PO Every Animal interviewed the founder of the brand Andrii Cherukha
Each and every one of us has memories of our childhood days, when we walked in the village with chickens, herded cows and chased geese. Likewise, we witnessed the unspeakable cruelty and killing of animals to which we became attached. It didn't seem like the "norm" back then.
To debunk myths about meat and offer it an ethical and tasty alternative, the Ukrainian plant-based minced meat brand Eat Me At launched a creative campaign "Eating animals is strange". In our interview with the founder and CEO of the company Andrii Cherukha, you will learn about the brand's path to success, the Eat Me At team, the impact of the war on business, their assistance to the military and plans for the future.
How did the Eat Me At brand come about, and what was the motivation for creating such a business in Ukraine?
Meat is delicious. And this is one of the reasons why it is difficult for most people to give it up. Therefore, in 2018, our main motivation was to create a delicious product that would help carnivores to easily give up animal meat, with a decent substitute.
Once cars replaced horses, today electric cars are replacing cars with internal combustion engines, and vegetable meat will accelerate the replacement of animal meat. What will make the world a better place.
What plant-based products does Eat Me At offer and what sets you apart?
We are a "vegan meat processing plant" and focus on a single product - minced meat. It has our unique manufacturing technology and is as close as possible to animal meat in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional value.
But in the near future we will present another line of semi-finished products with our vegetable minced meat. This will add convenience of consumption to our connoisseurs and hopefully accelerate the development of the market. Since Ukrainian giants of semi-finished products are in no hurry to create vegan product lines, we will show them how it can be.
What do you think about the development of the vegan market in Ukraine?
The vegan market in Ukraine, as well as in the whole world, is constantly growing, slower than we would like, but it is an inevitable process of evolution.
I'm sure that in a few dozen years, people who eat veal will be reacted to in the same way as today they react to the fact that somewhere they still eat dog meat.
How has a full-scale invasion affected your business?
We had a lot of scaling plans, planned tasting exhibitions in Europe, which were put on the back burner after the full-scale invasion.
Therefore, we concentrated more on the domestic market, on product improvement, development of new technologies, finding local producers of ingredients and introducing them into our product.
You provide charity products for our vegan military. Does the state care enough about vegans in the Defense Forces? But how important, in your opinion, is the introduction of vegan rations at the state level?
Today, some supermarkets do not consider it appropriate to add vegan products to their shelves. It is therefore not surprising that the Defense Forces did not develop vegan menus for the military.
But since there is a need for this and the state is quite open to everything new, it is only a matter of time. In addition, our activists are already actively dealing with this issue 😉
How do you popularize a plant-based diet among consumers? And who are your clients?
First of all, we actively maintain our social pages. networks, where we show delicious recipes and all the possibilities of plant-based nutrition.
Also, our advertising campaigns are often educational in nature, where we try to communicate our values in a simple and fun way.
It is difficult to describe all clients, there are different categories, but here is one of our clients as an example.
Sofia, 28 years old, works for a Ukrainian clothing brand as a content producer and photographer.
At the age of 17, she moved from Donetsk to Kyiv, has a dog, and buys Eat Me At in Silpo near her home in Holosiivskyi district.
How did you manage to develop such a powerful commercial campaign and get a considerable number of customers, despite the insignificant popularity of herbal alternatives in Ukraine?
We have a good and motivated team that believes they are doing something important.
Also, the world is ready for change, at a time when up to 30% of perishable products are thrown away, it is strange to kill animals for food.
We deeply believe in this and we pass the information on to others.
What significant achievements are you proud of?
We are proud of the fact that we give vegans and vegetarians the opportunity to diversify their menu by preparing once-favorite dumplings or cabbage rolls.
We are also proud that our plant-based meat is now sold in almost all large supermarkets in the country. While, as 3 years ago, most representatives of supermarkets did not understand what it is and which of the category managers to refer us to :)
Why did you decide to join the charity festival "Vegan Weekend" and what are your general impressions of participation? What vegan dishes to wait for the next VW in secret?)
We have been attending food festivals since the early days of the product launch to interact with people, get feedback and make the product better.
And when the "Vegan Weekend" festival appeared, it became a holiday for us, because 100% of the audience is ours. Next time we will make vegan cheeseburgers, very similar to McDonald's.
What are the future plans for Eat Me At?
Victory of Ukraine)