Curious eating for health and wellbeingPosted 11th January 2024
More than simply fuel and sustenance, we really enjoy our food, and sharing details of it! But too much of the wrong sort can end up on the belly, clog our arteries and leave a legacy of ill health. If only we could enjoy truly tempting food that feeds the body in all the right ways… Enter Eat Curious, a tasty new proposition for the plate. Sammy Jones tucked in…
The Northamptonshire-based food development company says it is ‘bringing innovation and sustainability to the plant-based food sector.’
“Our whole passion is around nutrition and health, rather than just trying to copy meat,” says Preyesh Patel, one of the three co-founders of Eat Curious.
Between them, the partners boast backgrounds in health care and renewable energy technologies. The perfect meeting of business minds.
“We were interested in the technology and the science behind vertical farming, and that’s why we started this whole project,” Preyesh explained, “We eventually partnered with a technology firm based in London to create our first vertical farm, which was a 40 ft shipping container and small hydroponic facility.”
Things have expanded somewhat since then, and they now have their own dedicated ‘plant playground.’
“We started to grow crops and herbs and play around with different technologies and learned how a changing environment of the crop can impact its nutritional properties.”
The initial project range of food was based on pea protein and delivered the more usual meat alternative products, namely burgers and sausages.
In 2022 the Horton based company began manufacturing and selling locally; their flavoursome foods did the business too – a pub chain and restaurants in the area swapped their usual suppliers for Eat Curious.
What sets them apart from the pack is that this brand truly has our health and wellbeing at the heart of the operation.
“The sectors that need this kind of food and ingredients are places like hospitals and places of education – they are your next generation and are really passionate about plant-based diets. The food needs to improve in those institutions, and so we work very closely with those two industries.
“We work with the business and industry sector as well – a lot of canteens and office blocks feed huge volumes of people, sometimes 1000s of people a day.
“We want to make a difference in those canteens and give those chefs tools so if they do want to go green then they can do it, they have the ingredients from us, and also our support as well.”
Eat Curious has patties and mince, protein pieces with yummy hot & spicy and BBQ glazes, and – importantly for this writer – there is an egg alternative that makes sensational scrambles and omelettes that are on another level.
They’ve got fillets and en croutes and tenders, and more, created by their own team of food development chefs.
A bit like those breakfast cereals or tins of beans in your food cupboard, this is vegan food, but it doesn’t scream vegan at you – it shouldn’t need to.
“I believe the whole world needs to lean towards a plant-based diet for all sorts of reasons; we don’t have enough land mass and most people are interested in trying to move away from meat anyway, for animal welfare, sustainability and so on,” Preyesh believes.
“We need to create products that target everyone and make people feel comfortable moving away from meat to a predominantly plant-based diet which will have huge health and sustainability benefits.
“When you have a plant based burger you are copying the meat version, right? There’s nothing wrong with that, but I class that as vegan fast food – there will always be a demand for it, and as I mentioned, we have plant based sausages and burgers too. But the reason we have been successful is because of our other base ingredients which are not actually there to copy meat, they are there as a vehicle for texture and taste that happen to be made out of plant protein.
“We are not here to ram veganism down people’s throats,” he promises, “Our whole ethos is just to give them options and let them make the decisions. This is for everyone, not just for 5% of the population.
“I find it really frustrating when you go somewhere and you have a separate menu for vegan food,” Preyesh says, “I genuinely believe it’s not the way forward. All you have done is alienate people that may want to try it, but not try vegan food by definition.
“If you are vegan you are sold into this whole angle, but if you aren’t, you would never dream of looking at a vegan menu, but if you’ve got a menu where everything is integrated and predominantly plant-based? Then I guarantee the uptake will be much greater.”
Eat Curious is a new name on the block, but it is making huge strides, as much for those health benefits it offers as for its range of lip-licking taste sensations.
“Our focus is on being a versatile ingredient that is also clean – completely allergen free with no ultra processed elements to it, there are no chemicals in there which means it will be accessible to all.
“I think that’s what’s quite unique about what we are doing – there aren’t many products on the market like that.”
Eat Curious supplies wholesale. If you are an in-patient at Northampton General Hospital you might be given the option of Eat Curious, and where they supply, they work hand in hand with the chefs to show how their ingredients can be implemented into menus with the best results.
There they go again, going that bit further for the diner. Looking ahead, Eat Curious is already focusing on how their products can boost our nutritional intake in other ways.
“We’re looking at increasing fibre content, looking at gut microbiomes and how we can benefit that as well…there are loads of different topics and targets we have in our heads and we are doing all sorts of research.
“The core ethos is always going to be about improving nutrition and health of people, not just substituting meat,” promised Preyesh.
Eat Curious has definitely given us food for thought.
Take a bite: eat-curious.com