At the beginning of 2019, I made a radical decision which changed not only the rest of the year, but my whole life.
I decided to commit to my mission: to make plant-based food the norm with my experience.
Over land to India, what have i gotten myself into...
At the end of 2018 I was 33 and over a year commercial manager, responsible for a team of five people and 80 million euro purchase value. A role I’d been working towards for almost ten years. Each time I made a nice step in my carreer.
My colleagues and I won three “Indistribution” trophies in a row, a prize in which a supermarket chain votes which suppliers perform best in the collaboration.
Still, something wasn’t right. The job didn’t make me happy. I felt like I was constantly driving the effort and that my ambitions in the field of sustainability were not shared, think of making the chicken more sustainable (which came from Brazil) and more focus on plant-based products in the range.
Besides that, in the role I had before , I was much more concerned with growing with a customer, instead of being in many meetings. I had now also proven to myself that it was possible to make a good career as a young woman, so that goal was also achieved.
I made a radical decision: I quit my job and went on a world trip with my boyfriend. A trip over land to India, through countries like Iran and Pakistan.
To bring about change, I regularly take a bold move.
When I decided I wanted to study Business Administration, Groningen was the farthest away: I had to live on my own and build a life there. This is something I do more often in life: put myself in a position that makes me have to make a big change happen.
That’s how it was with the world trip. The unpaid leave scheme was in place, I was able to leave for five months. But still, I suddenly felt like, “Should I do that?”
I’ll be back in the same role in five months. What I did then is assess the risks. I made a calculation of how many months I might be unemployed after returning. Since I went backpacking, I could sing it out. So I decided: I’m resigning! What a freedom!
There are more people who quit their jobs and go on a world trip, but there are few people who leave by land for India. To get there, I traveled through Pakistan. A lot of people said, “Pakistan is very dangerous, isn’t it?” That’s what I thought. But I like to do research and this is also one of my strengths.
I came across the few blogs and Facebook groups that are about traveling in Pakistan and was convinced that this could be fine. And it turned out to be.
I am immensely grateful that I have listened to my own feelings, against all advice. And for all the wonderful encounters on the train and during the hitchhiking. I’m glad I’m stubborn.
When I was sitting on a mountain in Pakistan I knew: I want to work as a self-employed person and use my knowledge that I have gained in the food industry in 12 years for my mission:
MAKING PLANT-BASED FOOD THE NORM
I HAVE BEEN EATING PLANT-BASED FOR FIVE YEARS
I used to have a lot of intestinal problems and a sinus infections, which was often dismissed by the doctor as stress and irregular living.
During a challenge five years ago I changed my diet to vegan for five weeks and I felt much fitter.
I then started to delve into other reasons why people eat vegetarian or vegan, I had never really heard of this.
When I saw the documentary Cowspiracy, I decided: I was going to eat plant-based.
By travelling in Iran and Pakistan, I became (even) more concerned about the world’s food and water supplies. So this gave me the last push to start working on my mission every day.
I BELIEVE IN A WORLD WHERE PLANT-BASED FOOD IS THE NORM. THERE ARE FOUR REASONS FOR THIS:
I want to contribute to such a world through the work experience I have gained in all these years in the food industry and my years of experience as a consumer who started eating plant-based.
Over the years I have worked at many companies, from Nestlé and Dr. Oetker to Hessing, a major producer of private label salads, lettuce and other convenience vegetables. My added value is that I:
That is why I am now working with companies to ensure that plant-based food becomes the norm by increasing the supply in supermarkets.
It is important that companies with plant products come forward with the best story. And that the product stays on the shelves! That’s where my strength lies.
I’m a very driven person. If I have a goal in mind, I’m totally committed to it. If one customer said, we’re not innovative enough, I made sure that we finally came after all sorts of rounds, with 50 new products in a year. Some of which still sell tremendously well. Isn’t Pakistan safe enough? I’ll always find out for myself first.
In addition, I am authentic, people can build on me and always know what they have to me. And if things are in danger of getting messy, I’ll indicate it in good time so that priorities can be set.
SOME NICE FACTS ABOUT ME:
And now I'm curious about you!
What drives you? Why do you want to come to market with a plant-based product? What reasons do you have for it?
I like working with driven people. You may want to start with a plant-based product because you believe there is a market for this (and that’s right!). Or because you would like to contribute to a better world? It’s probably even a combination of these.
What questions do you run into? What information do you miss?
Send me a message, and we can always get acquainted.
Let me know by filling in below or emailing me on email@example.com.