Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with George Vutetakis, Co-Founder of Only! Plant Based Foods, located in Birmingham, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Only! Plant Based Foods is a plant-based mayo, dressing, and sauce company that raises the bar for the category. Our mayos regularly beat premium mayonnaise in taste-tests, and many customers use it as their only mayo, not even needing to tell customers it’s plant-based. Our products create familiar and crave-worthy condiment experiences for those who are dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free. They are truly worry-free. In addition to mayos, Only! Plant Based Foods also has a full line of fantastic dressings and the only shelf-stable sour cream on the market. Our products are a modern and seamless solution for anyone who wishes to reduce or cannot have animal products, as well as those who just enjoy good food.
Tell us about yourself
I am a long-time plant-based chef, going from two decades as chef/owner of a farm-to-table restaurant which opened in1981 to the CPG world as Director of R&D with Garden Fresh Gourmet, which at the time, was the largest fresh salsa company in the world. Then on to plant-based food design for Campbell’s Soup. My focus has been on plant-based products that are so good; they just happen to be plant-based. Not only cater to vegans and vegetarians, but I also develop and sell products that win taste tests against their animal-based counterparts. Our mayos are manufactured in Northern Ireland, where there is a great passion for rich and creamy mayonnaise. Our products make a difference for so many while embracing sustainability, and, most importantly, they are wonderfully delicious.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Connecting people for success and collaborating with other businesses to create full solutions. Ultimately making a difference through food through the strength of numbers.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Maintaining the integrity of the product and message. Too often, the first things that change as you scale are ingredients and final products due to increased cost efficiencies and supply chain choices.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Keep the pathway to integrity intact. Do your homework to understand what pressures and tough choices you will have to make.
- Watch your margins. Build in enough room to cover inevitable unforeseen expenses and the ability to pay the labor force a living wage.
- Be all in. Show your passion and walk the talk. This is part of every great business story.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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