It all started few years ago when the topic of plant protein was not yet doing the rounds. At the time, the two cofounders, Manu and Benoît, were agricultural agronomic engineers in Lyon. “We had worked out that consumers felt they were eating too much meat and needed to find a way back to veggie-based food. We needed to bring the two together,” explains Manu. “We sensed – quite probably before others did - the emergence of the vegetarian and flexitarian trend,” adds Benoît, the other founder.
The choice of pulses
Their attention was then drawn to the huge potential offered by pulses: flowering plants which have the specificity of producing high protein grains, such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans or favas. When they founded their company in 2014, meat and fish were the predominant sources of protein they would find in the student canteen at which they regularly ate. “So we developed burgers and then no-meat balls made from pulses, and our first commercial outlet was naturally collective catering: school, university and company canteens, burger chains, etc.” explains Manu.
A big thank you to SIAL
Their adventure truly took off in 2016 when they participated in SIAL Paris and the SIAL Innovation competition. “This was when we really entered a new dimension by winning the competition. Suddenly we became well-known by professionals in France and abroad thanks to the huge visibility platform offered by SIAL and the media coverage,” says Benoît. Subsequently, the brand made a place for itself and the cofounders built up a substantial network at the show, with lots of interesting meetings and opportunities to capitalise upon. “In the six months to a year after SIAL, our order book filled up,” recalls Benoît.
But It didn’t stop there. The success that they encountered at SIAL obliged the two cofounders to scale up their company. “To get onto the mass retail market, we firstly had to consolidate our experience of the catering market and more importantly adjust our production.” Adapt, but without abandoning the DNA of the brand as an eco- and agro-responsible firm. “To be able to propose 100% organic and plant-based products with no additives and entirely made in France, you have to work hand-in-hand with local supply chains, which is what we do,” confirms Manu. The Hari&co adventure clearly has plenty more surprises in store for its partners and consumers.
Hari&co is the concept that will revolutionise the way we eat: burgers and no-meat balls with scrumptious recipes made from pulses which are both French-made and organic… because Hari&co, has very high standards for the quality and origin of its products. Created by two French agronomic engineers, this veggie food start-up has grown up fast since its first participation in SIAL, and today boasts more than 15 employees - and several flagship products!