The Plant Based Cheese Company
The Food & Drink Forum Ltd
CALL: 01934 315381
So many great products, companies and albums started life in someone’s back bedroom and Kinda Co. is no exception. This innovative, plant-based cheese company began in founder Ellie’s flat in London in 2017. This is how Ellie and her box-ticking plant-based cheese company arrived at The Food WorksSW, the South West’s food innovation centre.
Why Vegan Cheese?
Ellie says, “The thing most people say they’d miss if they switched to a plant-based diet is cheese. I can see why. It’s delicious, it feels irreplaceable and it’s hard to find a vegan equivalent that really hits the spot. I started Kinda Co. out of my desire to make a truly cheesy-tasting vegan cheese.
“I’ve always been vegetarian but, before going fully plant-based, had to solve the cheese dilemma. Of the vegan cheeses available, none did it for me so I started experimenting. I started to produce some really good tasting cheeses, which my friends also tried and loved. I was in the market for a new hobby and so thought, why not sell cheese at markets in London? So that’s what I did, selling out every week.
“It remained my ‘side hustle’ for a year, until I realised I had enough demand to do it full-time. I quit my job in 2018 and took the leap. It’s been fantastic ever since!”
Find Kinda Co. Across the UK
Ellie said, “The Kinda Co. range is now stocked in independent delis, shops and select restaurants and cafes across the UK. We also have a thriving online business. We quickly outgrew every kitchen space we rented and had to keep moving. In 2020, with 14 products and an expanding product range, we sought a flexible new home that could grow with us and I’ll get to that, but first, our products.”
A Delectable Spread of Cheeses
Ellie explains, “We essentially make our cheese in two different styles: block cheese and cheese in jars. Classic blue, cranberry and truffle, or Cheddar cheese equivalents would all come in blocks, like dairy cheese. We now produce three different types of cream cheese and a spicy cheesy nacho dip in a jar, and also make an Italian-style cheese to sprinkle on your favourite dishes. Our Greek-style offering comes in a jar marinated in garlic, herbs and oil. I’ve got about 40 new product ideas on the back burner – a cheesecake being one of them.”
How did you hear about The Food WorksSW?
Ellie said, “I learned about The Food WorksSW through a philanthropic organisation called the Seed Fund. They work with startup food businesses, and we won their award in 2019. The Seed Fund’s founder, Jayne Noblet, told us about how FoodWorks could be a great place for us.”
Starting afresh at The Food WorksSW
Ellie says, “We’re setting up afresh at Food Works. We’ve got four people in the kitchen – two live very locally in Weston – plus we have outside help with HR, finance, admin and some virtual staff. We love the on-site meeting rooms and the business lounge – it’s great to have access to a change of scene sometimes.
“We rent a 1,000 square foot, food-grade business unit and are about to expand already. We rent empty units and kit them out ourselves, and are excited to learn about the equipped pilot dairy facility at Food Works. Although we don’t make dairy cheese, the packing and slicing kit will be useful, as will the pasteurizer – to experiment with extending products’ shelf life. The plant-based ice-cream machine is also giving me ideas! We make, pack and send all our own products from FoodWorks so the new jarring and bottling facility will come in useful, too.
“There’s a great set-up here and it’s the perfect place for us to stay as we grow. There’s space, quick access to the M5 and the region – with Bristol and Bath nearby – and we can keep expanding. Excellent advice on tap definitely helps, and we hope the team will advise as we apply for our SALSA accreditation. This is a prerequisite for any food business that wants to work with big suppliers like supermarket chains or online delivery companies.”
Ellie concludes, “As a startup, we very much have an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. As a team we’re all from different backgrounds – none in cheese-making – united by a love of sustainability and plant-based food. We plan to be at more food markets locally and the region’s eat:Festivals, and we definitely have some exciting plans and partnerships on the horizon.” Ellie alludes to something exciting penned in with a household name for 2021. Watch this space…
Visit the Kinda Co. website to find out more: https://thekindaco.com/