Rising Stars: Anushi Desai
We speak with Anushi Desai, co-founder of award-winning plant-based snacks company Plant Pops, as she reveals the inspiration behind the business, its challenges and triumphs, and her advice for future entrepreneurs
Give us your elevator pitch.
At Plant Pops, we make deliciously different snacks that deliver a flavour explosion without compromising on health! We’re for foodies and sensation seekers who want to go on a taste trip.
What inspired you to create Plant Pops?
Growing up in India, my family enjoyed delicious, homemade snacks such as popped lotus seeds.
I used to roast popped lotus seeds and season them with all kinds of wacky flavours to share with my friends and colleagues. Everyone absolutely loved them – they liked how light, airy and crunchy they were, and I knew I was onto a winner! I wanted these childhood snacks to become a staple for everyone, just like they had been for me. So after spending months recipe testing in my kitchen with oven-full after oven-full of popped lotus seeds, I decided to launch it as a business.
Have you always wanted to start your own business or work for yourself?
I think a part of me always wanted to start my own business at some point, but I never knew what that would be or when it would be.
I started Plant Pops because I found a product that my friends and colleagues loved, and I couldn’t wait to share it with as many people as possible.
"Food has always been a big part of my culture and childhood, and I love creating things that people enjoy and share with their friends."
What drew you to the food and drink industry?
I've always been a foodie, but I've never worked in food and drink before (I actually used to be a management consultant working for banks - so completely different!).
Food has always been a big part of my culture and childhood, and I love creating things that people enjoy and share with their friends.
Did you have any business experience before starting Plant Pops?
I didn’t have any experience in food and drink whatsoever! I’d worked as a management consultant for large financial institutions, so I had experience working in companies of huge scale and reach, but nothing within start-ups!
Who has helped you on your journey so far?
The food industry is an incredibly supportive one, and I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible mentors along the way to provide advice and guidance.
Did you face any challenges when setting up your business?
Absolutely! The food and drink industry has its own language sometimes! When I started Plant Pops, it was all about upskilling pretty quickly in a short space of time.
We also developed the product, which came with its own challenges (particularly around packaging!). It was a lot of moving parts to deal with, we made a lot of mistakes, but it was all part of the learning curve to help us create deliciously different snacks!
What has been Plant Pops’ greatest achievement?
It’s been awesome to see our snacks being sold across the UK as well as Europe, and I feel a huge sense of achievement whenever we get a message from anyone that’s enjoyed our snacks and wants to share their experience.
Where do you see the business in 5 years time?
I have big plans to grow our customer base, products and range! It would be amazing to see as many people as possible enjoying Plant Pops across the UK and further afield.
What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Starting your own business, creating products and sharing them with people is incredibly rewarding, and I would encourage you to go for it if you have an idea that you believe people will enjoy!
It’s super important to test the product out and see what a range of people think – it’s something we did a lot with our popped lotus seeds at the beginning to understand what flavours people wanted. I learnt a huge amount through this process and think it is so key when starting out and deciding what, when and where to launch.
Whether you're just starting out or you're a few years into your journey, we hope you've found Anushi's story as inspiring as we have!
free-from, with love x