In Conversation: Glasgow’s Sustainable Food Delivery Services

Eco-friendly delivery services are the next big thing. To get to know the people behind the trend, we spoke to Stewart McGown, co-founder of EcoEats and Andy Yeung, co-founder of Veganwheels.

Food delivery services saw a massive boom in the last few years. They may be convenient, but these services are harmful to the environment: With plastic packaging and cars running food back and forward, the CO2 emissions can run quite high. Many big companies are also known for notoriously exploiting their delivery drivers. 

EcoEats and Veganwheels are examples of businesses doing the exact opposite. Both have sprouted up in the last two years and adopted an ethos centred around locality and sustainability. Through reusable packaging or a focus on vegan food, these two companies are pioneering the sustainable delivery game in Glasgow.

Jump to interview with Veganwheels
Jump to interview with EcoEats

The Veganwheels team (from left to right: Emma McCrindle, Kristaps Mozulis, Gregor Reid, Andy Yeung) (Photograph: Veganwheels)

Interview with Veganwheels

Rising Clyde: When and why did you start Veganwheels?

Andy from Veganwheels: “We started delivering last September, but I’ve had this idea for a few years. We started building the app in 2020. The Glasvegan Cafe was the first to partner with us, and it was just myself and Kristaps that were delivering for them seven days a week. Now we deliver for 8, soon to be 10 of Glasgow’s finest vegan eateries.

The reasons for starting this project are many. Number one is, of course, to tackle animal cruelty. We wanted to create a delivery service that will donate its profits towards those that directly alleviate the suffering of animals. We also want to make it easier for people to stay vegan and those who aren’t to know it is possible to have tasty vegan food. 

Another main reason for this project is the environment. Of course, the main driving factor behind environmental destruction is capitalism. This is why we are a cooperative and demonstrate to people that you can run a successful business without exploitation. Aside from this, a more immediate impact we have on the environment is delivering exclusively by bicycle.”

Rising Clyde: What has been the response from both customers and restaurants so far? 

Andy from Veganwheels: “For the restaurants that did deliveries before partnering with us, we are an asset. It was quite a surprise that deliveries in Glasgow are faster done by bicycle than by car. Also, many of our restaurants had thought about using the well-established delivery services but had chosen not to for ethical reasons.

The response from the customers has been amazing. People are so excited to hear about us that when we get to their door, they almost always tell us how they’ve been waiting for such a service. One of our partner restaurants just mentioned how great our customer base is after contacting them. Vegans also tend to have the environment in mind. So for the reasons mentioned above, the fact that we are a cooperative is the icing on the cake, I think. And I’m pretty sure people, whether vegan or not, everyone appreciates our ethical stance on workers’ rights.”

Rising Clyde: How are you finding competing with large scale delivery services? 

Andy from Veganwheels: “We really don’t see ourselves as competing with bigger corporations as we think we offer something entirely different. Our service is delivery, but would a vegan restaurant see a non-vegan restaurant as a competitor? Perhaps they would, and perhaps we should, but it never really enters our minds or affects how we do things. Oh, except when I see a rider for one of the big companies on the road, then I have to challenge them to a race, so if that’s you and you see me delivering, give me a shout and let’s see what you got.”

Interview with EcoEats

Rising Clyde: How and why did you start EcoEats?

Stewart from EcoEats: “Phil and I started EcoEats in 2020 because we wanted to eliminate petrol emissions from food delivery and make a better deal for local independent brands and restaurants. Since then, we’ve been striving to make takeaway social and rewarding for everyone. 

Our work here is so important because it gives small businesses a chance to compete against big brands and gives customers a chance to save the world while sharing gifts and earning free food to get delivered!”

Rising Clyde: How are you finding competing with large scale delivery services? 

Stewart from EcoEats: “These soulless corporations are absolutely identical, supporting massive chains like McDonald’s and fighting over who can monopolise first. We’re in the business of making takeaway better for local businesses and the planet, which we believe is a goal that those companies will never adopt.

If you believe in what we’re doing, you’ll uninstall Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo, and choose to order from a company that cares about the local community and the planet!”

Rising Clyde: How did you come up with the reusable container system, and how well do you think it works? 

Stewart from EcoEats: “We’re in the process of relaunching our reusable container program to make it way better for people.

Convenience is so important in the reusable container world, so we make it easy for customers to get their containers collected from their doorstep or return them publicly.

We came up with the idea because we’re sick of seeing how much plastic waste comes from takeaway! Almost none of the plastic we ‘recycle’ ever gets used again; rather, it is incinerated, or exported.”

Rising Clyde: Are there any plans for expansion of the business? 

Stewart from Eco Eats : “Why, yes there are! We want to rocket through Scotland and change the face of the food landscape. We believe that everyone in the country will be better off with an environment-first delivery service that gives you the power to share and send gifts to your friends.”

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