Pep & Lekker Sets its stall out to accommodate more positive - Vegan-Friendly Times
On the eve of World Vegan Day (November 1st) and World Vegan Month (November) it’s worth noting that a recent survey conducted by comparethemarket.com suggested that there are now some 3.5m active vegans (7% of the population) in the UK, a seismic shift of some 700% in less than two years.
Cast your net a little wider and you’ll see that a significant 14% of the UK population would proudly classify themselves as vegetarian, whilst even growing numbers of die-hard meat lovers are actively seeking out a more thoughtful flexitarian lifestyle (reduced meat intake) to reflect the recalibrating of their ethical (animal welfare), dietary (personal health),or lifestyle (brass tack economics) values.
It would certainly appear that contrary to what any Waitrose magazine editor might suggest that veganism is truly on the move, making the perilous journey from niche to mainstream food movement.
Small Biz Focus
One of the lead drivers behind veganism’s resurgence has been the growing numbers of artisan start-ups who’re willing to support an increasingly upbeat vegan cause, small, single-minded food specialists who insist on best-in-class ingredients and minimal processing methods because their focus is to show that there’s no reason whatsoever to stifle taste buds or settle for mild-mannered flavours & textures.
The Birth of Pep & Lekker (better-for-you snacking, one healthier seed at a time)
Pep & Lekker is just such a nimble-minded business set up my former corporate lawyer, Susan Gafsen, who became convinced that a resurgent vegan aisle could benefit greatly from a back-to-basics product portfolio that focused solely on full-bodied flavours and all-natural, everyday ingredients.
According to Susan, ‘The very nature of my legal career meant I spent a significant chunk of my day listening and advising successful entrepreneurs about the various pioneering projects they were launching and whilst I didn’t realize it at the time I suspect a small part of me was rather envious.
The touch-paper moment for me to enter the vegan fray arrived when I noticed that my lazy, time-poor son’s health was starting to lapse. The more I rummaged through the available products I hoped might improve his poorly balanced diet, the more I realized just how many products were either trumpeting spurious health claims or employing ‘foggy ingredients’ that were anything but all-natural!’
Entering the artisan food & drink movement was certainly a terrifying departure from a successful career in law. Pep & Lekker’s non-negotiable focus was to assemble a new range of seed-inspired snacks that could either be munched on-the-go or dunked in flavoursome dips.
The outcome was an award-winning 3-strong collection of magnificently seedy snacks that were snapped up this Autumn by Ocado & Planet Organic; 3 deliciously distinct snacks that marry a minimum of 5 different seeds with a signature ‘superfood’ (Wheatgrass, Maca or Brahmi)that has been cunningly bound by apple to avoid the need for any unwanted oils or unsavoury sugars. The result is a tasty, low calorie baked bite with a seriously satisfying snap.