Rimi Thapar of Loveraw

Vegan chocolate maker LoveRaw is the brainchild of vegan health entrepreneur and campaigner, Rimi Thapar, who started off with £600, making the products herself in her in-laws kitchen.

Since then, Rimi has appeared on Dragon’s Den and has now entered the vegan chocolate arena – as Rimi calls it, “the holy grail” for vegans.

A recent Waitrose report says one in eight UK shoppers are vegetarian or vegan, and a further 21% claim to be flexitarian (where a largely vegetable-based diet is occasionally supplemented with meat).

So what is Rimi’s advice to businesses thinking of entering the vegan confectionery market?

“Make sure you’re ready to evolve to meet the demands of the customer.

“Veganism has soared in recent times and consumers are desperate for more choice and increased accessibility. There’s also been an increase in the number of people who aren’t strictly vegan, but still wish to change their eating habits for reasons that are personal to them.

“Consumers have also become much more mindful about where their food comes from and the entire product lifecycle, meaning it’s never been so important for brands to be transparent on their ethics and not make any misleading claims.

“Vegans miss milk chocolate more than cheese, so creating a vegan milk chocolate has been the holy grail. Mars became the first well known confectionery brand to test non-dairy milk chocolate – and LoveRaw has just introduced our own range.

“Undoubtedly, this is a positive step by Mars but if the market becomes over saturated with heavy hitting retail chains, it could become more challenging for independent brands and SMEs trying to enter the industry.

“For smaller businesses, choosing what product type to focus on can be one of the toughest challenges you will face. Having identified any gaps in the market, deciding whether to focus all of your energy on one area, or tackling multiple areas simultaneously will be the next hurdles.

“Regardless of which route you take, you must be able to retain the flexibility to change your offering as and when the market changes.”

 

 

Susie Haywood
Article by Susie Haywood
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