Photo by roam in color on Unsplash

This startup in Ukraine is bringing vegan and vegetarian products to consumers across Europe.

Bret Waters
2 min readJul 3, 2022

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If you look-up the search data on Google Trends, you’ll see that consumer searches for “Plant-based diet” have increased 100x in the past ten years. That’s pretty remarkable. All over the globe, more and more people are gravitating toward vegan and vegetarian food choices.

This trend is especially strong in Europe, driven partly by European’s awareness that one of the best things we can do for the planet is to move away from meat production and processed foods. Climate change and sustainability are on everyone’s minds, and changing our food habits is part of the solution to both those issues.

A new startup in Kyiv, Ukraine, named VEM, is addressing this trend with a new online marketplace providing organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly products to consumers across Europe. As a Ukrainian startup they have a have a unique opportunity right now, as the European Union has enacted a suspension of all import duties on Ukrainian produce.

The VEM digital platform has sort of a “virtual Whole Foods” sort of vibe, with food and beverages plus other sustainable products and educational videos. The AI engine in their platform begins to learn your tastes and make suggestions to you — suggestions about products as well as lifestyle.

This is a big opportunity to harness a growing trend. According to Bloomberg, plant-based products represented a $29 billion market in 2020 and the market is on its way to being a $162 billion by 2030. VEM is launching later this year and intends to be the Europe’s leading online platform for products associated with a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle. This is definitely a startup to watch.

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Bret Waters

Silicon Valley guy. Teaches at Stanford. Eats fish tacos.