Conversations at VFC tend to revolve around some mighty meaty subjects for an ethical vegan company: slaughterhouses, factory farming, deforestation, climate breakdown, extinctions, water pollution … with all of this, you might be forgiven for thinking us a despondent bunch, a series of husks with the joy sucked out. In reality, the VFC vibe is very different. It’s kooky, sassy and, more often than is considered ‘proper’ for a global business, just plain daft. How do we stay so positive?
“I think it really helps that we focus on the solutions as much as the problems,” says co-founder Matthew Glover. “But it’s probably as much to do with the fact that the team was handpicked for their willingness to don a mullet wig.”
It’s true that VFC is not like other food brands. We are outspoken about the problems humanity faces, and the changes needed to combat them. We go undercover inside factory farms. We banned the word ‘plant-based’ from our marketing. And we relish our engagement with trolls because we turn their cute little comments into a Cluckwit of the Month feature. Bless them.
Our brand is audacious and irreverent because we are audacious and irreverent. And so, it never made sense to us to commission standard industry headshots and run-of-the-mill product shots. That just isn’t who we are.
This is who we are:
And so, when we really should have been spending every minute of every day driving company expansion, we booked two days out and rented a London studio just so we could goof around. There was a reason, of course. We needed some fresh imagery, but we also wanted to get together and laugh until we cried.
Which we did. Mostly over dressing Matthew up in dungarees and covering him in fake tan.
Our prop list for the shoot read: pitchfork, very short shorts, bucket, paintbrush, rubber gloves, nose plaster, golf jumper, grey wig, mullet wigs, black bob wig, D-lock, wet wipes. Honestly, who wouldn’t have a good time with all of that up for grabs?
When it comes to marketing, we admit we haven’t read the handbook. We don’t know the rules, and we’re not all that bothered about finding out what they say. Similarly, we know there is a line that we shouldn’t cross; we just don’t know where it is.
And so, while we will always advocate for chickens and other animals, and will always speak the difficult truths that will eventually liberate them and us, we’ll also keep being daft. Because the world needs a little levity, and yes, we need it, too.
With huge thanks to the best vegan make-up artist in the business, Gilly Church, who remains utterly unfazed by the briefs we send her, and is always willing to jump into the shot if we need an extra. You’re the absolute best, Gilly. Thanks also to Chris Shoebridge, the most talented photographer and filmmaker you could wish for, who can hold a camera steady even while tears are rolling down his face. The boy has skills. And finally, big props to Leon and Mel for their inspirational daftness and for championing our brand. You’re absolutely our kind of rebels.