PurpleCarrot.comBehind the Kitchen with The Purple Carrot Julie August 13, 2015 Behind the Kitchen, Featured, Health, Healthy, NYC Services, Products Delivery services are all the rave these days. Especially those that allow you to become your own “at home” personal chef! Fresh ingredients are delivered straight to your door with easy directions that will have you preparing a 5 star meal in 30 minutes or less! Is dining in becoming the new dining out? I recently had the opportunity to chat with Andy Levitt, founder of plant based delivery service The Purple Carrot, to discuss his thoughts behind this trend, what being vegan means today, and what he sees for the future of TPC. How did you get started in the food industry? I’m an entrepreneur with a healthcare background. I spent 13 years in corporate America in the pharma sector, and then started my own company in early 2007, helping raise awareness among consumers about the value of prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions. After being diagnosed with Crohns disease in 2012, having emergency surgery and then watching the documentary Forks Over Knives – and learning about the ideas of food as medicine, rather than medicine as medicine – it all came together for me as the next business I needed to start. And how did you get started in the vegan food industry? Vegan food used to sound scary to me, and certainly not terribly appealing. But that false perception was due to my level of ignorance. As soon as I started to explore the amazing flavors, the options available to eat vegan, and the health benefits of plant-based foods, it was pretty easy to see the potential. I now eat a pretty balanced diet that incorporates a lot of plant-based meals. But I also tend to be more of an “everything in moderation, including moderation” type of person, so I still do consume animal proteins – but certainly far less now than I did several years ago. So many diverse and ethnic weekly options on The Purple Carrot! How do you find the recipes each week? Ironically, when I first launched The Purple Carrot in the Fall of 2014, I did so with the perception that people might find vegan food unappealing. So to combat that perceived concern, I worked with about 25 different vegan chefs like Robin Robertson and Rich Landau, of Vedge Restaurant, who gave me permission to use their recipes. Over time, we’ve expanded to work with food bloggers and developed a number of our own recipes for The Purple Carrot customers. We provide 4 meals each week and give people a choice across a range of flavors and ethnic food profiles. And of course, everything is 100% plant based, easy to prepare and tastes great. How have you seen the vegan community/industry change over the years? Last week, I was at Logan Airport and saw vegan blueberry muffins for sale at a coffee shop. I thought that was a compelling sign of the change that has occurred over the past few years when you would have to go to niche spots – not major US airports – to find vegan items. Vegan meals may not be quite mainstream, but the concept is certainly no longer fringe either. Why do you believe Meal Delivery services have become so popular recently? We all live in the Convenience Economy now, and are willing to pay a small premium for the convenience of someone solving your problem. The question of what to have for dinner is a huge challenge for so many people (and that question was another catalyst for me to start The Purple Carrot as I always heard that question from my wife each morning at breakfast!). Meal kits have helped make people more comfortable in the kitchen, and ironically, staying in for some people now feels more luxurious than going out! How do you compete with the competition, what’s your competitive edge? The Purple Carrot launched in October 2014, and we’ve exceeded our wildest expectations for demand. With a singular focus on plant based meals, we believe we’re going to dominate in our niche – but then expand to a broader audience as the concept of plant based meals becomes more mainstream. How do events like The Seed help you? Anything especially interesting that has come from these events? Events like The Seed are great in getting our name out to a core group of folks who are thrilled to see services catering to their passion for a vegan lifestyle. It’s great to meet customers face to face, hear their enthusiasm and support for what we’re building, and meet new folks who have yet to hear about us. Probably the most interesting things that have come from events is meeting people who have then come to work at The Purple Carrot – who knew it was such a great place to identify and recruit talented folks to join our team!? Where do you see The Purple Carrot in 5 years? You’ll see The Purple Carrot moving well beyond meal kits – and we’ll be seen as a larger force for plant based living. We anticipate raising awareness of environmental and health benefits, and creating a movement of like-minded people who realize that they have a unique opportunity to make choices that can have a dramatically positive effect on their lives, their families and our world. It’s a really exciting space, and its an honor to be a part of something so powerful. For more information on The Purple Carrot check out their website.