Welcome back to the second feature of our series, “Standout with Seaweed”. Today, we turn our focus to Happy Maki – a culinary gem in the heart of Brighton that is trying to reshape the food industry and set a new standard for vegan sushi brands.
This unique venture started with a simple goal – to serve delicious sushi without fish. Today, it has evolved into a thriving business that prides itself on its commitment to environmental responsibility. In this exclusive interview with the founder, Anna MacDonald, and operations manager, Georgie Aylwin, we unravel the story of Happy Maki.
Anna, Founder: Happy Maki started around nine years ago. I had spent some time in French Polynesia and was deeply impressed by the pristine ocean environment and sustainable fishing practices. On returning, I realised that there was a lack of transparency in the seafood we consumed from supermarkets. This sparked the idea for Happy Maki – a place where people could enjoy delicious sushi without fish. Initially, the concept was met with scepticism but as veganism gained popularity, our venture has been widely admired and appreciated.
Georgie, Operations Manager: Sustainability is not just a part of what we do, it defines who we are. Whether it’s a major decision or a minor one, we evaluate it through the lens of sustainability. We use green electricity, ensure no waste goes to landfill and strive to use compostable packaging. We also believe that sustainability means ensuring that our practices are sustainable in the long run. We always consider whether a change is feasible, whether our staff will engage with it, and whether it genuinely makes a difference.
Anna, Founder: We had been following Notpla’s work even before they launched. We were fascinated by the idea of seaweed-based material and shared it with our team. When Notpla was ready to launch, they approached us and we began testing different designs and materials. We’ve been using Notpla’s products ever since.
Georgie, Operations Manager: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers are often excited about the seaweed-based packaging and appreciate the transparency about its origins. In fact, the eco-friendly packaging is often highlighted in customer’s social media posts about us!
Anna, Founder: We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our sustainability practices and make our food more accessible. If the opportunity arises, we’d love to expand to other cities, making healthy vegan fast food more widely available. We’re also eagerly anticipating the development of more products from Notpla, especially a sustainable alternative for our sauce pots and sushi box lids, which would enable us to go plastic-free once again.
In their pursuit of sustainability, Happy Maki has emerged as a trailblazer, demonstrating that businesses can thrive while remaining committed to environmental responsibility. Their partnership with us signifies a shared commitment to creating a sustainable future, one box at a time. As we conclude this insightful conversation, it becomes clear that Happy Maki is not just a food business, but an experience – an experience that showcases the joy of simple, good food, shared in a nurturing and sustainable environment.
As part of their ongoing commitment to sustainability, Happy Maki uses Notpla’s seaweed-coated takeaway boxes for their popular ‘Portobello and Cauliflower’ dish. To learn more about Happy Maki’s journey or to experience their delicious vegan sushi, visit their website or follow them on social media. Learn More
This article is part of our series of interviews with businesses leading the way in sustainability. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and practical insights on how to integrate sustainability into your business.