Vegans shopping at a regular store have to scrutinize labels for ingredients like cochineal and confectioner’s glaze, which come from crushed up bugs, or milk derivatives, like casein and whey. Fortunately, young serial entrepreneur Sean Dollinger founded PlantX in 2019 to make things easier for vegans. The PlantX platform describes itself as “the digital face of the plant-based community,” offering more than 10,000 products. Now, the product line has become even more exciting as Dollinger has teamed up with celebrity vegan chef Matthew Kenney.
So far, PlantX has four categories: plant-based groceries, local meal delivery (just in Canada, so far), indoor plants and plant-based gifts. But vegan consumers can look forward to the company expanding its product lines to cosmetics and clothing as well as going from online-only to brick-and-mortar stores coming soon to San Diego, Tel Aviv and Squamish, British Columbia. A new membership option, similar to Amazon Prime, promises free shipping on orders over $49.95, special events and member discounts.
The Vancouver-based company’s most exciting recent news was appointing 12-time cookbook author Matthew Kenney as its new chief culinary officer. PlantX and Kenney’s company, MK Cuisine Global LLC (MKC for short), have announced a five-year partnership. PlantX has also acquired MKC’s New Deli in Venice Beach, which it will operate as New Deli by Plant X.
Dollinger and Kenney are planning to expand the business quickly, with hopes to launch more than 100 locations of New Deli by PlantX within a year and to eventually become the world’s largest convenience brand. Kenney said in a statement that the goal is to hit $100 million in revenue between retail expansion and meal delivery within the next 12 months.
Obviously, their schedules are packed, but both Dollinger and Kenney took a few minutes to tell Inhabitat a little bit about who they are and where they’re going.
Inhabitat: How did you come up with the idea of delivering the combo of meals and plants?
Sean Dollinger: I left the company that I founded in February 2019 and knew I wanted to make a change in the world. At that time, I had personally been on a plant-based journey for 10+ years, lost 60+ pounds, and came up with the idea to empower consumers to make healthy decisions at scale.
Inhabitat: What is your ultimate vision for Plant X?
Dollinger: We’ve been called “the vegan Amazon” — a one-stop-shop for the plant-based lifestyle, including meal delivery, grocery, community, education, recipes, house plants, pet care, personal care, fitness and the list goes on. We’ll also be rolling out brick-and-mortar locations globally, underlining our commitment to accessibility, both in the digital and physical worlds.
Inhabitat: Tell us a few of your absolute favorite vegan foods and your favorite plants that people can get on PlantX.
Dollinger: I love trying all the new products that we’re continually adding to the site, but a couple favorites are Minor Figures Oat Milk and all the snacks from Beanfields. I’m also really into the meal delivery side of the business, with renowned plant-based chefs like Matthew Kenney and Anne Thornton designing such delicious dishes (launching in the U.S. marketplace in May 2021). Plants are also a huge part of our business — personal favorites include our range of Calatheas and, of course, the Money Tree.
Inhabitat: How did you become aware of PlantX and why did this partnership appeal to you?
Matthew Kenney: I have been reading about PlantX and admiring their business model long before we were connected by a long-time friend, who works with PlantX. Upon meeting Sean and Alex [Hoff, CMO], there was instant synergy in our mutual desire to bring plant-based options to the global market as efficiently as possible. I believe that our strengths align perfectly with theirs to rapidly expand plant-based options to all consumers.
Inhabitat: What are some of the best ingredients for delivered meals — as in delicious, nutritious and tough enough to be transported?
Kenney: With PlantX, we are not only focused on ingredients that transport well, but also on the logistics themselves, providing an efficient delivery system that allows us to utilize products that are not traditionally suited for delivery. We will employ the highest quality, seasonal ingredients available and apply a creative approach to our recipes in order to provide our consumers with a unique meal delivery program. Root and cruciferous plants are always durable, although we are also focused on methods that remove limitations for meal delivery platforms.
Inhabitat: What new trends do you see coming up for plant-based folks?
Kenney: Plant-based cuisine is seeing exponential growth in all categories where food is provided: consumer packaged goods, the hospitality industry and even within institutional food service environments. I am pleased to say that I feel we are past the trend stage of plant-based to the point where it is now the new normal. It is up to all of us to ensure the public has easy access to high quality plant-based products, which is why I’m excited about our partnership with PlantX.
Images courtesy of PlantX