For years, the world has been grappling with the issue of food waste. The level to which this problem exists is beyond our imagination and needs something more than just a solution. Committed to putting an end to it, Hannah McCollum in 2016, formed London-based ChicP, a brand that has completely transformed the way the world perceives food.
In her experience of 9 years as a private Chef, Hannah noticed that people were tired of the same insipid & unhealthy food options and were eager for catering to their taste buds with something new. Hannah coupled her creative cooking skills with her desire to curb food wastage to create something that has never been imagined before. Her visionary thinking has not only solved a major problem but has also enlightened and inspired many other leaders to think beyond just conventional business concepts and do something to address global challenges.
This is how it started
Before starting her entrepreneurial journey, Hannah used to undertake a lot of private cooking jobs. Her attention was drawn to a lot of food being wasted for no reason when working for larger catering business companies that conducted huge sporting events. She attempted to raise her voice to stop this outrageous waste of food, but her complaints were ignored. This triggered within her a real passion for putting an end to food wastage and use it in a never-before way. “In my cooking jobs, I would always keep the leftovers and convert them into dips and hummus the next day for lunch. People loved it and gradually I managed to build myself up a bit of a reputation for having a ‘dip of the day”. She started doing the same at home and that was an instant hit too. Amidst her food experiments, Hannah realized that there’s nothing sustainable on the shelf, and not many healthy hummus options with raw vegetables and exciting flavors are available. This was the moment that led to the formation of ChicP.
Problem spotted is a problem solved
With an astonishing 40% of British crops rejected simply because of their shape and size, and a staggering 1/3rd of food produced in the UK never being consumed, this significant waste of food had to be curtailed, and it had to be done with purpose, clarity, and vision. Since its launch in 2016, ChicP has been relentlessly trying to educate people and prevent this wastage by offering healthy, colourful dips from surplus and imperfect vegetables. “Our ethos is all about health and sustainability with a focus on encouraging consumers to reduce food waste while working with British seasonal vegetables and eating more plant-based food!” says Hannah. “The intention is to help people Eat better, live better, do better.” Quite a unique concept in itself, it has proved to be an effective and doable solution that is also good for the planet. ChicP not only creates a variety of hummus from surplus vegetables and veggie bites which offer a healthier take on falafel but also focuses on encouraging consumers to reduce food wastage and consume more plant-based food. Their hummus range comes in a wide variety of beautiful flavors, four of which have 30% vegetable content and root superfoods. They are not only nutritional but also extremely delicious, fresh, natural, and sustainable. As a part of their strategy, ChicP frequently keeps adding new dishes thereby adding newness to their menu and creating excitement about their concept in general. Their latest additions include a new range of veggie bites which are very nutritious due to the high quantity of fresh vegetables, thereby creating a healthier alternative to falafel and making plant-based food more exciting, and delicious. “Our USP is the sustainable, food waste ethos and focus while also producing a healthier, seasonal range of products,” affirms Hannah. “We also plant a tree for every 100 pots we sell, we volunteer and donate to charities such as Greenpeace and Felix Project.”
Hannah, a strong advocate for a plant-based diet, is encouraging everyone to watch the documentary ‘EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION’. It takes audiences on a cinematic journey around the world, from the depths of the Amazon rainforests to the Taiwanese Mountains, the Mongolian desert, the US Dust Bowl, the Norwegian Fjords and the Scottish coastlines, telling the story of our planet through shocking testimonials, poignant accounts from indigenous people most affected by our ever-changing planet, globally renowned figures and leading scientists. This powerful documentary sends a simple but impactful message by uncovering hard truths and addressing, on the big screen, the most pressing issue of our generation – ecological collapse. The documentary urges everyone to switch to a plant-based diet claiming avoiding animal products such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs, will have a profound impact towards a sustainable future for our planet. “EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION exposes some brutal truths about how your food arrives at your plate,” says Hannah. “It will dramatically change your perception of our current eco-crises and the urgency for change.”
Staying ahead of the competition
Having taken the food industry by storm, ChicP has been in the mainstream business world for the last 5 years. It surely has a lot of competition in the market, with other brands selling identical products. ChicP, on the other hand, feels that it has no direct competitors because the quality they provide is subpar, and the majority of them contain preservatives. Because they do not provide a variety of flavor alternatives, the competition is reduced even further. Major competition comes from label hummus but again their quality also does not compare to that of ChicP. Without a doubt, ChicP significantly outperforms the competition. “We all have different brand missions. Some are organic which I think is a great thing to be able to say and is definitely in the pipeline for ChicP,” adds Hannah.
With its target audience ranging from adults between ages 15-55 years, ChicP has its focus on health-conscious women, is sustainably aware, and loves high-quality healthy food. With a versatile customer base, they also cater to kids and children who love their hummus. Having taken healthy food to the next level through innovation and improvement, ChicP has certainly shown the world what healthy food can look and taste like. Driven by a passion, ChicP is not only trying to change people’s attitudes towards food preparation, consumption, and waste; but is also making people think differently about the way they eat. “Our hummus is not just for eating as a dip but fantastic with any meal, as an accompaniment or sauce. Just add it to veggies, pasta, pies, grain dishes, or salad, or just as a spread. The list is endless,” adds Hannah.
Having led a major food revolution, ChicP today stands as a brand that is not only different from others but is also creating benchmarks for others to follow. Taking food that was rejected and transforming it into a delicacy is certainly not an easy task. However, with the commitment ChicP works, it indeed makes it look like a cakewalk. Though it is surrounded by competition, ChicP easily steers through it, maintaining its lead and continuing its winning streak.
Beyond the pandemic
For nearly two years, the world has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. However, even in these difficult times, some firms have been able to find a way and continue pursuing their goals, albeit slowly and steadily. Being strategically flexible and strong, ChicP too has been able to maintain steady growth and did well in retail sales. Though it took a hit in some areas of its business, the company is positive and is hoping that food service picks up again and retail will maintain its momentum. Optimistic towards the future, ChicP is prepared to make a bigger comeback.
“We have some exciting new projects coming up and are also undertaking a new strategy which will have an approach to more British, seasonal, and local products with a focus on the beneficial functions of the ingredients,” says Hannah. “Watch this space!”