Meet the maker: BOL

On a mission to 'inspire the world to eat more plants' Paul Brown and his team at BOL made the big decision to go completely veggie with their range of healthy readymade veg pots and salads this year.

Meet the maker: BOL

On a mission to 'inspire the world to eat more plants' Paul Brown and his team at BOL made the big decision to go completely veggie with their range of healthy readymade veg pots and salads this year. 'We're the first FMCG brand to drop all meat and fish from our range and go plant-based,' says Paul. 'Given half of our space in grocery was taken up by these dishes at the back end of 2016, it was a pretty scary commercial decision but is going to be worth it over time.' In fact, Paul believes that the market for veggie food products is becoming increasingly mainstream, and he says the decision makes sense on ethical, commercial and even personal levels.
'The closer I got to the industrialisation of meat and the more I learnt about the health, environmental and animal welfare issues that surround our meat consumption, the clearer it became that something has to change,' he says. 'I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can help drive that change and it's something that the entire team feels strongly about.
'This isn't about promoting an exclusively vegetarian lifestyle. It's about people making small changes so that they eat a little less meat and a little more veg. The number of "flexitarians" has risen from 10 per cent to 50 per cent since 1990, so our market is not as niche as you might think.'
Paul worked for 14 years at Innocent and launched the Innocent Veg Pots in 2008, but when the company was bought by Coca-Cola, Paul decided to start his own brand, believing the veg pots were 'unfinished business'. After spending months in the kitchen with chefs and nutritionists, the BOL Veg Pots – based on the team's favourite dishes from around the world – were launched, followed in 2016 by the on-the-go Salad Jars, inspired by Paul's travels in California.
'Compared to the 1980s, we're spending less than half the time cooking from scratch. We believe that convenience should not equal compromise, so at BOL we decided to create a range of totally natural dishes that shoppers could grab on the way to and from work, and enjoy in the knowledge that BOL both tastes good and is healthy too.'
Paul says his personal favourite from the range is the Super Green Salad Jar. 'It contains chargrilled sprouts, broccoli, fresh spinach, feta cheese, lots of quinoa and a lemon, mint and spirulina dressing. Everyone who eats it cannot believe how good it tastes for something that is so healthy,' he says. 'It is so good to see the surprise on people's faces!'

• Find out more about the full range at www.bolfoods.com.

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