NPN’s Matt Chittock meets The Good Kind Grocery and finds out why opening a vegan store during a health crisis has been a positive experience.
Why did you believe consumers wanted a vegan store?
Many people are so curious about what veganism is and the food it brings. I believe that consumers not only wanted a plant-based grocery store, they wanted a plant-based grocery store specifically for meat lovers. Going plant-based can be hard for consumers who are trying it for the first time (based on personal experience too). In supermarkets, it can be overwhelming as a person who is transitioning to a plant-based diet; no one is there to guide you on alternatives. We launched The Good Kind to help those who love meat but want to eat less meat and don’t know where to look. We’ve been there before so know which alternatives are good and only stock the best ones. We are here to help them by recommending good meat, cheese and dairy alternatives – the ones that actually taste good and make it easy for them to swap their usual beef for a plant-based beef burger. We really care about our customers and want to show them how easy it can be to go plant-based!
Why is interest in veganism so strong right now?
Consumers now more so than ever are conscious of the environment, their health, where their food comes from. The interest in veganism is so strong right now because we see the topic of climate change/sustainability in the mainstream media and the devastating effects it has on our planet – the Australian fires, plastic pollution in our oceans. It’s hard to turn a blind eye and consumers want to be socially responsible human beings and do their bit, however small. Climate change and plant-based diets are so interlinked. At The Good Kind we really try to encourage our customers to do what they can – it’s not about going vegan all the way, but rather encouraging everyone to eat less meat even just once a week because if we all work together, collectively it will help the planet. At The Good Kind, there is no more divide between vegans and meat eaters. Everyone is welcome.
What’s it been like opening during a pandemic?
It comes with it’s own challenges but there are always solutions to problems, like with all businesses we need to be creative and adapt to this new normal. We’ve found opening during a pandemic surprisingly good. This has been down to the support from our local community which has been phenomenal. We’re so grateful. People are more willing to try new things and have more time. They are visiting and supporting local independent shops more. It’s been so positive and we have seen a lot of interest and curiosity in our plant-based grocery shop. People are at home and popping down to us rather than being away in the city at work. During the pandemic, more people are walking/going to parks and taking time to slow down. Perhaps this means they have noticed our shop more.
What are the key products for you? What are the bestsellers?
Our best sellers are Ima Vegan sushi – Vegan Salmon Sushi Roll, Hoisin ‘Duck’ Sushi Roll, Vegan ‘Tuna’ & Sweetcorn Sushi burrito. You can find the sushi in Selfridges and Planet Organic too. Meat alternatives have also been selling well – Beyond Meat Burgers and THIS bacon. In our healthy snacks category, customers love Otherfoods Shiitake Mushroom Chips.
What do you feel about the future of your store/the vegan category?
Optimistic. Consumers have been so receptive to the idea of our plant-based shop. Meat lovers and those who have dietary requirements have found The Good Kind helpful which is exactly what we’re here to do. We’re really glad and have plans to expand in other neighbourhoods so we can help more meat eaters in London find good meat alternatives and hopefully inspire them to eat less meat and help the planet. The vegan category will continue to gain momentum as people want to eat better and realize that plant-based food is in fact delicious and incredibly easy to do. It won’t be going anywhere!