"We want to be part of the food revolution"

"We want to be part of the food revolution"

Camille Azoulai, Sciences Po student and co-founder of the startup Funky Veggie
  • Funky Veggie Burger ©Funky VeggieFunky Veggie Burger ©Funky Veggie

Camille Azoulai is a Master of Communication student at the Sciences Po School of Management and Innovation and co-founder of Funky Veggie, a food startup offering organic, vegan and gluten-free products. Interview.

Why did you choose to start a vegan food company?

I've always been interested in the food industry. As for the vegan aspect, it's mainly for environmental reasons. Our food system isn't sustainable and by 2050 we will simply not be able to eat as much meat. With Funky Veggie, we want to be part of the food revolution without taking any of the pleasure out of eating. In France, vegan food is often made out to be pretty dreary, when in fact it's anything but! Vegan cooking is incredibly creative. It's not bound to any tradition; there are none of the strict techniques and combinations you get with traditional French recipes.

Vegan cooking, the way I do it in any case, is good for everything and everyone—it’s environmentally friendly, full of flavour and good for your health.

What does Funky Veggie promise?

Pleasure! Our customers have to enjoy our products. The big challenge is to make meal baskets that appeal to everyone, even hardened carnivores. The basket is the first product we developed in 2016: a selection of ready-to-cook, organic, vegan and gluten-free products, delivered to customers once a week.

Our cooking revolves around simple, unprocessed products. We use a lot of relatively uncommon foods, in France at least, such as millet, fonio, sweet potato, hemp seeds, chia seeds and spirulina.

What are your plans for developing Funky Veggie?

Our goal is to launch our products in supermarkets so we can reach the general public rather than just a niche clientele. In France, for example, our goal is to be distributed by Franprix. To get into the supermarket chains, we’re developing a snack range—vegan balls along the lines of the energy balls that are fairly widespread abroad, but uncommon in France. The aim once the snack range is up and running will be to do fresh products. For example, we’re working on a vegetable spaghetti range with various sauces and toppings.

And what about international opportunities?

In the food industry, anything French or Parisian does very well on the export market. Our objective is to sell our vegan balls on the American and British markets, and ideally also in Hong Kong, a city that’s very popular with Americans and the English.

Who does the cooking at Funky Veggie? How do you design the recipes and dishes?

At the moment, production takes place in my kitchen with the help of an intern. We are looking for premises so we can set up properly and get the machines for processing the products ourselves. We really want to remain as independent as possible in terms of production and financing. To create the recipes, we go to the Aligre organic market in Paris, we look at the vegetables of the month, see what we feel like and make up combinations. Finally, starting a business requires many skills and we call on our network of friends and family to find any skills we're missing.

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