5 minutes with…
Biff’s Kitchen – Vegan AF!
Biff’s was started by Christa and her husband (the eponymous Biff!) with the mission to create some of the world’s most indulgent and uncompromising food – from fruit. The concept was born as a reaction against the feeling they had so often when eating out: that choosing ‘vegan’ products meant ‘compromising’ – on taste, on texture, on quality and on the experience.
They selected jackfruit, the hero fruit that makes up their signature burgers and wingz, because it was without those compromises.
When cooked and breaded in a panko crumb it creates a realistic, flavourful product with a realistic ‘chicken like’ texture, that just happens to be entirely plant based.
As soon as they launched as a street food stall in 2017 they had a huge reaction – there was such a buzz from both consumers and press.
“Two years on we’ve grown to three sites in London and a product to distribute across the UK.”
Where do you predict veganism will go in the future – is it still a trend fad or a lifestyle choice?
There’s definitely been an explosion of press and awareness over the last 18 months, but we don’t think it’s a fad; we think it’s simply the start of a longer-term normalisation of alternative proteins, plant milks and other animal product substitutes.
Ultimately, even the UN is telling us we need to massively reduce our intake of animal products, and the willingness of the public to make proactive choices to ‘swap out’ meat is definitely rising, so we see it only as something that will continue to grow.
Why do you think veganism has become so popular?
For a start, I think ‘veganism’ can mean different things. There’s those that are fully vegan, who are usually driven by ethical choices, but where we see the biggest growth is the number of people who, perhaps aren’t labelling themselves as vegan but are choosing vegan products.
And driving this? Obviously, many people are becoming less tolerant of the idea that the thing they are eating has suffered to be on their plates, but generally I think it’s part of a wider shift in consumers becoming more conscious and informed about what they’re eating in general. Some consumers are motivated to reduce animal products for health reasons, and many others are learning about the environmental impact of meat production and want to switch to more sustainable choices.
What’s the vision and message behind your marketing?
Our marketing is ALL about inclusivity: we’re not simply aiming at the vegan or even vegetarian market- we are first and foremost, simply an exceptionally good product that anyone can enjoy. We’re bold and uncompromising in our messaging and we always take time to celebrate the joy of eating:
“those messy sauce-dripping-down-your-chin moments”
We also like to challenge the perceptions of what vegan food is: there’s a subversive tone we strike and we’re cheeky with that sometimes. One thing I’m really proud of is our Annual Vegan Wing Eating Competition hosted at our Shoreditch flagship store – which as far as we know, was a world first. We took an activity synonymous with meat, and flipped the food to vegan, simply to show it could be done just as well without it.
Do you feel perceptions of vegan food need to change?
At the moment its often split into two categories – ultra-healthy and ‘clean’, all branded in nice green packaging, or ultra-processed and high in fat and salt, as some of the ‘bleeding burgers’ and wheat-based products are. We need to tell the story that good plant-based food is normal food; it doesn’t need to be restrictive or exclusive and it doesn’t have to be something with a huge ingredients list to taste great: that you can provide that meat-like experience with relatively simple fruit.