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Changing the world - bite by bite

Changing the world - bite by bite

23 Aug, 2023

Changing the world - bite by bite

Planted is the latest food company to join the growing community of small to medium- sized enterprises based at the Market’s Food Exchange building. With a core business based on (you guessed it) plant-based food, Planted is always topical. We caught up with the company’s Customer Development Manager Claudia Thompson to find out more about how the business got started, what makes it unique in a crowded market, and how its vision drives everything the organisation does

Tell us a little about your business.

Planted is a recent player in the UK, launching at the end of 2021. We started in Switzerland in 2019 creating delicious meat from plant-based proteins, focusing on the perfect bite and taste. The overarching aim is to reduce the negative impact of the traditional meat industry on our planet while delivering healthy and tasty proteins. All our plant-based meat is made without additives, chemicals, gluten, soy or genetically modified ingredients. This serves our primary goal; to save animal lives by inspiring a shift from animal to plant-based proteins that set a new standard in taste.

How did the business get started?

Planted is here today thanks to our fantastic co-founders – Erik, who works on the science team and is responsible for our extrusion process, Pascal, who looks after international expansion and ensures Planted continues to grow and Chris, who is responsible for brand awareness and helped build with the team our 100% transparent factory in Kemptthal, Zurich. Planted is the by-product of a gap in the market recognised by our founders, who found that there was little choice for a clean, high protein meat alternative on the market without an extensive ingredients list. Using extrusion and fermentation using pea protein, Planted’s first product, Chicken Original, was born!

What makes Planted stand out in the busy meat- alternative market?

We distinguish ourselves via the fact that we use pea, oat and sunflower protein as the base of our products, rather than soy. Plus our incredibly clean label. The Planted range is made up of essential ingredients you’d find in your kitchen cupboard such as peas, oil, water, herbs and spices. Then we add Vitamin B12 for that extra boost. Like wedding speeches, the best ingredients lists are the shortest.

We’re an incredibly sustainable business and transparent about our production methods, with a production facility that is open to the public and situated in a greenhouse, to show we have nothing to hide.

With the continued growth of plant-based diets and particularly the vegan market, have you seen a growing demand for your meals since you launched the business?

We’ve seen continually growing interest over the last year, whereby more and more people are recognising Planted and have had a chance to try the range, either at trade shows, samplings in supermarkets or at consumer events. Even though there’s so much competition in the plant-based meat alternative category in the UK, we’ve found that there is ever-growing interest around our clean label and minimal ingredients list. Our products hold up well in every type of cuisine, so anywhere you can find chicken, pulled pork or kebab meat, we are able to provide an easy, high-protein substitute.

How do you decide on your flavours / ingredients?

The range is incredibly versatile in that we have plain products (pulled original, chicken original, unbreaded schnitzel), which act as a blank canvas to add your own marinade, which is great for curries, pies, and gyozas. The possibilities are endless. We’ve also tried to replicate flavours and marinades that aren’t readily available but are a twist on a classic, such as pulled pork BBQ, breaded chicken tenders and hoisin duck.

Do you have a best-selling product and why do you think it’s so popular?

Our chicken skewers are a firm favourite in the UK, arriving on a skewer ready for the grill/pan. They are the perfect addition to any BBQ or summer dish, complete with a delicious herby marinade. The texture really mimics that of actual meat, so you never feel like you’re missing out on anything.

You’re based at the Food Exchange. What is your connection to New Covent Garden Market and how did that come about? Are there plans to source ingredients from the market’s wholesalers?

We moved to a new office at the Food Exchange earlier this year after a recommendation from one of our colleagues – and we’re so happy to be surrounded by so many foodie neighbours!

As our production takes place in Switzerland, for the time being it isn’t possible for us to source our ingredients locally from New Covent Garden Market, but all our raw ingredients are sourced in mainland Europe.

Where can the public find Planted products? Do you have a physical shop or plans for that side of the business?

We are available in Morrisons supermarkets and online at Ocado, Planet Organic and Planted’s webshop. We’re also in David Lloyd gyms across the UK, The Real Greek, Breddos, the Elite Pub Group and several restaurants. We have no plans for a physical shop yet, but you might see our sampling van popping up across the country serving some delicious samples! You can visit our website (www. for some delicious recipes, including butter chicken, Caesar-style fajitas, and beetroot ravioli.

How a university study turned into a Europe-wide business

Planted launched in 2019 after founder Pascal Bieri spent time working in the USA and became aware of various meat substitutes. Pascal loved the idea of healthy, meat-free food, but was bothered by the many additives. He brought his cousin Lukas Böni on board, who was in the process of completing his doctorate in food process engineering. Through a professor at a Zurich university, the duo linked up with doctoral student Eric Stirnemann, who was particularly familiar with the wet-extrusion process (which uses water and steam to process pea, oat and sunflower protein). The team was completed by Christoph Jenny, a finance expert with experience in the foodservice industry, and Judith Wemmer, an expert in process engineering and product design.


• 1,312,779 chickens had been saved to the date of writing through the consumption of Planted’s meat-alternative products.

• Product carbon and water footprint labels on packaging reveal up to 87% less CO2 emissions and 90% less water usage compared to animal-based counterparts.

• The Planted glasshouse production facility in Switzerland has welcomed more than 2,500 visitors, promoting transparency and community engagement.

• Planted’s Original Chicken contains 24g of protein per 100g.

• The company is a proud winner of the prestigious ‘Green Business Award Switzerland’.

Garin Auld
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