Eden Vegan Foods (Zambia) Feature
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Eden Vegan Foods is a plant-based Zambian company that sells vegan sausages, burger patties, meatless balls, and tofu, founded in 2018. The Vegan AF team is supporting the growing pan-African network, and we had the opportunity to interview the founder of Eden, Florence Hanampota, who is one of the many inspiring plant-based entrepreneurs in Africa.
Florence was inspired by the opportunity to introduce new plant-based protein in her country; before Eden, plant-based eating in Zambia was limited to a monotonous supply of soy chunks, beans and lentils, and she felt the need to create more variety. The business is now focused on expansion, where Florence hopes to soon add soy mylk to its list of products offered.
When she first began recipe development in 2018, Florence would have tastings of her products with a few friends. The feedback was great, and the friends encouraged Florence to sell on a wider scale. At first, Eden Vegan Foods started as a restaurant. However, due to limited capital, Florence was unable to secure a better location for her restaurant. Florence faced many challenges, including the restaurant’s location making them unable to compete with the meat restaurants in her area. She decided to close the restaurant and keep making and selling the products. By 2019, they gained value and popularity.
Florence was born into a meat-eating family like most of us, but along her journey decided to stop eating flesh and go vegetarian. In 1996, after watching documentaries and learning the health disadvantages of eggs and milk, as well as about the availability of soy milk and tofu, she and her husband went vegan! She says that soybeans were a bit difficult to access at first, but in the year 2000, they gained popularity and became more common in Zambia.
I asked Florence what was the most unique thing about her venture and she said that she generally has no competitors, as her customers (vegan and non-vegan) prefer her products to meat alternatives in the market. Eden Vegan Foods products are locally produced and affordable, which gives them an added advantage. The feedback she has received and continues to hear is great, the customer base is steadily growing, more people in Zambia are eating vegan, and this serves as motivation to keep going.
According to Florence, Eden Vegan Foods is already a success; the business has grown in leaps and bounds since she initially started producing vegan meat substitutes. Florence is grateful for the growth, the word-of-mouth marketing that her customers give through recommendations, helping many people access vegan food, and the amazing customer feedback. Florence is very grateful for support from her family and the fact that her venture has gained attraction beyond her country.
Florence told us that the biggest challenge currently is the lack of machinery and the lack of capital to scale. As demand for her products gets higher, domestic production becomes more and more tiresome. Florence is actively fundraising, and investors can support Eden Vegan Foods directly, or through investment in the Vegan Africa Fund. With machinery and expansion capital, Florence will be able to scale her business, feel less overwhelmed with manual labour, and have the ability to mass-produce rather than making the products only on order. Florence is passionate about scaling her business before foreign competitors move into the plant-based meat market in Zambia, and we want to see her succeed in this mission.
Currently, Eden Vegan Foods supplies their products in 6 Zambian provinces: the Southern, Eastern, Central, Northern and Copperbelt provinces as well as Florence’s home province, Lusaka. Looking ahead, Florence sees Eden Vegan Foods as an international empire creating even more vegan products, and having a presence in nearly every African country as well as overseas. With the kind of feedback the business has been getting as well as the growth they’ve experienced over the past couple of years, we believe that Eden Vegan Foods is a force to reckon with and will soon become a giant in the vegan food industry.