June 2024

Vege’tables teams up with Planted and New Roots to drive healthier and more sustainable diets.

Vege’tables teams up with Planted and New Roots to drive healthier and more sustainable diets.

Smart Food consultants, Vege’tables have teamed up with leading Swiss plant-based pioneers Planted and New Roots to drive the adoption of more sustainable diets. We sat down with Vege’tables Co-Founder and CEO, Sophie Hanessian to find out more.

Tell us about the key issues you address and how you tackle them.

We all know that we need to change the way we eat to improve our health and reduce the impact of our food systems on the environment. But in reality, changing food habits is really hard! You need to find time to rethink the products you buy and the recipes you cook. Today many of us are so busy, we just don’t have the time or energy to figure out where to begin.

Vege’tables exists to make Smart Food – food that is healthy, ethical and sustainable, 100% plant-based and mostly whole food – accessible to everyone. We do this by guiding companies and public organisations to develop and implement health and sustainability strategies and by helping catering professionals to develop their Smart Food skills and increase their customer base.

Food service colleagues play a key role in food system transformation. Many providers want to adapt their choices but meat is still often the default for many consumers. To change this, we need to tackle three issues in parallel.

Firstly, we need to educate and raise awareness among consumers, but also among chefs, about the impact of our food choices on our health and the environment. We need to ensure that they understand why some choices will have an immediate positive impact. Then we must ensure that there are more healthy and planet-friendly choices available in out-of-home settings.

Finally, we need to introduce consumers to some of the products on the market to encourage them to adapt their own purchasing decisions and cooking choices. We find that as soon as people cook the products themselves and realise that it’s actually very easy to make the switch, they’re much more motivated to cook them again. Practical training is so important.

How are you collaborating with other Valley partners to boost your impact?

When planning 3 workshops for employees at La Ville de Neuchâtel in 2022, we reached out to fellow Valley partner Planted to see if they would be interested in showcasing their clean label plant-based meats at the event – and we were thrilled to receive a very positive response! After some discussion about how best to collaborate, we cooked a planted.chicken-based dish alongside participants and also shared out some packs for them to take away with them.

Building on this successful collaboration, we reached out to fellow Valley partner New Roots, a Swiss producer of 100% plant-based cheese, and other dairy alternatives. We recently featured their products in a workshop for students at the prestigious Les Roches global hospitality school in Crans-Montana.

At a recent two-day training event for chefs at a creche in Jura, we cooked nearly 140 meals based around Planted products with a New Roots-based cream. Many of the chefs said that cooking with new ingredients and products really helped them to think more creatively about how they could develop their dishes and menus.

For me, these are real win-win collaborations. Chefs leave our workshops inspired and aware of all the great plant-based brands they can use in their recipes and consumers and the next generation get access to healthier, delicious and more planet-friendly choices.

So what’s next?

Demand for Vege’tables’ services is growing and I’m currently looking for funding to scale up and grow my team to enable us to work with a larger range of clients.

This autumn, we’ll be working with GastroFribourg and GastroVaud to provide more training on “The new Smart Food trend”. This will be a great opportunity for our partners to come and present their products directly to catering professionals.

I’m really eager to explore new partnerships with other Swiss plant-based alternative pioneers and consider what more we can do to showcase new brands and connect consumers with innovative products. If you’d like to collaborate, I’d love to connect.

Find out more about Vege’tables or connect with Sophie on Linkedin.

Find out more about Planted and New Roots.  

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