Thursday 5th January 2017
The story of how former model-turned entrepreneur Heather Mills started her vegan journey is well known but why did she launch her own VBites café and food brand?
The story of how former model-turned entrepreneur Heather Mills started her vegan journey is well known. After losing her leg in a motorbike accident in 1993, she adopted a plant-based diet to help the healing process. But when she realised how beneficial and delicious this way of eating could be, she wanted to spread the word, and after 20 years cooking and eating vegan, she launched her own VBites café and food brand.
'When we launched the VBites cafés we wanted them to be family-friendly and the food to be simple and fun, so we came up with a range of dishes that would appeal to everyone – adults, children, meat-eaters, veggies and vegans alike,' she says. 'And many of the dishes we produce for the café have now found their way into the VBites Foods range.'
Heather is very hands-on when it comes to recipe development for her brand and says coming up with new ideas is her forte. 'I'm forever trying out new ideas in my kitchen at home,' she says. 'I'm always on the lookout for new or previously overlooked ingredients, particularly those with nutritional and health benefits. I think it's our innovation and creativity, and the depth and breadth of our range, that sets us apart – particularly our 'fish' products – and that all our foods are egg-free. The fact that meat-eaters love our foods too is really important – they're the ones to convert.'
It's a reminder that the typical customer for vegan products has changed over the last few years, and VBites aims to appeal to a wide spectrum of people with different ethical views and dietary needs. 'When we started, our biggest challenge was changing people's perceptions, showing how good vegan food could be. These days far more people are aware of the destruction caused to the planet by animal agriculture. People care about animals and their own health – they're aware of the health risks of eating meat. We've definitely witnessed a rise in flexitarian eating – these days our customers are not just vegans, they're meat-reducers, and people with food intolerances and allergies.'
The company has expanded rapidly in recent years, doubling the number of foods they make to over 100 and are currently negotiating with one of the world's biggest franchises to continue extending the reach of their brand to the US and beyond. 'These negotiations are so exciting,' says Heather.
'Easy high street access to great tasting, affordable vegan food is what will help people, animals and the planet.'
Find out more at www.vbitesfoods.com.