An Interview with Oddpods
Oddpods are a range of no-nonsense, ethically sourced pulses, ready to eat and packed with plant-based protein. We caught up with Pavan Patel, who knows his stuff when it comes to grains and pulses.
How did you come to create Oddpods?
I've spent the last 10 years trading pulses into Europe from across the world, which has been eye-opening to constantly grow my knowledge and understanding of all the varieties that are out there, and how they are so good for us and for the planet.
In the UK I could see a clear decline in the sales of pulses, especially in those under 40. From a business perspective, this would seem mad, but I saw an opportunity to reinvent the way pulses are perceived, especially with a younger audience... and the idea of Oddpods was born!
What is core to the beliefs and values of Oddpods?
Healthy eating, that is easy and convenient, and sustainable, ethical sourcing of food. Pulses are truly great for us and for the planet!
We work closely with subsistence farmers in Africa to source two of our product range, ensuring they receive fair pricing for their produce.
We also want more people to get their protein from Pulses, as this reduces the impact of water reduction and fertiliser production on the planet. Pulses need relatively low amounts of water to grow and they also add nitrogen and other nutrients back into the soil rather than depleting them.
What makes Oddpods products so unique?
We are the only brand of Ready to Eat Pulses that can offer a full range of Beans, Peas and Lentils. All of our products have no additives or artificial preservatives. Also unlike canned versions, there is no water/brine in the pack. This means you can easily eat them on the go! We also manufacture our full range in the UK.
What is your personal favourite Oddpods product and why?
I’d have to say our Gungo Split Peas. People have heard of most of the pulses in our range but Gungo Split Peas is truly an “Odd Pod”. We source these in Malawi and work with smallholder farmers to do so. By working with the farmers in a more direct way we offer them a fairer price for their products enabling them to grow more for the next crop. Apart from our sourcing story, our Gungo Split peas are a great “buttery” pulse that can melt in your mouth!
What has been the best and worst day you have experienced since starting Oddpods?
The best was definitely seeing the products coming off the production line for the first time. It had taken us two years to get to that point so to see physically see a final product was amazing.
The worst... just as we had our first orders from a customer our co-packer was unable to fulfil it. We had to rush around for 2-3 days to find a solution. I can’t tell you how stressful that was!
What is something that you believe in that not many people agree with you about?
I believe that many of the meat substitute products that are out there are not that healthy. I think that the word “Vegan” has begun to mean “Healthy” to many people and that is not always the case. Some of the meat replacement products contain high amounts of salt and other additives. At Oddpods we believe that products that are high in protein can be great tasting, clean and healthy... it’s the way forward.
What’s next for Oddpods?
We want to reach more consumers. So we are pushing for a national listing this year. We have also begun to export Oddpods into Europe and we’re very excited about the opportunities!
Do you have any favourite recipes using Oddpods?
Here are a few videos of some great but simple recipes, using our Brown Lentils, Gungo Split Peas, Chana Dal and Chickpeas...
Brown Lentils - Halloumi Greek Salad Gungo Split Peas - Spiced Stuffed Aubergine Chana Dal - Vegetable Green Curry Chickpeas - Spinach Lemon Chicken