on the product, Chris and his team would do everything they could to support that retailer and draw more orders through the wholesaler.  They would go down and spend the morning at the store giving away samples outside, and when they did this the store would sell out their entire week’s stock in half a day meaning they had to order more from the wholesaler. They give the retailer exciting display material, leaflets and recipe cards to help them sell more of the product. Not only did this strategy create real momentum and build up a personal relationship with the store owner – but creating this strong pull-through with their first wholesaler allowed them to then take very impressive sales figures to the next wholesaler they pitched at.  Better Nature Tempeh are listed by just 8 wholesalers, but those 8 wholesalers service the more than 200 retailers the product is sold at.  And it’s far easier to market to 8 companies than trying to individually break into 200 separate retailers!

Scaling up a business also comes with a lot of problems and compromises that you might not have thought of before. Even if you are selling a service, increasing the number of customers means expanding your resources and maybe even your staff – and while creating jobs is good, there’s nothing that takes money from your bottom line and takes time from you doing your job than employing people.  Working with larger companies on bigger projects also brings its own issues, such as them demanding a higher level of service and quicker responses. So unless you have experience of running a workforce and dealing with larger customers you might want to keep testing until you find a part of your business that can scale without having to increase resources.

Your brand also has to be a lot stronger, probably than it is now, when you scale-up the business.  Have you ever walked down a supermarket aisle and seen a product that looks like the label was designed in Microsoft Word?  No, of course not. That’s because branding plays a huge part in someone engaging with your company or picking up your product if they don’t know you yet.  And if you are scaling a business then you are going to be relying on convincing people who don’t know you to try you. Having a strong brand is as important as the quality of the product you are selling and it might be that addressing this becomes a large part of your initial scaling-up budget, especially if you are trying to get into retailers.  They need to see a product that is going to absolutely jump off the shelf – and that was a big part of all three brands we interviewed for the VBT site, they all had products with really cool, pick-up-able brands, and those brands were all developed right at the start.

You’re also, almost certainly, going to have to make compromises when you scale.  If you are making a food product then there is going to be a big difference between something you make in your own kitchen and something made in a factory.  Retailers will ask for a shelf life of at least 6 months if not a year or longer for them to take on your product.  And to achieve that you might need to add a preservative or citrus juice, or do you have to sterilise it, pasteurise it or filter it?  All this will change the product.  Or the cool custom-made packaging you really want is only available if you order 10 thousand units and that’s more than you have sold since you launched the business!  But sometimes, you need to get into the mentality that you are building a business that is going to scale and that means making compromises now that you can then work on rolling back later.

And when it comes to production, looking at the three founders we interviewed for the series, none of them ever thought about trying to make the product themselves, because they knew that was always going to be a barrier to scaling up the business.  Zoey from Fungtn Beer knew absolutely nothing about how to make beer when she came up with the idea of creating a vegan alcohol-free beer made from functional mushrooms, and she had no intention of learning.  She wasn’t a hobby home-brewer, she just had a background in the industry and knew there was a market for the product – so her first job was to work with a brewery to develop the product.  Miami Burger got a factory involved in making their burgers when they just had a single restaurant. It meant they didn’t have to employ people to make them in the restaurant and they were consistent every time.  It also meant though that they had to fund the product being made up-front.  And this can be a huge hidden cost – if someone else is manufacturing your product for you then they will want paying upfront. You will need to commit to minimum order quantities for your first run which might be a potential big financial outlay.  And their minimum order also might be a lot more than you need right now so be prepared THAT might incure a cost also.  Miami Burger had to pay for frozen storage of all the products they didn’t yet need, but they were also grateful for the two-year shelf life they had designed in too!

And I think that the final point – that we’ve been talking about a lot at Vegan Business Tribe, but it was reinforced even more by interviewing Zoey, Chris and Tom, was that businesses need to go beyond just their vegan niche if they are going to scale.  The majority of Better Nature Tempeh customers are not vegan, and in fact, vegan consumers are not even their target market.  When Lisa and I first set up our vegan consultancy to help companies better understand the vegan marketplace – it was the high street brands and non-vegan food manufacturers that started contracting us to work with them. If you want to go mass-market, then it’s really important that you develop a product, a service or a brand that cross-sells beyond just one niche.  For example, Fungtn Beer attracts the craft beer enthusiasts, people who like to drink alcohol-free on occasion and people who like to consume functional mushrooms for health benefits – and before you ask, no the beer doesn’t get you high.  It’s not THOSE kind of mushrooms.  So, again, you really need to be really open to who your customer is and also be open to finding an audience you never expected to sell to – because they might actually become your best and biggest audience.  The plant-based market IS becoming more competitive – especially as the large brands can cross-subsidise to bring down the sales price of their plant-based lines – but it also means these markets are getting more mainstream, meaning your slice of the pie will get bigger too.

