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Graduates' meal delivery service is a recipe for success

Newcastle University entrepreneurs are delivering quality vegan meals with a side of environmental responsibility.

Guidance and grant funding from our START UP offer has helped graduates Andrea Cavallo and Ali Sheehan-Dare launch a UK-wide box-meal subscription service.

‘Planty’ are supporting the popular movement toward a reduced intake of meat and dairy for those with more conscience than time to shop and prepare nutritious, flavoursome plant-based meals.

To make things more delicious their head chef comes from a Michelin-star background and their ingredients are carefully sourced from suppliers with aligning values.

Andrea said: “We are determined to shift perceptions on how a plant-based diet can be good for you, good for the planet, and yet still super tasty and exciting. We owe it to the planet, we owe it to ourselves, and we want people to be part of this broader movement”.

A bright future

The start-up has been trading for just three months after the idea sparked innovation and market research that began only five months prior, but Planty have already delivered in excess of 3,000 meals with their value-driven concept.

They have also already achieved 100% recyclable packaging and are making steps toward carbon-neutrality, donating all excess food and gaining B Corporation certification - an accolade that will position Planty as a business with significantly high standards of inclusivity, impact and purpose.

Making use of everything available

Andrea and Ali, Business Management and Computer Science graduates, made use of START UP support by attending a ‘drop-in’ and speaking with one of our START UP Business Advisers back in 2017. Since then, they’ve received the coaching and grant funding needed to turn their ambition into a lucrative social enterprise.

Claire Adamson, Enterprise Manager, Newcastle University Careers Service, said: "Andrea and Ali are such a great partnership and the success that they have achieved in a relatively short period of time is nothing short of impressive. They have a positive, pragmatic attitude which has helped them to navigate some of the challenges that come with having a fast-growing start-up. There’s no doubt that they will go on to achieve great things with the business in 2020".

Andrea said: “We had the idea, the team, the secondary market research, and we arrived at the point where we knew we wanted to push this forward. We needed some early financing to generate the prototype launch and START UP Grants helped us in experimenting whilst we worked with our START UP Business Adviser in order to build successful customer acquisition strategies”.

A generous offer

It’s a #NewYearNewSTART and START UP is here to help our students and recent graduates launch themselves and their businesses, whatever stage they are at.
Andrea, Ali and team are saying thank you for the support they’ve received with an exclusive 30% off a Planty subscription for Newcastle University students, patrons and friends with the discount code: NEWSTART.

That’s not all - keep your eye on the @NCLStartUp social media channels in the coming days for a competition to win the meal box of your choice.

Are you a student or recent graduate? Find out more about our START UP services by emailing startup@ncl.ac.uk, calling 0191 208 7748 or dropping into Level 1, King’s Gate Building.

The Planty team (L-R): Ali, Joe and Andrea
The Planty team (L-R): Ali, Joe and Andrea

published on: 27 January 2020