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Three passionate hobby cooks found a spice start-up in their student flat-share and take off in full swing. Sounds like a fairy tale – but that’s exactly what happened – Florian Falk, Ole Strohschnieder and Béla Seebach from Düsseldorf founded the start-up Just Spices in 2014.
Seven years later, 70 employees work passionately at the company and last year investors found it so exciting that they invested 13 million in just that. YouTubers, like Simon Unge like the spices so much that they promote them and even put out their own products there.

The colorful spice blends are not only eye-catching, but also taste great. In vegan cuisine, there are many variations that can be spiced up again with new spices. One of the three Just Spices-In the interview, he tells us how important sustainability is to him and Just Spices, what you should look out for when buying spices, how he’s been feeling since he went vegan, what innovations await us in 2021, and at the end he reveals his vegan spice hack. Just read!

How did you come up with the idea of founding a spice start-up?

Ole Strohschnieder: It all started in the shared student flat of Florian, Béla and me. At a cookout, we wanted to cook an Indian dal and then at the grocery store we realized that the spice situation was anything but inspiring and helpful. We had to buy countless different spices that unintentionally made our cooking night an expensive affair.

It was precisely on this evening that we came up with the idea for Just Spices. Our mission was to bring more inspiration to the kitchen and revolutionize the spice market.

The Just Spices founders Ole Strohschnieder, Florian Falk and Bela Seebach

What makes your spice blends so special?

Ole Strohschnieder: Inspiration is already the right keyword. Whether beginner, hobby chef or professional – with our spice blends we give our customers new inspiration and assistance in cooking. For example, with the “Vegetable Allrounder“, our popular “Avocado Topping” or the “Pasta Allrounder“, which is the “secret ingredient” for every pasta creation. We want our customers to enjoy and have fun cooking again. For example, we established the breakfast category early on and offer blends like our Oatmeal Spice or Stullen Spice to make your breakfast spicier and try something new. also new inspiration at breakfast. From the very beginning, it was important to us that all our products are made entirely from 100% natural ingredients and contain no additives or release agents.

With the IN MINUTES organic fix dishes and our brand new organic salad dressings, we also offer quick and delicious solutions, for people with little time or less cooking skills.

What should I look for when buying spices?

Ole Strohschnieder: In any case, you should make sure that spice blends really only contain natural ingredients and no artificial flavors or additives. By the way, this is also very easy to recognize: If the product says “spice mix”, it consists exclusively of spices. You should be careful with the term “seasoning mix”: The mixtures also contain other (artificial) ingredients.

How do you create the spice blends?

Ole Strohschnieder: All spice blends are created by us in Düsseldorf and are developed by our project developers and chefs. Current trends and the wishes of our customers often play an important role in development, or we collect ideas from the Just Spices family, for example.

Above all, it’s important to us to always be in close communication with our Just Spices community, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones cooking and experimenting with our spice blends. This is how, for example, our second product line IN MINUTES came into being. Many of our customers have asked for inspiration for delicious & simple dishes that take little time to prepare. We have responded to this request and have developed 27 fix dishes with 100% natural ingredients, in BIO quality and without additives. So our customers can cook simple, fast and delicious even with little time.

How sustainable are "Just Spices" spices?

Ole Strohschnieder: Sustainability and especially the topic of organic quality has long been a matter close to our hearts. At the end of 2018, we launched our first organic range, IN MINUTES, and at the beginning of the year we also launched our new salad dressings in organic quality. Since the topic is also very important to our customers and is so well received by them, we will definitely expand it further in the future.

In 2014, we started with 4,000 spice blends. I just thought to myself: How will we ever sell so "many" spices...?

What was your best "Just Spices moment"?

Ole Strohschnieder: When you found a start-up, you can definitely expect some surprises 😉

But one of my favorite Just Spices moments was definitely the delivery of our very first pallet of the year 2014 with 4,000 spice blends. I just thought to myself, how will we ever sell so “many” spices…?

What has been your biggest learning since starting Just Spices?

Ole Strohschnieder: We have done many things right along the way, but we have made just as many mistakes. It doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. My motto: Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right yet, it’s not the end.

What is your personal favorite spice blend?

Ole Strohschnieder: I am an absolute avocado fan. My all time favorite is therefore also our avocado topping. The combination of pyramid salt, black sesame seeds and tomato flakes just gives the avocado the perfect finish – taste and look!

Guacomole Recipe:

Rezept zu veganer Guacomole mit Just Spices Avocado-Gewürzmischung

What's your spice hack that everyone should try?

Ole Strohschnieder: In general, when it comes to seasoning, “learning by doing” applies. My tip: Try it out and be more courageous! Our chicken spice is also super suitable, for example, to season your fried potatoes or the avocado topping as an extra kick in the salad dressing.

How do you integrate sustainability into your personal everyday life?

Ole Strohschnieder: Sustainability is also an important topic for me in my private life. For example, I’ve been eating vegan for four years and am mega happy to be able to contribute to the environment in a sustainable way with my conviction.

What innovations are you currently planning and what can we look forward to in 2021?

Ole Strohschnieder: We have launched a completely new product category at the start of the year: Eight fixed organic salad dressings with 100% natural ingredients and completely without added sugar. Above all, the absence of added sugar was particularly important to us during development. This is because, especially in the salad sector, customers make a conscious decision to eat a balanced diet and often step into hidden sugar traps. We want to change that 😉

In addition, at the beginning of February we launched a limited IN MINUTES dish with the well-known content creator Simon Unge, who is known among other things for his YouTube channel “unplayed“. With the “One Pot Asia rice pan” we want to show together even novice cooks how diverse the vegetable shelf can be.

This article/interview was created in cooperation with JustSpices.

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