Coastie Craft Burgers is one of our suppliers for delicious vegan burgers. They focus on using sustainable, local ingredients, minimizing waste, and protecting the environment. In this week’s supplier feature, we’re featuring Ali and Matt, the founders of Coastie Craft Burgers here to tell more about themselves, the business, and their values.
Can you introduce yourself, Coastie Craft Burgers, and your business model?
We’re Ali & Matt, the founders of Coastie Craft Burgers. We started this thing together upon launching in August 2019. As far as the business model goes, we’re just trying to deliver delicious amazing plant-based burgers with as little waste as possible, as good of ingredients as possible, in a zero carbon bike delivery format. We have two parts to our business model: our direct delivery side with our online store, and our amazing business partners, like Nada.
How did the idea for Coastie Craft Burgers come about?
We came together serendipitously in the backcountry. We were both at a crossroads in life and ready to jump into an exciting new project.
Matt: For my side of things, I've been in the world of food and restaurants for about 10 years and really thinking about how to make an exciting product that really ticks every box for sustainability and how to make food products that work in the future.
Ali: I had spent a lot of time in the world of accounting, had become tired of the corporate world, and needed a change. I had spent a few months making veggie burgers and working on these amazing veggie burger recipes.
Matt: We were on a backcountry trip with a bunch of friends and ended up sharing some veggie burgers over the campfire and they were so good. It’s kinda funny, but it probably took me about 5 minutes to say “okay, let’s do this”. I’ve always been waiting for the right business partner, and then Ali and I ended up meeting a couple more times over the summer and tested out some recipes. Six months later, we launched in the commissary kitchen and were ready to start selling a product.
Where you operate and how many staff do you have?
We make our burgers at Commissary Connect, a wonderful shared kitchen space right by Science World. It's a great location and allows us to do our bike delivery. We don’t have any employees - it’s just us!
Do you usually eat plant-based? Do you have any tips for eating plant-based?
Ali: When I began Coastie, I wasn’t plant-based at all. Now, I don't eat any animal products. It’s been a full switch and just being in this world and realizing that there are so many options and great food all the time by eating plant-based.
The impact on the environment makes it so worthwhile from my perspective. I know that it's not practical or realistic for everybody to be fully plant-based, but our whole mission here is to make as many people eat as many plants possible.
Matt: I think to feel fully satisfied with a plant-based meal, you have to incorporate a lot of different ingredients. For me, I love using lots of different fats like avocados, coconut oil. I always put around 5 different types of fats, nuts, or seeds into my meals and combine it with high protein vegetables too.
Ali: That’s why Coastie works so well, we already do all the work of combining these ingredients for you. All you have to do is scoop our mix out of a jar, fry it up, and then you can put that on anything, whether that’s a rice bowl, salad bowl, or wrap - I even make a meatloaf out of the Velocity Veg!
Honestly, I’m the biggest advocate for Coastie burgers because I eat them almost every day. I wouldn’t survive without them.
How do you come up with the recipes for your products?
Ali: The original recipes came with a lot of trial and error. It was myself in my home kitchen just trying things out. I would take vegetarian dishes and try to convert them into burgers. Basically the idea was that I wanted really convenient food that was also really delicious and plant-based. It took so many iterations and time.
Lately, we’ve been trying to figure out how we can develop new and more seasonal burgers. We’re still working on trying to streamline the process because the initial development took months.
Do you only work with local suppliers and do you have any plans for expansion in 2021?
Matt: We work with mostly local suppliers and definitely the whole ethos of our business is to keep it as local as possible. Our food system is designed to make food in these massive factories and shipped all over the world. This just creates more carbon in our food system. The whole point of Coastie is to make an affordable product and use as many local ingredients as we possibly can.
We also recognize our soil is an incredibly important part of our environment as well, so using as many organic ingredients as we can in our burgers. Discovery Organics and then a few other local suppliers have been awesome for us because they'll even provide us with options for less waste in the supply chain. We want to minimize waste at every step.
For expansion, we want to be able to get our burger into as many mouths as we can, with Vancouver as the focus. As soon as we try to take a product and ship it all across Canada, it's not made with local produce anymore. That’s why we’re focusing on doing lots of farmers markets and making this a really awesome community product. We want to do well in Vancouver and make this a Vancouver business by focusing on getting into local relationships.
What type of environmental initiatives have you implemented into your business?
Matt: The whole reason we started this business was due to our focus on the environment.
It was really important for us to focus on local food systems and healthy food. Every decision that we make for this business is to make it as sustainable as possible. From the suppliers that we chose, to the ingredients that are in the burger, to the packaging, to the burger delivery method, to the environmentally friendly labels made from recycled paper and vegetable based ink, and doing it with a jar return program, we wanted to create a product that helps solve the problems that are in our food system.
Ali: We want to be able to say that if everybody ate our burgers everyday, it would solve the majority of the environmental issues in the world.
What’s your favourite Coastie burger?
Ali: This is the contentious question. Lots of people ask us this and we usually decline to answer, but my favourite is the Soul Searcher for a couple of reasons.
- It's the first one we developed, the baby of all of them and
- I just love Mexican flavours. I love spicy stuff so I’ll add a really spicy sauce. I love tacos and burritos, so I’ll make it into taco meat too.
Matt: I always tell people it’s hard to choose between our children, our burgers that we spend so much time making. But our Velocity Veg is definitely one that’s emerged as the top seller. A lot of our friends feed it to their young children almost every day. It’s kinda hilarious, it’s almost like our side market.
Lately, my favourite would be the Backcountry Saga (the spinach and curry one). It’s partly because of the ingredients in it. It has tons of organic spinach, coconut yogurt, fresh ginger, fresh jalapenos, and tons of other organic veggies. We cook it all the way down into this flavourful bite of spinach and curry and it's just so versatile to use. You serve this with some mango chutney and it’ll hit the spot!
We hope you enjoyed taking the time to get to know Coastie Craft Burgers better. Thanks for the recommendations Ali and Matt! Be sure to try out their highly recommended Velocity Veg, Backcountry Saga, Sol Searcher, and Garbanzo Grind burgers.