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Vegan recipe development and brand building

Ariane Cardoso has created companies specialising in vegan food products: Veganista creates a range of healthy, cruelty-free options, Bee Approved focuses on vegan honey while PANC makes plant-based fast food.

Having watched a vegan documentary, Ariane was inspired to create and promote alternatives to animal products. Veganista Limited (Bee Approved) was established in September 2017 and Ariane is now launching PANC, producing meals from a Cheshire farm kitchen for collection and delivery. Ariane has grand plans for the company and is aiming to establish a globally recognised brand.

Recipe for progression

To develop her recipes and add to her entrepreneurial knowledge, Ariane joined the Business Growth Programme (BGP) with Veganista (Bee Approved) in November 2019, later joining with PANC in July 2020. For Veganista, Ariane was able to work on a range of vegan recipes with help from the team in the NoWFOOD kitchen at the University of Chester. With PANC, Ariane benefited from workshops including `Getting retailer-ready for growth’, `How to build a strong brand’ and `Food photography for beginners’.

Inspiration and opportunity

Ariane said: “The level of expertise from the professionals presenting the workshops is inspiring and the links they provide are useful. The support is exceptional and the opportunities provided are excellent. Although we cannot measure the growth yet as we have just produced a new batch of products, the amount of information I received after joining the Business Growth Programme was crucial.”

Industry recognition

Bee Approved’s vegan honey was named winner of the food innovation category in the Future Food Awards 2019 organised by Specialty Food Magazine. As honey is considered an animal product it is off-limits for strict vegans; Bee Approved has created a honey from rice which has the same look, taste and texture as honey and judges described it as a game-changer for vegans.  

Future plans

With export sales increasing, Ariane is now considering employing a staff member to help with this element of her business.

Support for small and medium-sized businesses

The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and pre-start businesses registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington, meeting the eligibility criteria, can apply for support. Help is available from our team of Business Engagement Managers and access is also available to facilities at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science ParkRiverside Innovation Centre and the NoWFOOD Centre

If you are a business seeking access to facilities and expert growth support, contact the University of Chester’s Business Growth Team by emailing businessgrowth@chester.ac.uk.