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Dabba Drop: An Ecopiphany Interview with Founders Anshu and Renée

Co-founders and friends Anshu Ahuja and Renée Williams started Dabba Drop from their shared love of simple food, handmade with quality ingredients that are delicious and good for you. They designed a takeaway that is zero-waste, plant-based and tastes absolutely fantastic.

Dabba Drop works a little bit differently from your normal takeaway: instead of plastic containers, they provide their meals on a subscription basis. You receive a delicious array of made-with-love plant-based curries in reusable tiffins. Select whether you want your delivery weekly or fortnightly, choose your delivery date, and heat your takeaway right in the oven in the tin. The next time your delivery comes, they’ll simply swap out the empty tins with new ones, so it’s zero waste!

We spoke to Anshu and Renée, about their eco-piphany, and how they built such an inspiring zero-waste takeaway business with a model that is different from most takeaways available today.

Renée is from New Zealand, and has always loved the outdoors and nature; she says it’s always been part of her, and a major source of inspiration.

For Anshu, it was after 2017, when she was (coincidentally) on her way to New Zealand and saw the mockumentary Carnage. In the mockumentary, it was a future where everyone was vegan. Growing up in India, Anshu’s family was 90% vegetarian anyways, so she thought it was time to go veggie/vegan over the next few months. She shares how the film was a unique perspective and was such an interesting way of putting things across- asking the question “why are we doing this? Why are we growing meat to eat in this way?”

Anshu had the seed of this idea brewing, after going vegan and not finding many options for vegans in the takeaway world. Renée and Anshu would order takeaways together and found they didn’t like the way the plastic would pile up and all of the plastic used for takeaways.

They started out of Anshu's kitchen, and founded Dabba Drop in 2019. It was a challenge to get people to think about their habits and they began with a lot of growth through word of mouth and their Instagram.

In 2020, Dabba Drop grew exponentially, to the point that they even ran out of tiffins! They built up a staggering waitlist of over 800 people, all waiting for their Dabba Drop tiffins (though they’ve taken steps to stop a backlog from happening again!) It’s amazing to see how successful the concept became, showing that people really do love zero-waste and plant based.

Anshu and Renéeare first expanding in London, then want to take their zero waste takeaways all over the country, so anyone can enjoy a takeaway without the waste.

The original vision was always to deliver as far and wide as possible, all over West London, and Dabba Drop is currently crowdfunding to be able to deliver this model to more cities.

Of course, the conversation turned to their personal favourite sustainable swaps. Anshu's a big wild deodorant fan for their paper packaging and re-usable containers and has recently discovered smol, the dishwasher tablets. Each smol pack is packaged in recyclable, eco friendly packaging and is 100% plastic free.

Renée recommends KANKAN soaps in a can- they smell amazing and do the trick, Another favourite? Mooncup Ltd, and period care product brands that are making serious changes to make the industry more sustainable.

We always ask our eco-piphany inspiration for words of wisdom around swapping towards a sustainable lifestyle. Renée suggests one swap at a time, and experimenting- to take it back to the old ways and try things like making bread or yoghurt. Anshu talks about eco-anxiety- that feeling of ‘oh my gosh’ looking into your bin. Her advice is to make those small changes, like making sure the lights are off or shorter showers. If you’re someone who eats meat try eating a little less- and you can try ordering a Dabba Drop!

Many thanks to Anshu and Renee for taking the time to speak with us here at The Beagle Button! The Beagle Button sniffs out the very best sustainable swaps from across the web for you, saving time and research (and money too!) We're inspired by stories of how everyday changes can make an amazing positive climate impact- in the case of Dabba Drop, a wholesome takeaway that’s good for you and good for the planet too!

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