Right, let’s just run back over what we’ve discussed in this session on scaling up a vegan business.  And as I said right at the start, make sure you go check out the full series of interviews with Zoey, Chris and Tom in our courses and collections section of the Vegan Business Tribe website where we go into a lot more depth on all these topics.

  1. The basic foundations of scaling up a business are the same no matter what industry you are in. There are PLENTY of people who have done exactly what you are trying to do.  You do not have to re-invent the wheel, you just need to go out there and learn from them.
  2. The entrepreneur journey is not a straight line, you very rarely find success in the place you thought you would find it.  You have to follow the opportunities and be open to receiving them when they come.  Look at Miami Burger, they started out thinking they were in the restaurant business. They weren’t.  Sometimes, the answer to scaling up isn’t to scale up the business you currently think you have.
  3. The mindset of any good entrepreneur should be to try and kill an idea as soon as possible.  Before you commit five or ten years of your life to trying to build something, you need to do everything you can to make sure your idea isn’t destined for a dead end.
  4. The biggest problem that a lot of people hit when they try to scale a business is that it’s not been proven or disproven yet.  So your first step to scaling is test, test, test – and if the thing you’re testing isn’t taking off then test something else until you find the thing that does.
  5. The vast majority of small businesses start out by funding themselves. Investors are not betting people, and they will only put money either into a business that has already been proven (so that they can help it grow further and make more money) or in a business that has been set up by someone they know has already grown successful businesses in the past. If you have neither of these, then you’re going to need a plan B for funding.
  6. Start making contacts in your industry now, and develop a thick skin for rejections.  Remember, you might think you’ve spent days wasting your time, but then someone comes back to you weeks (or even months) later with an opportunity.
  7. If you are wanting to break into retailers, you are usually better to try and get taken on by wholesalers who will manage the logistics for you with the individual stores, but you need to create pull-through so that these stores keep ordering.  Put in the hard work to create the momentum yourself.
  8. Scaling up brings compromises – compromises to your ingredients, your processes and your overheads.  If you are not set up to employ more staff for instance, then maybe think of a way to scale up without having to hugely increase the resources needed inhouse.  You don’t need to make the products yourself, you might not need to employ your own staff.
  9. Get your brand right early. Your product needs to look like it has already scaled-up and successful.  Don’t start out looking for funding or retailers if your brand, your packaging or your website was put together in Microsoft Word, no-one will take you seriously.  And that might mean an early investment in getting all that sorted out first.
  10. Can your company sell beyond just one niche if you want to go mass-market?  Be open to who your customers may be.  Remember that all three founders I interviewed for our series told me they had huge non-vegan followings.

So the big takeaway from all this is there is no turn-key solution to scaling up your vegan business, even if you are absolutely loaded!   Well-funded brands appear and disappear overnight without managing to get any traction on a mass market.  So-called ‘overnight success’ vegan products like Oatly and Beyond Meat are more than 20 years old.  It will be hard work, but the ‘green pound’ is really strong right now; ‘vegan’ makes good business sense both to founders and investors.

As I said, don’t just take my word for it – there is nothing like listening to the people who have gone out and done it for understanding the work that is needed – but also that it’s very doable. Do go to the website and watch the interviews with Fungtn Beer, Better Nature Tempeh and Miami Burger to hear their story of how they did it, you can also watch my introduction too.  And if you’re not a member of Vegan Business Tribe yet – well, you’ve got right to the end of the podcast and you’re still listening so you’ve obviously got an interest, so drop me an email on and tell me what’s stopping you getting involved and getting access to even more help and info.

And on that note, we’re just about wrapped up – but before I let you go I do genuinely have one favour to ask.  If you find this podcast really useful, and like I said you’ve listened to the end so don’t pretend you’re not interested, then it would really help us out if you could either leave a 5-star review or a thumbs up if your platform lets you, or if you can actually share the podcast with your own contacts.

Lisa and I don’t believe that it should be ‘vegan’ businesses that should have the label, it should be companies who are not that should have to carry a warning.  And to make that a reality our mission is to help skill-up vegan businesses so that we can get to a vegan world quicker.  If you can help us share that mission and message, either by sharing this podcast, or coming and joining us at then we’re going to make

If you’re feeling flush, or if your business wants to support the vegan business scene, then talk to us about becoming a patron for £99 a month and see if we can give you a bit of visibility in return.

So that’s it, thank you so much for giving me your time to listen, I always hugely appreciate it – and I will see you on the next one.

Subscribe to our weekly email!

Join our mailing list to receive free content, podcast episodes, offers and invites to exclusive events!  Unsubscribe at any time in a couple of clicks.