Keep on Trufflin’: The story of Trupig Vegan and Building a Chocolate Business from Scratch

Keep on Trufflin’: The Story of Trupig Vegan and Building a Chocolate Business from Scratch – Keylink WP

Keep on Trufflin’: The Story of Trupig Vegan and Building a Chocolate Business from Scratch

From the outside looking in, a roller-derby-playing barista/musician and a civil servant trading in their jobs in favour of opening a vegan chocolate business in Sheffield’s ex-industrial quarter, Kelham Island, seems a little too fantastical. While it may sound like the plot of a British feel-good film you might see on channel 4, this is actually the tale of Trupig Vegan and how they built their chocolate business alongside a loyal vegan community. 

by Michael Rodber

12 May 2023

How Trupig Vegan Began

We caught up with Lily, who runs and owns Trupig Vegan with her husband, Ian. In the early days, she used to pick up her then-small orders directly from our warehouse. Now, with award-winning chocolate and sell-out stock-drops, their community continues to grow alongside their passion and love for the art of chocolatiering.


With a story like theirs, the beginning seems like a perfect place to start. “We started what was then ‘Truffle Pig’ in 2016. It was Christmas time, and I like to say I enjoy making presents for people at Christmas, but it’s actually because I was quite cheap and skint and so I was making truffles for family and friends” she says through a smile. “I worked as a barista at a cafe, so I got to use their kitchen to experiment and make truffles. I think by March time I’d quit my job; there was such a market for vegan chocolate – at the time, you couldn’t get it in the supermarket and especially not handmade stuff.”

For many, taking the leap to commit to running their business can take time, and can be daunting. Surrounded by positive and supportive communities however, the transition to running Trupig Vegan full-time came with minimal stress and setbacks. “I’d always had three or four jobs at once, so being able to do this on the side was pretty easy. I play roller derby and that was where our first community was built from because I’d have stalls at games and events, and a lot of people at roller derby are vegan anyway” Lily recalls. “So it had a ready-made market, as it were, where everyone’s really supportive. So that’s kind of what grew Trupig, and got the word out in the first place – we’d go and play different teams and then they’d hear about it and they put in orders too”.


For Ian on the other hand, transitioning to committing fully to Trupig came with a little more complication, being a Civil Servant at the time. “For Ian, it was way harder because he had a real job with a pension and stability, and he’d done it for 20 years; that was like a difficult process”, reflects Lily. Chocolatiering became a positive outlet for Ian, who talks openly about mental health through their platform, as Lily goes on to mention. “Ian had been off with anxiety and depression for about 18 months, and it was a really long road to get any redundancy and be able to get what he was owed. So we didn’t really know what we were doing at that time and Trupig became a helpful outlet for him to be able to help pack the orders and have our own space.”


The Trupig Vegan Community

Starting out from their spare room, Trupig have since moved into a space in Kelham Island in Sheffield, a former industrial village turned cultural hub for the likes of music, food, and craft beer. While Trupig has no shop front, their business thrives through a dedicated following online, and if you head over to their Instagram, it isn’t hard to see why. Their passion for politics, animal welfare, and of course, chocolate, is on full display with each post – you might even forget you’re looking at the profile of a business and not a close friend. It’s this sincerity and authenticity (as well as their delicious chocolates) that have allowed Trupig to build such a dedicated community and fan-base.


“The business grew really organically on Instagram, so we’re really lucky to have built a community from that”, says Lily. “I think the biggest thing for us has always been authenticity. It’s really obvious when a company starts selling vegan products and they’ve got absolutely no hat in the ring. It’s great that they’re promoting veganism and it’s growing the awareness of it, but because the community is built on dedication and ethics, it’s clear when people aren’t doing it for the right reasons. So I think just being an authentically vegan company in the first place is quite alluring to people that want to be part of that community”. 

Tru to their word, Lily and Ian have worked with multiple charities, raising money through their business. “We did the Dean Farm Trust chocolate bar, that was fun. We gave the profits to Dean Farm and then they actually invited us to go see them in Wales. So we went for our honeymoon! We’ve also partnered with One Kind, which is a charity based up in Scotland, and they’re running a campaign at the minute around fox hunting. They sent us leaflets and badges and things and we’re doing a raffle with them”, notes Lily. “The charity work is always something we’ve been super passionate about anyway. We’re in a privileged position of having some kind of platform and being able to profit off something that we love doing. If our values are based around the vegan community, then we should be able to raise money and give part of our profits to causes that we passionately believe in”.

From Truffle Pig to Trupig Vegan

Another draw to Trupig is their offering of vegan alternative to mainstream chocolate brands, such as Kinder Bueno and Mars Bars. And while these tasty treats catch the eyes of many unfamiliar with Trupig, those in-the-know can’t get enough of their chocolates, truffles, and fudge. “When we first started making the bars, like the vegan version of Bueno, the Truno, there was no other available product like that. Then, when other companies began bringing them out too, we began trying other things. So then we did the hand-painted bonbons, which are really popular, we delved into fudge, depending what the market is dictating and what people want, we can get that out really quickly”, says Lily. “I think because we’re smaller, we’re able to adapt and grow with demand”.

In 2022, due to a trademarking issue, Truffle Pig Vegan became Trupig. While the lead-up to the change was a stressful and difficult period for Lily and Ian, the change-up brought with it opportunity and hope in the re-brand, cementing their mantra – “Keep on Trufflin’”. “When we changed our name, the “Keep on Trufflin’” mantra really stuck with us. Because it is just the two of us. We’re really lucky that we can just work week-to-week, and we’ll carry on doing it for as long as we can. This is what we want to do, even if it’s just on the side, even if we can’t do this forever, but it’s still a passion project so even if do other things, we want to keep this going”.

You can find out more about Trupig Vegan here and here. If you’re interested in the work of Dean farm trust, click here, or One Kind, you can find that here. And finally, if you’d like to explore our range of vegan chocolate products – click here!

Michael is a Marketing Executive with a penchant for punk rock, cheese, and indoor bouldering.

His favourite chocolate is Valrhona Tanariva.