Two peas in a pod: Peas of Heaven & Climate footprint

Peas of heaven is a plant-based company producing all things pea-protein, with burgers, sausages, and all kinds of grillable goods that have been opening the gates of pea-heaven, one hardcore grill traditionalist at a time. Their products have turned from a pleasant surprise on Swedish summer grills to a must-have whenever fire is around. Moreover, creative as Peas of Heaven are, their delicacies are –to use their own words– on a climate diet!

The founding story of Peas of Heaven is the strongest testament of quality for their products. Founded by Marcus and Lucas Karlsson, Peas of Heaven started as a forward-thinking brand branching out of a century-old charcuterie company. The two brothers representing the new generation of consumers saw into the future of meat and realized that sooner than we think, meat will not be as appealing an option as it was to the consumers of yesterday.

Nevertheless, considering their heritage, they could not live in a world without sausages. So, they thought: “How can we still eat the things we love but without the impact on the climate and our health?”. We spoke with Latif Andersson, Chief Operating Officer at Peas of Heaven, to get the full story.

Peas of heaven on a climate diet: The origins

Latif positions Peas of Heaven in the food industry landscape in a very effective and future-proof way:

We exist to be the enabler of the transition to alternative proteins. The food system is the number two contributor to every part of the climate crisis. On the flipside, that gives the food industry the potential for the second largest contribution in halting it. We need to do better than ‘less bad’ – we have to do good. If consumers can choose a product that delivers the same value and is more climate-friendly, they will choose that. A climate strategy is a matter of survival as a business and as an industry – Not having one is like not having a website.

The brand idea was this: Instead of marketing it as ‘vegan’ and losing the attention of a highly relevant target audience, Peas of Heaven entered the market as ‘just a different protein’. And with the infrastructure, knowledge, and experience with retailers in place from the family industry, Peas of Heaven hit the shelves and the picnic tables very quickly. But it also hit the billboards of their hometown, Gothenburg, with a –true to brand– powerful, cheeky message: We’re on a climate diet.

Peas of Heaven Climate diet Campaign

How did Peas of Heaven know they’re on a climate diet? They calculated the climate footprints from the get-go. Latif tells us:

The main drivers for consumers choosing plant-based products are climate change and health – Climate is number one. It was obvious to us that pea protein has a lower climate impact than meat protein, but we did not know how to measure the climate footprints. If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers.

The road to retail heaven is paved with climate footprints

And innovation kept on spiraling out and upwards since. As Latif describes, innovation in plant-based ingredients is moving fast and the implementation of it becomes applicable easily with production at scale. Since they first calculated the climate footprints of their products, Peas of Heaven are now adding new ingredients, standing as their own brand, and strategizing to bring the entire value chain in-house – and drive the prices even further down. Have climate footprints helped? Latif says:

Up until now, we have used climate footprints to know where we stand with three products. Now we are using it at the product development stage and adding the total portfolio of 20 products. We intend to label all of them once the new formula is solidified. It has been really useful for us. If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers. The main drivers for consumers choosing plant-based products are climate change and health – Climate is number one. It was obvious to us that pea protein has a lower climate impact than meat protein, but we did not know how to measure the climate footprints. If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers.

While CarbonCloud has been vocal about the impact of climate transparency, there is even more value in the food brand saying it. So where has the combination of climate transparency and delicious pea protein taken Peas of Heaven? All the major retailers in Sweden, every convenience store, gas station, and their very own delivery service. Latif tells us:

A lot of retailers have higher standards on what they expect their suppliers to know and understand. There was a wave of focusing on packaging, but they now understand that there are so many points in the supply chain to work with. It is very difficult for them to pin down specific requirements but climate footprint labels are a modern way to be transparent that resonates with retailers and says a lot about the companies using them: They acknowledge that they have a climate impact.If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers. The main drivers for consumers choosing plant-based products are climate change and health – Climate is number one. It was obvious to us that pea protein has a lower climate impact than meat protein, but we did not know how to measure the climate footprints. If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers.

Climate footprint label Peas of Heaven

Climate diet-turned-climate menu

Nevertheless, the most ambitious angle yet of the Peas of Heaven climate footprint messaging is still to be delivered. The plant-based unicorn is pitching convenience stores and gas stations to include a climate-friendly menu. The pain point as Latif has perceived it? These types of stores struggle to communicate their plant-based options. Latif’s solution? A climate-smart menu:

The climate-smart menu shows you how much you save in CO2e when choosing the plant-based option so it becomes transparent to the consumer. It is a great packaging aspect and having climate-efficient products are also part of why they are providing plant-based alternatives.The main drivers for consumers choosing plant-based products are climate change and health – Climate is number one. It was obvious to us that pea protein has a lower climate impact than meat protein, but we did not know how to measure the climate footprints. If you can’t show the data, then it is just a claim! That’s why we partnered with CarbonCloud. Internally, it was a good way to measure progress in how we want our products to be developed. We have been using climate footprints mainly as a starting point to know where we are today and to be transparent to ourselves and to the consumers.

That was all Latif could disclose for now on this project! But we cannot wait to hear the rest of it – and see it in convenience stores around Sweden. Stay tuned for our follow-up with Latif and the rocket trajectory of Peas of Heaven!

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