What is your brand and where did it start?
Amsterdam-based Abbot Kinney’s makes the most delicious alternatives to dairy, using the best, natural and 100% organic ingredients. Most people know Abbot Kinney’s from our Coco Start Original yog, which is where it all started: In 2014 our two Dutch founders were visiting Los Angeles where they tasted the most delicious vegan coconut-based yog they ever had tried. So simple, pure and delicious, with only 3 ingredients.
They couldn’t believe that this was what plant-based could taste like. So right there, on Abbot Kinney boulevard in LA, the brand Abbot Kinney’s was born, with a mission to flip the standard and make dairy the alternative.
Who are you and what do you do at this company/brand?
I am Els Versluis, European Brand Manager for Abbot Kinney’s and I’m responsible for all branding & marketing at Abbot Kinney’s.
Developing creative campaigns is what I love to do, and I work closely with our in-house R&D team to make sure that all the magical plant-based products they create get the spotlight they deserve.
What have you learned from former jobs that shaped you for your current position?
My former jobs have taught me the importance of listening to your consumers to spot opportunities and challenges. It has also taught me the importance of an agile way of working and that in order to make a change you have to believe in your ideas and trust your gut feeling. So when we received a letter from the dairy industry asking us to stop using terms like ‘vegan yoghurt’ to describe our products, we saw it as an opportunity to flip our standard. Abbot Kinney’s publicly skipped the ‘hurt’ in the word yoghurt, and flipped to ‘yog’, as our plant-based yog does not hurt.
Can you describe your typical customer?
Our typical consumers are planet-conscious and want to do the right thing, but preferably when it’s not a step back in flavor or quality. And I don’t blame them, because these true food-lovers want to enjoy it to the fullest. These amazing people know that we all should eat a more plant-dominant diet to help our planet, and whilst doing so they like to go for qualitative & good food that tastes delicious.
What goals are key for the brand?
Our goal is to be a positive guide for good food, and play an active role in the transition towards a more sustainable food system. The plant-based category is rapidly growing with many new plant-based meat & dairy alternatives on the rise, which is amazing for this transition. Amidst all these new products and brands, it’s Abbot Kinney’s goal to keep it clean, simple and organic. By creating the most delicious plant-based dairy alternatives we want to convince people that plant-based foods can be besides better for the planet, animals and your health, mind-blowingly delicious. But we don’t believe in shortcuts, so we don’t add anything artificial to our products and use natural processes such as fermentation to create our yogs.
What is your favorite way to use your brand?
Our Coco Start Mango is an unbelievable tropical treat on its own, and I’m the first to admit that during hot summer days, our team enjoys Coco Frostick ice creams on a daily basis.
I also love how versatile our coconut-based yogs are. Recently I discovered that simply mixing our our coco yog with plain flour, some garlic and salt makes the most fluffy homemade naan breads. Who would’ve thought?
Anything to add?
Nothing to add, except for a fun food tip. I’m fascinated by gut health, and new studies show that eating a variety of at least 30 different plants per week makes a healthy happy gut, which makes a healthy happy human.
So, for fun, try to count your plant-intake for a week and see how you score! And don’t panic: these don’t have to be veggies only, seeds, nuts, herbs, (whole) grains and fruit count as well.
And, in case of doubt: adding more plants to any diet is always a good idea