BATON ROUGE – Backgrounds in chemical engineering, business and law helped two LSU alumni start Indie Plate, a meal-delivery service that features prepped and chopped meal kits. The idea was sparked when Peru Sharma and Ben Bartage met in 2013, while watching an LSU basketball game. The two spoke about their love of attending farmer’s markets in Baton Rouge, but admitted their busy schedules often prevented them from going.
They started Indie Plate in 2013 as an online farm-to-table grocery store, and it has since morphed into a subscription meal service.
“Indie Plate's key differentiators are convenience, farm-sourced ingredients and price. All of our meals come prepped and chopped to create ultra-convenient, restaurant-quality meals that go from fridge to plate in 30 minutes or less. On top of that, our meal plans are as low as $5 per serving, the cheapest meal kits of its kind,” said Sharma. He added that 90 percent of their ingredients come from local producers within 250 miles of Baton Rouge.
“Being a small business, we understand firsthand the value in supporting our local community. When your community succeeds, so do you,” said Sharma.
Sharma said LSU is an important part of their community and the business, starting with the classes he studied while pursuing his Ph.D. in chemical engineering, including a class about systems engineering and process control.
“I use that knowledge every day in building processes for Indie Plate and planning our future endeavors as we grow.”
But co-founders Sharma and Bartage aren’t the only Indie Plate employees with a connection to LSU.
“Out of 17 members, seven are LSU alums or still attending LSU,” said Maria Do, Indie Plate’s communications manager.
Do also attended LSU, graduating in May 2016 with a degree in mass communication.
“My all-time favorite classes were my design classes at the Manship School: Advertising Design and Visual Communication. I learned practical design skills while doing projects for real-life clients. In those classes, I built a strong portfolio of skills that made me useful to Indie Plate immediately. In fact, I appreciate all of my classes in the Manship School for prioritizing an experience-based curriculum, where I learned that there's no better way to learn something than to actually do it!” said Do.
She met Sharma while still attending classes.
“I met Peru in 2014 when he was looking for a photographer for his business (Indie Plate). The rest is history! Today, we operate as the driving forces at Indie Plate. Peru is the ideas guy. I help make his ideas a reality.”
Those ideas, Sharma said, include big plans for Indie Plate’s future.
“We see Indie Plate becoming the number one meal kit company of the Southeast United States with a strong network of farms and purveyors,” said Sharma.
Contact Rachel Spangenthal
LSU Media Relations
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