NXT LVL PZA is taking London by storm with their secretly vegan pizzas created in collaboration with some of the biggest names in vegan food on a mission to make vegan pizza the market standard rather than just an option menu.
We were curious to hear the story behind founder Fabio Matticoli’s hype that reveals ambitious expansion plans for the future and why secretly vegan is an important part of NXT LVL’s strategy.
“A recent customer even asked for a vegan option to be added to the menu after ordering from us. He had no idea our entire menu is 100% vegan”
Tell us about the NXT LVL PZA elevator pitch and business model
NXT LVL PZA makes pizza delivery tastier, faster, and cheaper while secretly removing animals from the supply chain.
To do this, we are currently partnering with 16 innovative leaders in the alternative protein industry – with THIS, Beyond Meat, Meatless Farm, Violife, Heura, Fable, Pleese Cheese and Good Catch, among others.
Our partnerships give us frontline access to the latest and greatest plant-based ingredients, and with sponsored toppings as well as brand collaborations, we are able to reduce ingredient and marketing costs. We then pass this cost advantage on to our customers.
We also aim to deliver faster, in 30 minutes or less, with a third-party operated host kitchen model that allows us to reduce the delivery radius to 1.5 miles.
Where can customers find you and how many customers do you serve?
For our pilot site in Nine Elms, London, customers can order pizza online for delivery at www.nxtlvl.pizza/ or via Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat. Having only opened in November 2021, it has quickly become one of Deliveroo’s highest rated pizzerias in the region with a score of 4.6 and a 4.7 on Uber Eats. We also just launched Just Eat, so we don’t have a rating there yet.
This month we launched a pop-up store in the heart of Soho. We loved interacting with our customers and getting immediate feedback, so we’re looking to keep it open through March as well. Stop by and visit us at 68 Old Compton Street, London to get a 7” pizza for just £4.
Why is it important for NXT LVL PZA to partner with some of the biggest names in plant?
We want to make sure no one has to compromise on taste, whether they’re a carnivore, flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan. Working with the most forward-thinking food tech brands helps us achieve this goal while growing through brand collaborations. However, our mission is to use our pizzas as a platform (literally) for the very best in ingredient innovation, so we don’t just work with big brands, but also smaller challenger brands so that we can help bring more game-changing products to the mass market.
“our mission is to use our pizzas as a platform (literally) for the best ingredient innovations”
You describe your pizzas as “secretly vegan”, what does that mean?
This means that as a brand, we don’t shout about being vegan. The alternative protein market is expected to reach $290 billion by 2035, but 89% of consumers are still skeptical of vegan foods. Being a vegan-only brand won’t reach the remaining 89% and it certainly won’t make us the next Domino’s. Consumers want tasty, affordable pizza delivered right to their doorstep. If these boxes have been checked, we have earned the right to introduce ethics on their plate as well.
Since our launch, we’ve had great consumer feedback, with many people not realizing that our pizzas are even vegan. A recent customer even asked for a vegan option to be added to the menu after ordering from us. He had no idea that our entire menu is 100% vegan. In my opinion, this is the best way to get vegan food to appeal to the biggest possible market.
Why does NXT LVL PZA participate in crowdfunding?
We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise funds for a future where pet-free pizza is the norm, not just an option. Our overall ambition is to make a big impact and to do that we need to grow; we plan to grow rapidly through a network of host pizzerias operated by third parties. They act as micro-distribution centers for NXT LVL PZA, while we focus on upstream supply chain, marketing and expansion.
Why did you opt for a gaming orientation for the NXT brand LVL PZA?
Our primary initial target market is students, so the game seemed like a natural fit. It’s inclusive, fun and growing in popularity. It’s something millions of people do and enjoy every day, and it’s what we want in our diets!
The gaming market is currently expected to reach $314.4 billion by 2026, and we want a slice (pardon the pun) of that action. In the end, it’s pretty simple: if we can capture people’s attention with our gaming-inspired branding, they’re more likely to try our pizzas.
What is your expansion strategy for 2022?
We are currently working with pizzerias to bring our food to at least 20 locations in and around London this year, and we will also be opening the first stand-alone flagship store.