Challenging “squeaky-clean perceptions of veganism”, Squeaky Bean has been launching plant-based tortillas, BBQ chicken and a lockdown box filled to the brim with treats.
The vegan population in the UK continues to soar. With 400,000 sign-ups to Veganuary in 2020 alone, it’s only natural plant-based companies are popping up and expanding more and more to meet demand.
“You don’t have to miss out on the things you love,” says Sarah Augustine, co-creator of Dutch vegan brand Squeaky Bean, which first hit UK supermarkets in January 2019.
While most companies fit into a particular category, Augustine says Squeaky Bean “falls into every walk of life”; giving people options they otherwise might not have access to.
Breaking the norm
Three major reasons behind going plant-based today are health, animal rights, and the planet. Augustine says that, while the first may attract an older customer base, the last two have gained extensive attention on social media — fuelling the young to choose veganism more than anyone.
Because of this, they want the look and feel of their brand to be something more “young and exciting”. While others will try to please everyone, Squeaky Bean employs a family-centric focus, giving vegans to be something excited about.
Breaking down the health-oriented, ‘pure’ and sometimes ‘boring’ perception of the diet, the brand offers vegans a dirty option, tactfully attracting non-vegans alike. “We want people to choose Squeaky because they want to, not because they have to,” Augustine says, smiling.
What does Squeaky Bean have to offer?
A large proportion of the brand’s products are ready-to-eat. Its most recent releases include a Squeaky Potato and Onion Tortilla and Sweet Smokey BBQ Chicken Pieces. The former uses a chickpea base instead of eggs, and the latter contains pea protein to assimilate realistic, protein-packed chicken chunks.
The biggest hit throughout Covid-19, however, was the Squeaky Bean Plant-Based Box. Collaborating with leading plant-based brands — Vivera, Mummy Meagz, Minor Figures and Vadasz — the box ensured vegans could get every type of food necessary delivered to their front doors; a safe and nutrient-filled package to sustain lockdown life.
“We didn’t want people to miss out on the products they enjoy,” Augustine says. With such a large span of companies, the box provides uplifting, exciting treats that go beyond Squeaky’s staples: plant-based milk, chocolate, and fishless fish fingers. The box immediately did wonders, and Augustine now hopes to take it beyond London, where demand is gradually rising too.
Future vegan prospects
Despite constant success in ready meals, Augustine says the pandemic completely reversed people’s food habits and routines. The shift towards ingredients has become apparent, and, though lockdown is lifting across the UK, she believes people’s eating habits will remain.
Research shows economic downturns notably change everyday trends, and cooking habits may be one of those things that stick. Squeaky Bean plans to ensure they aid this process over the coming few months.
Though London is currently the epicentre of British veganism, Squeaky Bean has seen demand spreading across many other UK communities. A brand still in its early days, Augustine hopes to be distributing nationwide by the end of the year.
This includes trials with new products, like their tortilla, which is currently on a 90-store rollout. Augustine hopes these small trials will soon blow up. “It would just be really cool to spread out a bit more,” she adds. And with all UK citizens predicted to be fully vegan by 2030 — that is more than possible.