Meet our Creatives: Aliza de Lima & Valentina Concordia, Junior Creatives at allplants
We’re thrilled that vegan meal delivery service, allplants, are using Creative Works as their temporary home while they wait for their brand new office to be built. We caught up with the company’’s Junior Creatives, Aliza and Valentina, to find out more about the business and what their roles entail.
Cue fascinating frozen food facts, tales of winging it and references to cinnamon buns!
Okay, we’re sold. Pass the fork…
Hi guys! So are we right in thinking that allplants is a vegan food delivery service?
Valentina: Although our dishes are vegan, a lot of our customers are meat eaters or people who are trying to reduce their meat intake. We’re essentially a ready meal “subscription service”, not a delivery service (like Deilveroo) that you’d order and eat 20 minutes later.
Each box contains six dishes in single or double serves. You can have them delivered on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. We’ve developed 23 dishes so far – they’re delicious and you should try them!
Valentina first spotted allplants on Instagram and was drawn in by the packaging.
Your meals are frozen too, aren’t they?
Valentina: They are. I’m Italian and when I told my dad I was going to start working for a frozen meal company he was like: “Where did I go wrong?!” I also studied politics at university so I think he was a bit confused about the route I was taking.
“Our food is usually frozen at peak ripeness so there’s not the whole transport bit either; it also means you don’t get any additives because it lasts a lot longer.”
It’s a genius concept though and makes a lot of sense. Before allplants I didn’t realise frozen food was better for the environment, for instance…
Is it better for the environment because there ends up being less waste?
Aliza: Essentially, yes. There’s less waste and you get more nutrients, surprisingly, because it’s instantly frozen compared with the veg you get from the supermarket.
Valentina: Our food is frozen at peak ripeness so there’s not the whole transport bit either; it also means you don’t get any additives because it lasts a lot longer.
A lot of thought goes into the process. For instance, our chefs soak the pasta first rather than cooking it, and it cooks while it’s in the oven or microwave. We also do taste tests for every batch to make sure everything’s good to go.
Aliza: We’re not involved in the taste testing side of things, unfortunately!
What’s the story behind why the company was founded?
Valentina: allplants was founded by brothers JP and Alex. A little over three years ago they both started eating less meat and were shocked that there wasn’t much available in terms of ready made food.
They started out by running supper clubs at first, cooking themselves, and then – together with a chef – they started concepting how to make ready meals. allplants started out small and has grown a lot over the last few years.
What’s the creative team like?
Valentina: When I joined, Aliza was the only creative.
Aliza: It was a very tiny team initially and now there’s six of us. My “junior creative” role covers videography, photography and some aspects of design. It’s incredibly varied and we’re always making and producing content.
Valentina: I feel like it’s very startup-y in the sense that we can get involved in lots of different things. I mainly cover the dish photography and the development of recipes for our social media and the blog. We now have a copywriter, senior designer and creative lead: I feel like the creative team really came together this past year.
How did you get into your creative roles at allplants?
Aliza: We were both fresh out of university when we started and I studied graphic design. I remember watching Cowspiracy on Netflix one day and thinking: “Oh, how cool would it be to work for an ethical company that’s sustainability-conscious?”
I came across allplants online. My role didn’t really exist then and they weren’t necessarily looking for someone, but I thought I’d like to intern. I loved the story of how they came about and got in touch with them through the website.
“A lot of companies are focusing on becoming more environmentally conscious; it’s great that individuals and businesses want to get involved.”
That’s how it started – I joined as an intern then became full time.
Valentina: I studied politics at uni. I kind of knew in my first year that I liked food more than politics, but I also liked studying so didn’t want to drop out. I did a lot of internships in my spare time. I was in Copenhagen for a year and worked for a cookbook author – I didn’t even know food photography was a thing before I worked with her!
A week after I graduated I got in touch with allplants and started in September.
Valentia, we’re curious…has your dad come to terms with your job yet?!
It’s not in Italian culture to even buy a ready meal so it’s hard! He’s someone who wouldn’t even order a Deliveroo because he wants to make his own food. He’s definitely not the target audience…
Aliza – you’ve spoken about how you were drawn in by Allplant’s ethics; do you think this is something graduates look for nowadays?
Valentina: When I joined, Aliza was the only creative.
Aliza: I think so – especially with the whole climate emergency and everyone being more aware of environmental issues. A lot of companies are focusing on becoming more environmentally conscious; it’s great that individuals and businesses want to get involved.
Valentina: allplants’ values are reflected in how the company’s run. It’s easy to forget that not every company priorities things like sustainability so it does feel like a privilege.
What are some of the perks you get as employees?
Valentina: Lunch! So as not to waste food, we get everything that doesn’t make it into meals. Since I do the recipes for the blog I also eat everything I make…
Aliza: The people are a perk too. I’ve interned in other companies and I didn’t find that I connected with every single person, but here it’s almost strange that everyone’s so nice and easy to get along with. That’s the kind of culture that they’re aiming for – they want to make sure that everyone gets on.
“Occasionally I’ll be having a bad day and then I’m like: you are literally making cinnamon buns today, so just chill out!”
Valentina: When people interview at allplants they always think that being non-vegan might be a problem. The day before I started I thought I might have food poisoning from eggs, but thought, I can’t tell them that!
But it was absolutely fine.
What are some of the most “out of the ordinary” creative projects you’ve worked on so far?
Aliza: Being a startup we have to be quite hack-y and makeshift about things. I remember this one time we didn’t have a dolly to put a camera on, so we put the camera on a pan that was attached to a skateboard and I rolled it along.
It actually worked!
Valentina: Steph, our designer, came up with an idea for an ad that involved filming one of our chefs making a meal in one of our boxes; afterwards, the customer opens the box and the meal pops out.
We had to recreate the inside of the box in our shooting studio. Our boxes are yellow so we had to wallpaper the walls yellow, spray paint a ladder yellow, yellow-fy everything and hack all the scenes to make the whole thing look realistic!
It was so fun to do.
Your jobs sound so fun and we’re a tad jealous…
Valentina: I think I take it for granted sometimes. Occasionally I’ll be having a bad day and then I’m like: you are literally making cinnamon buns today, so just chill out!
Finally, what would be your plan Bs if you weren’t at allplants?
Valentina: I’d do something related to cooking I think. In Tuscany I was working as a chef but found that way too intense. I love this industry: food is where it’s at and everyone’s so nice.
Aliza: I would probably be a designer somewhere else because I’ve always wanted to work in the creative industries. If I was to do something completely different, I’d probably be a gardener…
Valentina: Actually, can I change mine? I’d actually like to be a ceramicist…