The rise of plant-based diets such a veganism and vegetarianism, including the popular flexitarian diet, have brought about hundreds of plant-based food product launches over the past few years. Now, a pair of Isreali Tech Entrepreneurs, Alon Hochberg and Amir Lavi, have launched an online marketplace, called Billion Vegans, that specifically targets such individuals with the aim of becoming the “Amazon for vegans.”
The website has already raised a private pre-seed investment of $300,000 and opened a crowdfunding page on WeFunder. Hochberg, who is the CEO of the company, and CPO Lavi have worked for a variety of tech-based ventures since the mid-1990s. The Beverly Hills, Los Angeles-based company was originally conceived by Hochberg who claimed to have become “vegan in five minutes” after watching an online video about the dog meat trade in China in 2017. Hochberg founded five companies with two of them having been acquired for several million dollars.
“I bought a pair of vegan shoes on Amazon and when they arrived, I found out the glue was made of pigs’ bones,” says Hochberg. “That was the day I decided to start Billion Vegans. All products on our site are vetted by our team to make sure they are actually vegan.”
Billion Vegans is already offering over 4,500 products from 200 sellers, which include well-known plant-based brands such as Daiya, Silk, Earth Balance, Clif, Deva and Beauty Without Cruelty.
Hochberg also conducted an informal study with his team and found that 20 percent of the company’s potential customers wanted to shop from a site that has only 100 percent vegan products. The CEO also calculated that the vegan market in the US is estimated to be worth around $30 billion. In fact, a 2017 research report by Global Data found that six percent of American consumers claim to be vegan, which is up from one percent in 2014.
“These numbers show there’s a tremendous business opportunity,” says Hochberg.
The CEO is definitely on to something considering the fact that there are now hundreds of interesting plant-based food products available on the market. Vegan products such as the Impossible Burger, JUST egg substitute and Califa Farms’ vegan probiotic nut milk, have all found great success in their categories. This trend is indicative of the growing consumer demand for vegan food products.
New research from Innova Market Insights found that consumers that still eat meat products are starting to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets as well. This kind of diet is commonly referred to as the “flexitarian” diet, which involves consuming a variety of meat-free alternatives. According to Innova’s study, 44 percent of US consumers have increased their consumption of plant-based foods.
Considering the upwards trajectory of this plant-based eating trend, Billion Vegans has a lot of growth potential in this industry. The company is currently only shipping products to US customers but they plan on expanding to Canada next year and internationally eventually.