Loco was launched to the world on September 7th 2020. You may have wondered who exactly is behind the concept and how the adventure first started? Well, stay put! Here’s the story of LOCO and the four slightly crazy souls behind the concept!
Once upon a time, in fact, all the way back in 2016, André and Elin founded their very first vegan business; a charming, state-of-the art plant-based café in Jessheim, Norway. Even at this point, the seeds of inspiration to create a 100% plant-based grocery chain were sown.
Back in 2016, the availability of plant-based products was poor at best, a fact leading the newfound entrepreneurs to continue their endeavors of planning even more plant-based ventures in the not-to-distant future. The café itself was quite revolutionary at the time, boasting not just a fully vegan cuisine, but also wonderous delights free from both gluten and refined sugar. The café was warmly welcomed in the market and the customers were more than happy.
During the days of operating the café, both Elin and André took note of the grand interest for eating plant-based across their area. On a daily basis, customers kept recounting a deep wish for turning towards a more plant-based diet, but repeatedly mentioned that the low availability of vegan options as compared to traditional food choices kept them from acting on their desire. To André and Elin, their almost daily encounters with customers telling this story was the best research they could ever ask for!
In short, most people felt frustrated due to the inevitable need for shopping across various stores in order to get even the most basic vegan groceries. Many felt frustrated that too many recipes had to be made from scratch, without simple everyday solutions available. The result? Most repeatedly kept returning to their non-vegan traditional options.
After months and months of hearing the same story, there was not a single hint of doubt in the young couple’s mind! It was up to them to make the change!
I have a dream. A dream of visiting only ONE single grocery store to find everything I’ll ever need! A store where I am free from reading the ingredient list of almost every product before purchasing. Where I’m free from googling the contents of the word “aroma” to ensure that the product in question is indeed fully plant-based. A shop which works closely with even the tiniest small-scale producers and local farmers as well as the industry leaders. A store in which I can trust that every purchase made is in line with my ethical values and the causes that are important to me.
Why? Because precious time should be spent on what’s important to me and such a store would’ve saved me hours just in a single month! According to my personal experiences and encounters, most people seem to have an underlying wish to live a more sustainable life, yet the selection of products available to them keeps them from fully converting to a plant-based lifestyle.
We got tired of waiting, and then suddenly, one day, André asked me: “Why don’t we just start our own 100% plant based grocery chain? “Sure” I replied! “Why not”Elin, Co Founder, Loco
Taking the leap
André had already made up his mind. His mind was set on founding an utterly and completely plant-based grocery chain! With extensive experience as a manager within the fields of grocery, retail and events, he had both the drive and the necessary skill set to take on the task!
Greenseed is the arena where I am granted the opportunity to develop and create concepts with emphasis on a plant-based future. Undoubtedly, LOCO is one of the businesses I’m the most eager to introduce to the market! The idea of a fully plant-based chain of grocery stores has been developed through years and is ultimately based on the view that existing grocery shops are lagging behind to satisfy the plant-based market.
Personally, I spent considerable amounts of time making the shift towards a vegan diet and the main reason was simply the lack of high quality options within my grasp. As a carnivore, you are given shelf upon shelf with alternatives in any grocery shop, but as a vegan, you are typically granted a small shelf towards the outermost corner of the store. LOCO will materialize into the BEST option ever created for the vegan consumer and the sustainability/-minded individual alike. Moreover, the options available within the store shall never be determined by who pays for the display of their products, but rather by the direct demand of the actual consumer!André, Initiator & Co Founder, Loco
Partners in crime
On a freezing December day back in 2019, André reached out on social media, searching high and low for like-minded people with the same hunger to make change!. The feedback was amazing! Amongst the respondents, two people in particular left their mark. Kristine, based in Malawi, and Erik, who were known to both André and Elin as the mastermind behind Gullroten; an absolutely epic plant based festival concept based in Fredrikstad, Norway. After months of creative brainstorming, concept development and refining the nitty gritties of the business plan, Loco is finally ready for a grand launch and an epic take-off!
My family in India has forever taught me that food is the ultimate source of joy, love and community. To them, food represents a symbol; the epitome of an ancient art binding people together. Truth be told, the scent of a home-cooked meal prepared with love or the feeling of soil beneath the nails as one admires the first seedlings of a new crop, remains nothing less than pure magic.
To me, the vision of LOCO expands way beyond opening a plant based grocery chain. Loco is a platform made to celebrate the people behind our food, from the local farmer to the creative visionaries leading our global value chains towards a plant-based, green and more sustainable future. A place where the farmer connects with the consumer and the vision of a more sustainable future is shared by both.
Even thinking of LOCO makes me smile. Just the idea of wandering amidst shelves filled from top to bottom with plant-based goodies makes my heart beat in true excitement.
Are we loco trying to turn the food industry on its head? Maybe a bit, but aren’t all great minds who end up shaping our future?Kristine, Co Founder, Loco
One thing we know for certain: Loco will be the grocery chain that cares! That player in the market who ensures that all stakeholders involved gain from being affiliated with us. We call it 5XWIN; creating concepts where everyone wins! From you, me and our local communities to the animals, businesses and the environment! Our values are further based on the ethical foundations of Greenseed Norge AS, and most importantly the idea that our choices today leave ripples for the reality of tomorrow.
An essential part of my life consists of making an effort to create a better future for people, animals and nature alike. To me, LOCO is a fantastic way to merge these factors! It enables me to really contribute; by changing the way we eat and view food, as well as by choosing health, sustainability and love for all living creatures. Undoubtedly, LOCO will be a true game changer and I am beyond proud to be a part of this adventure!Erik, Co Founder, Loco