When you think of beans, you might think of the varieties you see in your grocery store: black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and alike. But what about Lupini beans? 

Besides being a fiber and protein rich legume, Lupini beans are the foundation for Lupii: a New York based company aimed at bringing wholesome, plant-based lifestyles to the people. Lupii was founded by Isabelle Steichen and Allie Dempster in 2019. Although they have only been actively marketing their product for five months, the company has expanded to retail on Amazon and to select retailers across the country. Dempster credits this to the company's strong mission to support ethical and sustainable diets for all consumers. Both vegan, Isabelle and Allie have found tremendous emotional and social value in pursuing plant-based lifestyles. "Both of us have a deep drive to have a positive impact on the world, harnessing the power of plants to help positively impact people’s health, the health of the planet, and to help de-commoditize animals," Dempster says.

The idea behind the company started after Isabelle's childhood in Europe where she encountered cuisines that utilized the powerful bean. Lupini beans have nearly three times as much protein as quinoa and eggs with all of the essential amino acids; this made them an excellent food for early Pharaohs, Roman civilizations, and other ancient groups. After some research, Isabelle found that American markets weren't really familiar with Lupini, so it only felt natural to help introduce the food into more diets. 

The culinary experimentation phase brought a tasty result: Lupii bites. These snack bars come in three funky flavors: almond butter cinnamon raisin, peanut butter cacao nib, and tahini lemon cranberry. They're made with simple ingredents: lupini beans, nuts, seeds, dates, and dried fruit. Besides being vegan, they're also gluten-free and GMO-free.

For these female founders, making a healthy and delicious product was just a step in the process. As many other women in the food business, Allie and Isabelle faced significant challenges in establishing their identity and their presence within the realm of a masculine food system. They have become increasingly aware of the (often implicit) bias within the system and how they can use their company as an uplifting force for good. 

Running their own business has not come without difficulty, especially in the realm of global pandemic. Allie and Isabelle have had to modify operations to ensure the safety of their employees, as well as make sure consumers could still access their product. "Something entrepreneurs and founders will always say to you is, ‘be prepared to handle anything.’" Dempster comments, "And the last three months have required us to be very agile in every way we run the business."

Lupii plans to continue its sustainability enhancement programs and diminish the impact their company has on the environment. According to their website, their shipping packaging is currently recyclable, but their wrappers are Type 5 plastic. This means that only some locales accept Type 5 as recyclable. In due time, Lupii hopes to unveil a more sustainable wrapping for their products- one that can be sustainably disposed by as many individuals as possible.  

Lupii's corporate commitment to clean packaging reflects back to a strong vision for a more sustainable future. When I asked about how a plant-based diet influenced Allie's entrepreneurial spirit, she responded: "I am never going to evangelize or tell people how to lead their lives, but if I can be a part of making delicious food that will help people easily eat more plants, it is such a rewarding experience."

Readers will receive 20% off their order of Lupii bites with code SPOONU at checkout.