For cafe owners, having a selection of plant milks by the coffee machine is now standard.
"When it comes to using a plant milk, baristas are fastidious – they want one that's high quality, that works perfectly with the coffee they're using."
Plant Projects is on a mission to bring barista quality plant-based milks to the people. The Auckland-based company, founded in 2019, distributes existing international alt-milk brands. But the big plan is to launch more of its own products. They’ve already branched out with plant-milk-friendly coffee beans, and later in 2021, they'll present the foamy goodness of barista-formula coconut milk, in addition to adding more plant based options later in the year!
Achieving that perfect microfoam on every cup is crucial, and founder Jamie Wilson says prospective customers need to know it's compatible with their coffee beans before it's even worth considering.
"I view Upstock as the future of distribution. Having the ability for people to trial our product through Upstock without having to send a rep in, that saves days, even weeks. It allows us to connect with so many buyers without sending out a team."
Plant Project's presence on the Upstock sample store has given them expanded customer visibility, while it’s simplified and sped up the process of convincing potential new buyers they're worth a shot. After registering, the uptick in the volume of new customers was immediate. But what surprised them most was they found they were getting orders from businesses they wouldn't usually expect to hear from.
"Gyms weren’t even on our radar, but then a bunch started ordering in Upstock. That’s opened up a whole new, fast growing market for us."
Jamie says Upstock's sample store is now an essential and powerful tool for connecting it with "plant milk curious" customers, outside its usual customer base.
More from our chat with Jamie Wilson – Founder, Plant Projects...
What started your mission to bring plant milks to market?
I was working for a plant-based startup in Vancouver. It was an eye-opening experience learning about plant-based food systems and seeing the opportunities of being in such a fast-growing and exciting sector with a lot of innovation. I viewed it as a great opportunity for New Zealand, and something I was passionate about. There were really limited options available. That has substantially changed this year, as the sector has truly become alive with many great products.
In the past, what were some of the problems you experienced with wholesale orders?
Before we used Upstock our most standard problem’s included mis-keys, mis-picks and time spent going back and forth over email. Sometimes days could be lost from goods not being shipped and delivered. This creates friction between us and customers as we rush to turn things around. Adding cost, stress and all the things we don’t want in our day-to-day. Upstock also allows for easy cover if our orders person is sick as anyone can walk in and click approve to ensure orders are sent.
With Upstock the time savings have been immense. Without Upstock orders are often unclear, so the back and forth is costly in time and can often delay orders being delivered resulting in problems for us, and more importantly the customer.
Has Upstock changed your customer relationships?
Our customers like us more if they can get their orders faster and have no delays in communication. As friendly as we are, our customers like us more if they don’t have to talk to us and they get their stock quickly.
Did you have any concerns or confusion before using Upstock?
No. I saw the future of ordering and joined Upstock immediately.