Plantable: The Power of Food Is in People’s Hands
The food we eat influences the quality of our lives. And we don’t really pay attention to what we eat.
While we can’t directly influence everything, we can live a healthier lifestyle and improve our longevity. And we can do so with the help of Plantable. Plantable has a mission to prevent and reverse chronic illness and disease by changing how the world eats.
Luckily, some still live with the idea of helping others, and one of them is Nadja Pinnavaia, a woman who has taken tremendous steps to inspire and help people improve their lives.
Nadja shared the knowledge with people and built a wellness transformation program - Plantable. This is Nadja’s story, revealing how and why Plantable was created.
The Big Dream of a Young Woman in the World of Business
Nadja Pinnavaia grew up in England, and as a kid, she dreamed of being just like her father. However, life took an unexpected turn, and she lost her dad at 10. The tragic event left a huge mark, so much that Nadja decided she wanted to be in finance. As a kid, she set a goal to manage a multinational company, just like him.
An independent woman with a money-making career in a big city - that was the picture she had for herself. At the time, Nadja aspired to become financially independent and create a family.
Nadja gained her undergraduate degree in London in 1991 at King’s College London, and she continued with a Ph.D. in Quantum Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.
She began her career just like she wanted - in finance, as Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in London.
Nadja started trading in 1995 as a young woman on a male-oriented trading floor. She spent 6 years trading and later moved to asset management, where she stayed till 2007. Given that she was responsible for the whole business, she spent time with the managers of the largest global financial institutions, working with pension plans and insurance companies.
In 2007, she met an American man and decided to leave Goldman and move to New York.
Addiction to Food and a Call for Change
In early 2012, Nadja founded a company called Whitecap, where one of its clients sold a well-known shake product for weight management. However, after some research, she realized that she didn’t trust the product, nor did the product improve anyone’s health. So she moved on. The year 2014 was a critical year for Nadja, as her mother-in-law was diagnosed with kidney cancer. This was the second case of cancer in her closest relatives, as Nadja had already lost her mom as a kid to breast cancer.
The second time, given that she was older, triggered her to start researching to find ways to help. She came across a book called "Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber.” Reading the book, she learned about the modern diet and how it compromises the immune system.
She dived deeply into the physician's bestsellers to understand the impact of food on health, reading every single article for about six months. She concluded that a healthy diet isn’t based on counting calories but a nutrient-dense diet.
The second conclusion she came to was that many people have food addictions. As she says, the addiction to sugar in food is like smoking; you know it is bad for your health, but you can’t give up easily.
This was when she decided to find a solution to combat the health crisis, and launched her new company, Euphebe.
The Big Discovery
In January 2015, Euphebe, today's Plantable, was born. Aside from her entrepreneurial spirit, in April 2015, Nadja attended a course in culinary nutrition at the National Gourmet Institute. At that time, her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was an intensive period for Nadja, looking for her sister and devotedly finishing the course.
Nadja implemented everything she learned in the kitchen by launching a pilot project. She tested her healthy recipes on 11 people for 28 days, of which 7 were her work colleagues.
She would provide homemade meals for them daily and observe the changes. The results were fantastic - people lost weight while feeling more energized.
These results encouraged her, so she hired Nikki Bennett as a chef, and they launched a little kitchen in Carroll Gardens in 2016. Their first major challenge was fulfillment and distribution. In the first days, Nadja drove a branded truck around Manhattan and Brooklyn so people could come and get their weekly meals. Once this was solved, they tried to set up shipping and distribution to the West Coast.
The Plantable Team
Nadja had to ask for help to achieve her goal, and she did that marvelously. Nadja surrounded herself with a high-quality team. Nikki King Bennett, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute and an expert in health-supportive, plant-based cuisine, heads up the culinary team, focusing on continually evolving the Plantable menu. Rachel Hazen, Chef de Cuisine, is a graduate chef from the Natural Gourmet Institute.
Christen Dinger, Chief Customer Officer, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a focus on Food & Nutrition, invests her time in ensuring that the Plantable meals experience is flawless from start to finish. Dr. Hooman Yaghoobzadeh, a Medical Advisor, believes that the foundation of good health starts with lifestyle choices - the most important being food.
Amanda Bontempo, Chief Nutrition Advisor, is a registered dietitian and member-board certified in oncology nutrition. Finally, Sophia Cools-Lartigue, and Maegan Harris, both kitchen staff, pack and process all the orders, supporting the kitchen staff.
Plantable Program, More than a Company
Plantable is more than a product that is made and delivered to people’s homes. It is a super easy program that helps people reset their habits and gives them the control they need. It is also more than promoting veganism because being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthy. You can be vegan and still eat processed foods.
The next best thing about Plantable is its customer loyalty. Instead of aggressive marketing, the team focused on quality, and it paid off. People using their platform started feeling and looking better, which is a reason enough to support them.
Additionally, Plantable customer support is available at all times, especially at night when people need help to stop eating sugar or other unhealthy foods.
Nadja realized it’s about building relationships with people, profoundly understanding who they are and their habits, and making an individual approach. It builds a relationship rather than interviewing and coaching them by the scheme.
Through the years, Plantable raised $8.8 and $1.5 million in two additional rounds for a total funding amount of $10 million. Plantable aims to show that it could grow into a billion-dollar company and challenge the pharma industry.
Clinically Proven Future Asset for Physicians
Currently, there are clinical trials ongoing where Nadja wants to prove what she already knows, the effect of plant food on inflammation, blood sugar, and cholesterol. And she’s in it for three reasons.
The first is for Plantable to be independently, clinically proven, and supported by global medical institutions.
The second reason is cancer, as it is linked to weight and inflammation. Nadja intends to prove Plantable’s reduction of these risk factors.
The third one is to provide medical institutions with an alternative solution - not only to recommend changes in the diet but to have a real ready option.
She believes it is the most cost-effective program; therefore, the future she sees is to make Plantable available to everyone.