Founders Interview | Anushi & Ash @ Plant Pops
Hi there! We’re Anushi and Ash, and we started Plant Pops last year (2019).
Our Popped Lotus Seed snacks are inspired by Anushi’s childhood growing up in India and when she started bringing her own homemade versions into work, we knew we were onto a winner.
Our snacks are good for you, the environment and the communities that create them with a portion of our profits going towards projects that support the farmers who grow popped lotus seeds.
We want to shake up the snack world and encourage everyone to snack differently.
Plant Pops were crowned the Best Snacking Innovation at the World Food Innovation Awards.
(Click Here to Buy Plant Pops)
Why did you become interested in the world of snacks & drinks?
We’ve always been foodies, but we’d work long hours in our last job and would snack all the time. We started to get bored of the snacks that were on offer and really became interested in shaking this up and broadening the offering.
What inspired you to do what you do?
We both worked really long hours, and we’d snack a lot but started to get bored of the snacks on offer – it was really a choice between popcorn, crisps or lentil chips and we wanted something really exciting and different.
We’ve always been foodies and when we saw how much everyone enjoyed Anushi’s homemade snacks, we knew we had to create a snack that lots of people would be able to enjoy.
What was your Eureka Moment when you knew you had a product which you could take to market?
Anushi used to make popped lotus seeds at home and bring them into work for our colleagues to enjoy.
Most people had never even heard of popped lotus seeds even though it’s such a familiar and common snack in India!
We paired this unusual ingredient with really familiar flavours and everyone absolutely loved them – that’s when we knew we were onto a winner and had something special.
What current & future trends does your product meet?
Plant Pops, as the name suggests, is completely plant based and plants are at the heart of everything we do.
Our snacks are also:
- Gluten free
- Use no palm oil
- Contain nothing artificial or any presevatives
- Sustainably harvested
What did you do before starting your company & what made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
Before starting Plant Pops, Ash and I were management consultants – and had never worked in food and drink before! When we saw how much everyone loved our initial batches of homemade popped lotus seeds, it was a no brainer and super scary, but we knew we had to run with it!
What has been the BEST mistake you’ve made & why?
Peanut Butter! We dipped a couple of plain popped lotus seeds in Peanut Butter, it was totally random, and we were actually trying to create a chocolate flavour but it wasn’t working out at all.
It was a total accident, and we really didn’t think it would work but it ended up being the perfect combo of sweet and salty, with a subtle peanutty flavour, which rounded out our range with something sweet alongside our savoury Himalayan Salt and Smoked Chilli.
Peanut Butter took us a while to perfect, but now it’s become a real crowd pleaser!
What keeps you motivated?
We love seeing people enjoy our snacks. Every message, email and DM means so much and keeps us motivated!
What do you do in your spare time outside of business life?
I love travelling – seeing new places and cultures, and checking out their snacks (of course). I can’t wait till we can start travelling again.
What do you think are the key skills required to make yourself & your business a success in the world of snacks & drinks?
It’s really important to understand what consumers think about your product – we sampled across hundreds and hundreds of people to get real feedback on our products.
We changed our flavours, tweaked our packaging and took on board what customers were saying. We have to be able to take on board valuable views others have to make our snacks as delicious as they can be.
What would you say is your biggest strength?
We’re both super positive – starting your own business is hard work, with a lot of ups and downs and it can be really easy to let setbacks get you down. Of course, it’s hard to be positive all the time, especially when things are going wrong but staying upbeat helps the bounceback.
What would you say is your biggest weakness & how do you look to overcome this?
I’ve generally been a fairly shy person, I’m not a natural in front of a camera or when speaking in front of a large group, and can get embarrassed easily.
Since starting Plant Pops, this is something I’ve had to get over pretty quickly, as there’s just not a lot of time for it!
Whether it’s pitching to a group of people for investment, or talking about my brand to a journalist, I’m always trying to be better at this and continually pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
If you could sit down with yourself for a pint/glass of wine/coffee this time last year…..what would be the 3 most important tips you would give yourself knowing what you know now?
- Product is king – obsess over product, get feedback from customers and see how you can improve your offering
- Prepare to pivot – pivot is definitely going to one of the top words of 2020 and something a lot of businesses have had to do. We’re shifting how we are available to our customers and how we engage with them as the retail landscape shifted pretty dramatically in a couple of weeks.
- Be adventurous – we’re using this time to work on some pretty exciting new snacks, that are adventurous and new to the market – watch this space!
Any plans or predictions you can share with us for the rest of 2020?
2020 has been a real rollercoaster and we’re not sure what next week holds let alone the rest of the year but we’ll give it a bash!
- We’re working on a brand new product at the moment – we’re super excited about it and hope you are too! As our name suggests, plant based is at the heart of everything we do, and we want to encourage everyone to snack differently.
- Customers shopping more online – it’s so easy and with companies like Snackfully, you can get a great selection of items in just one place, delivered direct to your door.
- Emphasis on benefits of certain foods – consumers looking more at the impact of the foods they eat and how this can support their healthy lifestyle.