Charlotte entrepreneurs are bringing their creativity to the table more than ever, and Patrick Steptoe is no exception. The Charlotte Observer shared an interview last week with Patrick, whose food business Vegan To-Go is transforming people’s diets with convenient, frozen style healthy foods. Steptoe took on the vegan lifestyle when his own weight gain after college left him unhappy and searching for alternate eating styles. He opened a soulful vegan restaurant in his hometown of St. Louis, but two years later he opted for a move to Charlotte and a change in his business model- when he began providing convenient, microwavable plant-based meals to consumers.
Steptoe was able to win over the Charlotte grocer Harris Teeter, after Leo Beggen, the head of the grocer’s fresh foods category, agreed to place his products on the shelf. But Vegan-To-Go wasn’t an immediate success with the grocer, who initially said no to the product twice before finally realizing the true potential and diverse appeal of the product. Steptoe knows that in business, it pays to be persistent. “I take ‘no’s like vitamins. That takes away the pressure when you go into a pitch, if you’re not afraid of somebody telling you no,” he said.
Although many people are doubtful of faux meat products, the meatless chicken, burger, meatball and beef crumble in Steptoe’s products certainly resemble the real deal. Made from various plant based proteins and soy, Patrick has made sure that each of his meatless products is seasoned and shaped to resemble and taste like real meat. Customers can enjoy the flavors they love with the advantage of less trans-fat and cholesterol than traditional meals.
The plant-based health food movement is definitely gaining traction, and although this Charlotte entrepreneur may have more than a few no’s in his future, but he will surely have many excited yes’ as well.
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Image Credit [Jessica Spengler, Vegan To-Go]
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