Monica Klausner, co-founder and CMO of Veestro, talks to us about a plant-based diet and tells us more about her successful business venture.
Veestro (Vegan Bistro) delivers 100% plant-based, fully prepared, freshly made, frozen meals straight to people's doors anywhere in the US. Our mission is to help people eat more plant-based foods in a sustainable, convenient, and delicious way.
My brother and I launched Veestro in May 2013 and we have been growing organically ever since. We didn't start with much funding and have never raised a lot of funds throughout the life of the business. In 2019 our growth skyrocketed. Much of this growth was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to changes in people's eating habits.
The last two years have seen some amazing growth. This is partly due to changes in the marketplace; people are generally more open to trying plant-based meals and are letting go of the stigma previously attached to vegan food.
Livestock is the second biggest contributor to methane gases in the environment. Eating meat is a huge contributor to the current state of the environment. In a perfect world, everybody would eventually go vegan, but in reality, I think our goal is to significantly reduce the consumption of meat and trade that for plant-based foods.
It takes hundreds of gallons of water to produce one quarter pounder burger. Plants require significantly less water. In fact, we already produce a lot of plants, legumes, and grains, but most of these go to feed livestock. If we could make the swap, we could eradicate famine in the world.
It's a combination of health and the environment. Heart disease and diabetes are two examples of lifestyle-driven diseases meaning they are created by the way we live and eat. Eating a plant-based diet contributes significantly to a healthy lifestyle.
Improving the health of the environment is also of huge importance as it’s something that will certainly affect my children in the future. This planet is our home and we need to take better care of it.
Plant-based meat alternatives aren’t designed to be healthier than other alternatives. They’re designed to “soften the blow” and make it easier for people to replace meat products in familiar dishes. The goal is to make them taste as close to meat as possible and to resemble meat in texture.
Impossible Foods, for example, makes a pea protein, plant-based “meat” that's so close to ground beef I’ve managed to fool my meat-eating friends into thinking they were eating a meat burger.
I’m a huge fan of soy. Asians have been eating soy for centuries and they suffer from significantly fewer lifestyle diseases than the western world. Soy is a superfood and is described as a complete protein meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs. It’s a great substitute for animal protein.
People are often quite wary of soy because it contains phytoestrogen, which people confuse with the hormone estrogen. They are two completely different things and phytoestrogens are actually found in many plant foods.
Yes. We call these meals transitional meals. They’re for people who are dipping their toes into the plant-based world, and who like to eat things they can recognize. So for example, our plant-based Country Fried Chick’n dinner is our most popular. The “chick’n” has the texture and the flavor of the real thing. It’s incredible.
Alongside the transitional meals, we also have what we refer to as the “expert vegan” meals such as the beluga lentil braise, for the aficionados of the vegan world.
We offer three meals a day, for five or seven days a week. The approximate calorie intake for one day is about 1,200. We have achieved great success with our weight-loss program, and once our customers have lost the desired weight and achieved their goals, they often transition to our other meals to keep the weight off.
In terms of macronutrients, it’s very similar. We work with a nutritionist and a dietitian to make sure that our meals are “complete” meals. Eating a plant-based diet allows the body to let go of the fats it doesn’t need and that even lean meats contain. So if you’re trying to stop eating meat and embarking on a plant-based journey, weight loss will take place regardless.
If you’re already a cook and have all the ingredients at hand, then it doesn’t compare.
But our meals are very affordable on a subscription basis. We’re here for those who aren’t familiar with making plant-based food. It can be difficult to make vegan food taste delicious because you’re replacing the biggest part of your plate (meat), with a whole host of other ingredients. Often these ingredients are uncommon and people aren’t accustomed to cooking with them.
We ship all over the contiguous 48 states.
We have an incredible vegan chef from Bolivia. His mother was a fully plant-based cook so he comes from a vegan background. He’s phenomenal. We do a lot of the research and development ourselves and have tons of fun doing it.
The taste of our food. Our food is preservative-free, truly delicious, and also really convenient. We make it fresh and ship it frozen. We try to be as sustainable as possible, and this way there’s much less food waste for us and the consumers.
Meals can simply be popped into the freezer on delivery and can stay there for 8-10 weeks. Transportation is also much easier with frozen goods and all our packaging is recyclable.
We’re growing quickly and are looking to become the Gold Standard of direct-to-consumer plant-based meals. We have plans to eventually go into retail. Additionally, we’re participating in several research studies run by health systems. Watch this space!
Interested in Veestro? Find out more about its plans and dishes in our in-depth Veestro review.