Find out what Lettices, meat and cheese have in common
I had the good fortune of meeting Poppy Lettice when I attended a recent VegFest. Poppy is bubbly, passionate, generous and eager to please her vegan (and non-vegan) customers. The items that she had put on her stall for tasting, disappeared quite quickly, and she was given a lot of positive feedback by us tasters too! I knew you'd want to read about the range of goodies she makes and provides, so here's an article that will tell you that and more!
What does Lettices specialise in selling?
We specialise in plant-based meat, cheese and all the tasty extras.
Where is Lettices based?
We are based on the sunny Isle Of Wight in a town called Ventnor, which is a micro climate area, that's full of palm trees and amazing species of birds and lizards. On average Ventnor is 5’c hotter than the rest of the country, so we are very lucky to be able to source some of our ingredients from here.
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away access your products too? If so, how?
We are at vegan markets and festivals up all over the country at least every other week, and we are currently doing a tour to make sure we reach as many people as possible. We also have an online store, so that customers we meet at events can continue to get our products even if we are not at a local event to them
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on vegan food?
I have been a vegetarian my whole life and more recently a vegan. I have enjoyed making a variety of foods for a long time. After going vegan I very quickly realised that I could make really tasty foods that may help people who are transitioning to veganism or just want to cut back on their meat or dairy consumption. Very soon, it became my personal mission. I know so many people who love cheese, and wouldn't consider going vegan for the reason that they don't know about the existing alternatives. I wanted to better that and make my own delicious plant-based alternatives.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free ingredients for your products?
It is relatively easy to source cruelty free ingredients, although for a few of my ingredients I have only found one company (in the UK) that supplies it. Sourcing the bulk ingredients was one of the trickier parts of setting up Lettices, for example, ordering large quantities of tofu or coconut oil, resulted in me getting some funny looks!
Do these ingredients effect the outcome in comparison with non vegan food?
Using vegan counterparts improves the taste, so in comparison, it's definitely better.
For new customers who don't know what to buy; is there a particularly popular item you can name?
I have been amazed by the feedback I've received. There is an extra special buzz when I have Camembear or Better Feta on my stall, and they get snapped up very quickly! The BBQ Sticky Ribs and my Mayonnaise are favourites too.
Is Lettices owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sells non-vegan products?
Lettices is owned and run by myself. My husband often helps out at the markets, and we are both vegan. I will never use any products that contain animal products or have been tested on animals.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched Lettices?
I trained as a dancer and an actress. I was in the profession travelling the world for many years. I recently got married to my husband, who's also an actor, and we put everything we had into an extended honeymoon, so we could travel South East Asia. We are both major foodies and the majority of our wonderful trip consisted of planning the day around a vegan restaurant that we wanted to explore. We tried so many amazing and invented vegan options across Thailand, Cambodia and Bali, (to name a few), and as someone who has always wanted to set up my own business; I became more and more inspired to get creating. After Thai cooking lessons and a lot of eating, I came up with Lettices and haven’t really stopped for a breath since we returned from our trip in January 2016.
What is your vision for the future of Lettices?
Lettices mission is to make super tasty plant-based foods, affordable, available and easy. Currently we are focusing on meeting our customers and having as many people as possible try the existing range, so that we can improve it, extend ir and get it in the supermarkets.