“Up until a few years ago, only vegans and vegetarians were looking for companies like ours,” which delivers frozen vegan meals that simply need to be heated and served, said company co-founder and CEO Mark Fachler. But, he added, Veestro wants to change that and introduce plant-based eating to mainstream consumers who may be unwilling or unready to completely give up dairy and meat.
“A lot of people try to stay away from veganism because it is scary and difficult to follow. And while there are a lot of hardcore vegans out there … we want our customers to know that they don’t have to be vegans to enjoy our food – they just have to want to live a healthier life,” he said, adding this is achievable with replacing just one or two meals a day with plant-based options.
To make vegan-eating less intimidating and to show that eating plant-based meals doesn’t mean consumers have to sacrifice taste or a appeal, Veestro overhauled its website to include higher-quality photos that better showcase the variety of ingredients in its meals.
“At the end of the day, when you are buying food online, what you need are pictures that show how delicious the food is going to look on your plate,” because the other sensory experiences, such as smell and taste, are not an option, Fachler said.
A new logo & joyful message
The company also updated its logo to be a pea pod designed to look like a smiling face above the company name, which Fachler says is more welcoming than the old logo of a fork, spoon and a leaf next to the company name all in lower case.
“The idea behind the new logo was to create something that was clean and fresh … and conveyed what we are trying to do, which is make people happy by giving them food to eat that tastes really good,” Fachler explained.
Building on this idea, the company also updated its logo from “Healthy. Delicious. Delivered.” to “plants please,” which Fachler says is a play on words.
“We are using clues of the word play to communicate that our plant-based meals can please your taste buds, your body and your schedule,” he explained. Indeed, the phrase “please” is featured throughout the website in different ways, such as on a button that says “more please” where consumers can click for more information, and in a description of how plant-based meals can leave consumers pleasingly full.
The overarching feeling of happiness is continued throughout the redesigned website with explanations of how plants bring joy and how after a busy day consumers can “just heat up, dig in and love” a Veestro frozen meal.
The rebranding continues offline as well, with plans by Veestro to update its packaging and shipping boxes to better display the brand. Previously, the company used generic delivery boxes with Veestro stickers, but now it will have pre-printed boxes that more boldly draw attention to the company – effectively making them billboards for the brand as they move through cities on delivery trucks and sit on consumers’ doorsteps, Fachler said.
The overhaul and rebranding was made possible thanks to an infusion of $1.5 million in capital raised by the company this spring.
A new production facility, and distribution center on horizon
That money also helped the company move into a new production facility that is “about 10 times bigger than where we were,” which will “give us plenty of room to grow in the next few years,” Fachler said.
He explained the company easily could have grown more than the 300% year-over-year growth it has experienced the last few years if its production facility had been larger. As it was, near the end of its time at the old facility, the company was “pretty tapped for space,” and had to be selective about its marketing campaign.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing though, Fachler said. He explained that a lot of startups fold in their first few years because they try to grow too quickly and can’t sufficiently fulfill their orders – a fate that Veestro did not want to experience.
In addition to the rebranding and new production facility, Veestro plans to open a distribution facility on the East Coast so that it can more quickly serve customers on the Atlantic side of the country. Fachler explained that currently it takes four days to deliver meals to customers on the East Coast, but beginning the first quarter of next year it will only take one to two days.