Confidential speaks to some of the entrepreneurs behind it...
The global health industry is reportedly set to grow to £632bn by 2021. With veg box subscriptions and sugar-free consumerism dominating social media, aligning purchasing with provenance is becoming increasingly popular.
Leeds may be miles away from wellness meccas like LA, but a network of food and drink start-ups are coming together for a monthly market to get us thinking about where we source ingredients, and the kind of lifestyle we want to achieve.
Called The Green Basket, it aptly takes place at Eat Your Greens bar and restaurant, which promotes high welfare meat and local vegetables. Its focuses on sustainability and avoiding food waste, meanwhile, even extends to making cheese from baristas’ milk froth.
We asked some of this month’s Green Basket producers a few questions on how their values have shaped a budding business…
What inspired you to get started?
Negar, The NuMilk: “I got inspired to make my own nut milk while changing my diet to be more plant-based. I was shocked to see how little nut content was in commercially available products and started searching how to make it myself. I became obsessed with different nut blends, different ratios and different flavourings. I wanted to make sure that my product is by far the best nut milk on the market by using only organic ingredients and a 25% nut content.”
Zach, Sodada Kombucha: “I was eating out with my parents and my mum, who doesn't drink much alcohol, found it really difficult to choose a nice drink from the menu that wasn't packed full of sugar, artificial sweeteners or additives. I figured there needs to be something for people who would like an interesting drink without alcohol, that tasted great, but without all the nasty stuff. Non-alcoholic beer really doesn't cut the mustard.”
What is your most popular product?
Kim, The Happy Caterpillar: “Our carrot cake-flavour rawsome balls always seem to sell out first!”
Negar, The NuMilk: “I would say it’s a tie between our spring seasonal, a creamy lavender cashew-almond milk, and our chocolate milk. Can't go wrong with either one.”
Do you see Leeds as a health conscious city?
Kim, The Happy Caterpillar: “It's certainly among the most conscious cities in the country. There are more and more vegan options and venues available all the time. There's also a great creative scene and a community feeling in Leeds; people are generally open-minded and interested in trying healthier options, which is great.”
Zach, Sodada Kombucha: “Healthy lifestyles choices shouldn't be seen as a trend. Although people fall in and out of their healthy routines, everyone is beginning to see the importance of living and eating well."
What have been the biggest challenges in growing your business?
Zach, Sodada Kombucha: “Starting a food business from scratch is always going to come with challenges; the first soft launch year of 2018 was full of fires to be extinguished and that’s partly why I started Sodada. I love a good problem to solve. It's always difficult approaching new stockists, because you never know how they're going to react to the product, but 40+ stockists opened must mean we're doing something right!”
Kim, The Happy Caterpillar: “Probably just getting used to some of the practicalities of catering and events: estimating footfall, preparing the right amount of products and pricing them appropriately. It's all a learning experience but we've enjoyed it and been able to fine-tune what we deliver more and more as we go.”
Negar, The NuMilk: “The main challenge for us is packaging. As we don't add any preservatives or additives, our best before date is quite short.”
Kim, The Happy Caterpillar: “We plan to have our own cafe in future from which to dish out our rawsome food on a daily basis, but it would also be great if we could stock ready-made rawsome meals or snacks for adults and kids in major supermarkets, offering a healthy alternative to the usual sandwiches and crisps.”
Zach, Sodada Kombucha: “In the North we'd really like to be with Booths, they're a great company with fantastic morals geared towards locally sourced, high quality produce (call me).”
The first Green Basket Market is at Eat Your Greens (42 New York Street, LS2 7DY) 11am-3pm on Sunday 17th February - register for free on eventbrite