In the backyard with…Andy Shovel | Co-founder of THIS™ | Image McGill Collection


In the backyard with…Andy Shovel

Co-founder of THIS

Published in
3 min readOct 29, 2020

Andy is the co-founder of THIS™, the brand of plant-based meat alternative food products with industry-leading realism to meat in taste, appearance and texture. It’s unbelievably good.

🧰 | My first ever job…

I used to be one of those tedious clubbing photographers who would take a photo and then immediately thrust my ‘Capital VIP’ card into your hand, so you could go online and pay £3 to see how over-exposed I made your face in 2004 Photoshop.

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

Just opened my phone’s browser and it was…how to use hydrogen peroxide to remove bleach stains from sheep-wool. Stayed at a friend’s flat last weekend and turns out that using ‘Vanish’ on a woollen rug really isn’t a thing. In case anyone’s wondering — you need to use a water/H2o2 mix, roughly 96% water.

🔎 | I want to learn more about…

How to develop a plant-based fat which never leaches away from the plant-based meat it’s attached to; rather it just crisps up like crackling. If you can help — give me a shout.

💁🏼‍♂️ | You can ask me about…

I can usually identify any supercar manufactured between 1995 and 2020 by seeing a tiny fraction of it (e.g. 1/5 of a wing-mirror) or by hearing its exhaust note. I got ONE wrong the other day on our team Zoom and everyone went bananas — just shows you how good they know I am, if we’re honest.

⚒️ | A problem that needs a better solution…

I am always utterly bewildered by how long it takes to get into a rental car — anywhere in the world — in spite of you having pre-booked it with all of your details online. Every single time I’ve ever done it, I’ve stood by and watched a European touch-type for 7 minutes, before triumphantly handing me the keys to a Citroen. I genuinely suspect that you could buy a house (eBay?) quicker than you can get a rental car from a kiosk in 2020.

⚡ | A sector / technology / trend I’m excited about right now…

Sorry to sound a bit one-dimensional, but cellular agriculture is wicked. There are some stonking great teething problems to be overcome, but once that’s done — it will be suuuper interesting to see where lab grown meat and fat ends up. Theoretically, we could have all of the benefits of eating meat, without virtually any of the downsides. That’s basically what we’re trying to do at THIS, but in 10+ years, that tech could be the V2.

🎉 | I’m hosting a dinner party. My three special guests are…

  1. Mark Beaumont. He’s an endurance cyclist and explorer. In 2017 he cycled 18,000 miles around the globe in 78 days. I’m not really THAT into cycling, but I’m a fan-boy for that sort of grit and execution.
  2. Donald Trump (and he can’t leave dinner midway through). I am forever disappointed by how wet his interviewers always seem to be — not comprehensively holding him to account for his catalogue of misconducts. I’d love to have a crack at making him feel a slither of shame.
  3. Richard Ayoade. I find him unfailingly hilarious, and he’d scatter some light relief across an otherwise relatively heavy evening.
In the backyard with…Andy Shovel | Co-founder of THIS™ | Image McGill Collection

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