The vegan pizza firm looking for a slice of the frozen food market

One Planet Pizza. Production manager Flossie Kirton.

One Planet Pizza. Production manager Flossie Kirton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A restauranteur is hoping to get a bigger slice of the £9bn veggie food market by launching a vegan pizza brand.

Mike Hill, who runs vegetarian restaurant River Green Cafe in Trowse Newton, launched the business after deciding there was a gap in the market for a frozen vegan pizza.

The business has used equity crowd funding website Seedrs to generate investment with the aim of upping production to 1,000 pizzas a week and opening a purpose built kitchen at Park Farm, Hethersett.

He said: 'There is a growing market as veganism has increased 300% in the last 10 years.

'The big supermarkets are starting to stock vegan cheeses and I saw there was a gap for a market leading vegan pizza.'

With two fundraising rounds already having achieved their £20,000 target One Planet is now aiming to grow through a home delivery service and by expanding the number of whole foods stores it is stocked in. Mr Hill said the firm's niche nature meant there was no hurry to get into supermarkets.

'We are currently stocked in around 15 stores, mostly in East Anglia,' he said.

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'We have plenty more who are interested. We are not in a rush to go into the supermarkets. Our customers tend to look for us in the smaller shops and I am not sure if it is right for the brand at this stage.'

There are plans to go into Europe within two years – with some funders coming from the continent.

Experience in the restaurant side of the food industry has helped with suppliers but it is a different market.

Mr Hill said: 'Most of our customers aren't vegetarian or vegan, they have come because they know someone who is or they just like the food.'

Once production trebled to 1,000 a week, after the planned expansion, Mr Hill calculates turnover will be around the £200,000 mark.

In Norfolk a number of vegan eateries have opened in recent times including diner Bia on Norwich Market and soya dairy Tofurei, on Pottergate.

Ethical eating is a growing trend in the UK with a 5.3% rise in spending in 2015, up to £9bn, compared to a 9% fall in food spending in general.

It is estimated there are now 7.7 million vegetarians or vegans – making up 12% of the UK.