Interview with Nicolas Hartmann from vly

We caught up with the co-founder of vly, a dairy alternative brand, that was a part of the first ProVeg Incubator program, allowing them to develop and launch their product in Germany.

vly also participated in the New Food Conference event led by ProVeg at the end of April 2021. Take a look at what we talked about!

How did the idea of vly come about?

The idea originated through a personal journey. When I was younger, I suffered an inflammation injury in my elbows that put an end to my basketball dream. That started my quest to learn more about health and created a deep interest in healthy food & nutrition. Later after visiting an organic dairy farm in Germany, I realized that my long-held believe that high protein dairy is a healthy food was a myth. I became vegan at the sight of industrial animal agriculture and I was convinced that this cannot be good for us. The more I learned about the topic, the stronger my conviction grew.

It grew to the point where I needed to put my energy towards solving this problem. Then, Niklas – a friend from my studies in Oxford, Moritz – a passionate chef in Michelin starred restaurants, got together to create the healthiest dairy alternatives that don’t compromise on taste. We came together on the belief that food should make humans thrive and not harm them.

 

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Unfortunately, this is still the status quo. Animal protein consumption is at an all-time high. Even with all data showing that our current Western diets do not work: Based on the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, in the past 30 years, diabetes is up 93%, cardiovascular diseases by 40%. And diet is the main factor.

That’s what we want to change. But we do not only want to omit disease. It’s also about living a life full of energy, a life where humans can thrive. We believe that it is possible today. It does not have to come with compromises anymore. That’s the goal with everything we create.

 

vly was one of the protagonists of the first batch of ProVeg Incubator, looking back at 2018 what were the key findings during this period?

 

The ProVeg Incubator is a tremendous institution within the alternative protein space. We were glad to be part of the very first batch. The people there have a very strong mission and help on all kinds of challenges that a young company like us was facing. Specifically, ProVeg helped us to get our product & business ready for the market launch in Germany. We’re very grateful for their support.

vly milk

Direct to consumer VS retail, how do you plan to grow in these two channels?

Both channels are very important for us for different reasons. With our online shop, we drive brand awareness and benefit from direct feedback. Our retail channel can give us the reach and exposure we need as a startup. Offline channels also give us the sales volume we need to drive change. Our online performance is strongly relevant for our visibility and brand identity. It’s super interesting to see that online and offline channels benefit from each other. Successful campaigns in a certain area, also drive revenue in retail  in the same area.  

 

Congrats for the recent milestone of more than 2.000.000 litres of vly sold, what’s next for the pea protein milk made in Germany?

In 5 years we have greatly influenced the shift from animal to plant-based products. Plant proteins are in the mainstream. vly is in supermarkets all over Europe and our products include all plant-based products. Psst – super-exclusive: We will also launch a new plant-based dairy product soon. Stay tuned. 

 

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Thank you Nicolas for this conversation, it was a pleasure speaking with you! We wish vly all the best and a successful journey ahead.

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