Plant Based Grocery & Lifestyle Business Revs Up Growth
By Global Vegans
We wanted to tell you about a vegan small business success story.
Founded in 2016, Vegan Fine Brands, opened its first retail location in the Riverwalk section of Ft Lauderdale, FL. It not only survived the 2020 pandemic but also has just announced an equity crowdfunding raise which will help the company expand and franchise in order to bring their one-of-a-kind retail experience to millions across the country.
Vegan Fine Brands’ founder and CEO Steven Smith, a former engineer for both Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, estimates that over 75% of his customers in South Florida do not identify as vegan or plant-based. That statistic is one of the reasons why Steven wants to bring the Vegan Fine Brands model to cities across the country through this equity crowdfunding raise on the platform, StartEngine.
Vegan Fine Brands aims to replicate Fort Lauderdale gourmet grocery experience in every major U.S. city by 2024
LOS ANGELES, CA – January 5, 2021 – Vegan Fine Brands, Inc. (VFB), the parent company of Vegan Fine Foods, Vegan Fine Body and Vegan Fine Cafe, has announced an equity crowdfunding raise. This crowdfunding raise will enable Vegan Fine Brands to bring its one-of-a-kind retail experience to vegans and non-vegans across the country through both company and franchisee-run locations.
The fundraising campaign will be through StartEngine, a leading equity crowdfunding platform in the U.S., where everyday people can find and invest in early-growth companies and startups. StartEngine has helped more than 375 companies raise $250M+ from a community of over 300,000 prospective investors.
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Founder and CEO Steven Smith, a former engineer, started Vegan Fine Brands in 2016 with the goal of offering customers a wide selection of delicious foods that are good for their health and the health of the planet.
Speaking about how VFB was more of a personal means to an end especially for a Black businessman, Steven states, “I spent years living in food deserts with little to no accessibility to nutrient dense foods and I see how damaging that can be for underserved communities.“ He further adds, “I’m competitive and driven and my extensive business background has given me the tools and connections to see this through. My commitment to increasing access to quality plant-based products for everyone deepens my conviction.”
VEGAN FINE BRANDS’ UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
The flagship Vegan Fine Foods store is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 330 SW 2nd Street, adjacent to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum of Discovery and Science, in the busy Riverwalk entertainment and business district. The store encompasses a 5,000 square foot vegan market; a vegan bar featuring vegan wines, beer, and mixed drinks; and Vegan Fine Body, which features high quality plant-based health and beauty care products.
Interestingly, over 75% of VFB shoppers do not identify as vegan or plant-based. That is atypical for any other demographic and business. Most shoppers fall into the demographic and sociographic profile of the brand they are interacting with. States plant-based marketing executive Lori Amos, “This speaks loudly to the opportunity. It’s very much like tech and the tipping point for Apple in the early 2000s, we are seeing the early adopter pool expand exponentially and the factors include health, taste, accessibility, animal welfare and environmental concern.”
Discussing his varied clientele, Steven adds, “Our customers are from varying walks of life, we have customers that are celebrated Miami-based musicians, athletes and performers and we get the business community and families from Broward and Dade Counties and beyond. Because 100% of the brands are plant-based, non-GMO, and void of unethically sourced ingredients, shoppers do not need to read the labels. “We make it simple for our customers to find delicious, healthy, ethically sourced products, all under one roof,” Steven adds.
In addition, Vegan Fine Brands private labels many products in the store, including Vegan Fine Wines and Vitamins 4 Vegans. Private labeling gives VFB control of quality and a chance to offer their shoppers unique products that are sold in markets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and even specialty grocers like Erewhon in Los Angeles, and Dean and DeLuca in New York City. This ability to private label products allows the company to increase its margins which makes Vegan Fine Brands especially alluring to potential franchisees.
PANDEMIC AND POST PANDEMIC IMPLICATIONS
Is COVID-19 accelerating the growth of the plant-based sector? The answer is a resounding yes, per Food Dive, who noted that sales of plant based products rose over 230% year-over-year at the start of the pandemic in March and, though that growth has leveled off, it is clear that consumers are turning increasingly to plant-based products. The reasons are numerous.
Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, increase brain health, are immunity boosting, and lower both diabetes and cholesterol. One of the foremost authorities on food as medicine, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has stated that eating a plant-based diet can reduce and reverse heart disease. In addition, consumers have begun to search out foods that limit inflammation, which has an ever growing link to both heart disease and cancer. Vegan Fine Foods brings a vast array of healthy, plant-products to consumers in a one-stop-shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else.
ABOUT VEGAN FINE BRANDS
Vegan Fine Brands, Inc. is a consumer products company on the leading-edge of the fast-growing plant-based market. Its portfolio of brands and businesses compete in the retail food industry, health & beauty care industry and the e-commerce space. Its first subsidiary, Vegan Fine Foods, was created to provide a one-stop shopping experience for vegan and plant-based products. The flagship store opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March 2018. Vegan Fine Café launched in August of that year and Vegan Fine Body opened its first location in 2019. The company officially became a franchisor in October 2019. @veganfinefoods