Veggie Victory is making animal-free meat alternate options for African palates

Disclosure: GROW Impression Accelerator is supported by AgFunder, the father or mother firm of AFN.

Africa’s inhabitants is projected to double from 1.3 billion to 2.5 billion by 2050, the yr by which we must always have international warming restricted to 1.5 levels Celsius above pre-industrial norms. That is a billion extra mouths to feed on a continent that’s already less than par in relation to offering its inhabitants with sufficient protein, all whereas decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions.

Nigerian Veggie Victory is working to deal with the scarcity in a sustainable means by creating plant-based protein merchandise – together with its flagship providing VChunks – that may completely exchange animal-based meat in native dishes.

The startup just lately joined AgFunder and GROW’s newest Impression Accelerator cohort and AFN caught up with co-founder and CEO Hakeem Jimo (HJ) to study extra about his plans to bridge Africa’s protein hole.

AFN: What drawback is Veggie Victory making an attempt to unravel and the way does your know-how supply an answer?

HJ: My vegan journey began 27 years in the past in Germany. I grew up in Germany and moved to West Africa 20 years in the past. After I arrived in Nigeria, I spotted that there have been even fewer vegan and vegetarian choices than in Europe on the time.

In 2013 we began Veggie Victory as a vegan restaurant, the primary of its variety in Lagos. We instantly observed the curiosity of many individuals [but many] he could not get to the restaurant. So we thought, “How can we offer you this meals?” Additionally, discovering merchandise for the restaurant was troublesome.

That was once we developed VChunks. It took a number of years to get licensed and get the correct method. Our different founder Bola [Adeyanju] she is answerable for product improvement, and he or she was actually the brains behind that. You recognize the native tastes by and thru.

AFN: What offers Veggie Victory its aggressive edge and differentiates it from others making an attempt to unravel the identical drawback?

HJ: OROne of many major traits is that it’s a dried and dehydrated product. Take into consideration [dried] pasta: no want for the fridge; which is tremendous essential on this continent. So there isn’t any want for a chilly chain; individuals nonetheless principally purchase meals from conventional and open markets, and supermarkets account for less than round 5% of the meals provide.

And what we at all times say is that plant-based meat substitutes want native samples. There isn’t a level in having an American burger firm supplying the entire world. Different areas have completely different tastes; and I additionally generalize about Africa, however we wish greater meat. We’re not that loopy about floor beef or burgers. What we wish is our stews, and you’ve got items floating in there, and that is precisely what number of Africans eat meat. VChunks actually has that texture that Africans have come to anticipate from meat – it is chewier, it is extra of an entire minimize, and it is one thing you actually chew in a single piece, not elaborately. Consistency: That is actually our secret sauce.

AFN: What’s the largest problem Veggie Victory is dealing with proper now?

HJ: Lsearching for strategic companions: distributors, resellers, nationwide brokers. Distribution in Africa is tremendous troublesome. We can not reinvent the wheel, and every African nation is so completely different, every with a special regulatory setting. T.the hat is absolutely our major constraint. We want native individuals who know their market.

And it is not nearly Africa, but additionally about African expatriates and diaspora communities. That is additionally a strategy to join with individuals. The UK, for instance, has thousands and thousands of Nigerians and other people of Nigerian descent and so they actually need merchandise that talk to them and their heritage. [and] on the identical time they need wholesome merchandise. But, there too, we want extra distributors and companions.

AFN: What does “impression” imply for you personally and for Veggie Victory as an organization? Why is the environmental and social impression so essential?

HJ: I’ve been vegan for 23 years, I’ve opened the restaurant, so we’re actually guided by the mission from the aspect of the founder.

We imagine that Africa wants different sources of protein because of the extreme protein scarcity we’ve on the continent. We eat solely half of what Asians eat and a fraction of what Individuals eat; subsequently we’ve to right the protein deficiency and we imagine that it can’t be completed with animal proteins alone. It needs to be a mixture. Vegetable is a handy means to do that.

However already the livestock trade is unable to offer all the required proteins, which results in all types of human improvement issues. [By now] additionally it’s logical that animal manufacturing is detrimental to sustainability, together with by way of water sources – it’s a large drawback in Africa much more than in Europe – greenhouse fuel emissions and soil erosion.

We offer an answer for individuals to eat extra plant-based alternate options, as a result of individuals like meat – we’re not blind to that.

Veggie Victory is elevating cash. For extra particulars, contact the AgFunder workforce right here.

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