And I think it was not even a week after we got those out the door did we see a study come out, I think it was John Hopkins University that said, “Don’t use the word vegan it means poor taste, and it means that it’s less healthy to consumers.” According to this survey. I just devoured this thing. Our family cooked animal products for almost every single meal, and I didn’t even know what “vegan” was for the first 30 years of my life! And if I read vegan even in 2020, I am still a little bit more held back than if I read plant based. You have staples that people understand. And it has that kind of stickiness factor in mind. Born in 2015, the company has recently partnered up with Green Monday in Hong Kong to launch Happy Nuggets across Green Common stores, with plans to launch the rest of their product line in Asia in the near future. We wanted to make sure that there was something easy for those who were curious about plant-based, so they wouldn’t have to spend too much time or energy to think about how to prepare or enjoy plant-based foods. And we happened to have a hotdog at that time, and so the Alpha dog gave rise to Alpha Foods, and that’s really how we view the products and the brand is best in class, and a leader for taste, texture, eating experience, and just enjoyment factor of the food product. Yeah, yeah. Vegan is a polarising word for some people, it connotes certain behaviours that they can’t relate to. Is the team capable? So congratulations that’s an amazing lineup of skews after such a short time. But they do sell all English label USA spec packaging of our products, and others right now in [inaudible 00:09:05] retail shelves, but clearly there is an opportunity to probably connect with consumers who want a local language packaging-. But we have partners on the ground there that were able to take our base brand product, and package, and include it in a standard retail array of all I guess USA spec packaging. And I love how you started this with there’s a highlight every day, every week, every month. And we were very fortunate as well to have a rock solid supply chain, and great manufacturing partners so didn’t have a supply disruption to speak of. Well and it says a lot about you as a brand too subliminally, because the alpha kid always gets the food. Alpha Foods is co-founded by Loren Wallis, former founder of Good Karma Foods acquired by Dean Foods in 2018, and Cole Orobetz, a former venture … And funny enough some of our earliest investors are the biggest carnivores that I have ever but they came in to the opportunity after having tried some of the early product samples. So we’re hoping that, that’s just the beginning with KFC, and are looking at other products, and other regions right now specifically around the chicken platform [inaudible 00:05:42]. INTERVIEW: Alpha Foods Founder Cole Orobetz “Think Your Biggest Thoughts To Have The Biggest Impact”, Climate change effects don’t have the same impac, Just a few short years ago, finding a great vegan. And that is really again the essence of the Alpha brand and DNA is those familiar products, familiar formats, familiar flavors that people had probably tried, or see on a daily basis in restaurants, and other places they go. Alpha Foods is co-founded by Loren Wallis, former founder of Good Karma Foods acquired by Dean Foods in 2018, and Cole Orobetz, a former venture capital investor in the food and ag-tech sector. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. We INFORM. Looking back at Alpha Food, I know you mentioned that you got into Walmart pretty early on, but what was that one big breakthrough moment where you felt like now you’re changing from being a start up, and you’re actually turning into a brand? But one of the interesting things that we saw occurring was the consumer being home bound for more meal occasions, and we had just more opportunity to reach out to them, connect with them just in a different way that we have before. Listeners who’d like to get a taste for your plant based meals where can we find Alpha Foods? We typically use the term plant based instead of vegan, but it is a vegan product. But it was still tough to find something I could get excited about, and so that a-ha moment was, “Well if I can enjoy this product, and love it, and crave it then there’s got to be hundreds of millions of other people out there that will have the same experience.”. How did the name come about Alpha? There’s so many wins and great moments on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. It’s everything is moving, and especially during COVID there’s a whole slew of data sets, and consumer preferences that have changed, and probably permanently. Right? And so we’ve been very thoughtful about how we approach the launch in a package that is not USA spec. Tasteful since 1943, Cole’s Quality Foods is a leader and innovator of frozen bakery products. It’s really interesting. Getting Alfa Foods products delivered to your doorstep is only a few clicks away. And it really stemmed from the actual vegan hotdog inside that bagel dog which was the vision was that would be the best plant based hotdog out there, and Alpha is another name for the best, or the top. CO: In 2013, I met with a nutritionist just for a general check in with my diet, exercise and lifestyle. And I think that too is because of branding. So I’m a little ahead of time right now when we record this in August. So think your biggest thoughts and try and build something that can reach the biggest number of people. Founded by serial entrepreneur Sonalie Figueiras in 2011, Green Queen is an award-winning sustainability & impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change in Asia. Because I know with packaging a lot can go wrong right? And I did hear that, and I don’t know where I heard that but that you either a plant, or that you actually did expand into Asia, and I believe that Hong Kong was one of the places. And I think in our, especially Alpha’s broad lineup of both prepared meals, solutions, and ingredients it became a great brand to connect with for some of those consumers that were just looking for something different. Our first customer was Walmart, so being able to scale up and service a client like Walmart was a lot of work. I’m not sure of the exact time delay effect, but it did launch at the very end of June, and is still ongoing. So we thought, “Ah, damn.” So now we have to go back and spend more money on redesign, and change the plates, and garbage the packaging, and just be okay with those products that are in the marketplace. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As of today Alpha Foods has raised a total of $41 million. And I always love to at least talk about this a little bit because I think it’s inspirational for other founders to hear about the road not always being perfectly smooth. CO: David decided! Moskovskaya Vodka: Moskovskaya special vodka is an early Russian brand of vodka introduced in 1894 by the Russian state vodka monopoly. It’s like, “No, here’s your crispy chicken patty.” It just isn’t chicken. There’s plenty of connotations, but how did it come about? And the blizzard and bagel dog story is he reached out to me in 2015. Cole Orobetz, the COO and CFO of Alpha Foods, joins NOSH's Editorial Assistant, Erin Cabrey for a Livestream Studio interview at NOSH Live Summer 2019. SECTOR. The company makes pre-made plant-based meat alternative and other plant-based food products, specializing in producing products that are natural, vegan, and full of plant proteins. Because it’s easy, it’s not only easy it’s also very approachable. Was there anything in the brand level where you felt like, “Oh that was a big faux pas, and maybe I should bring this up because others can learn from it.” Not to put you on the spot but definitely putting you on the spot. Start listening. One week later, a study came out finding that if “vegan” was labelled on a product, people had an unhealthy association with it. Consumer Staples. Consumer Staple Products. Because they take their fried chicken pretty seriously over there. And we saw a really great response from our consumers who were engaging with us digitally, and so far to this point I guess we’re coming into September things are still going really well for us. You can go onto our website. So we invested in our direct to consumer business. We EMPOWER. And so that was really the genesis of how Alpha came to be. Out of all the recommendations I was given to consider in terms of everyday lifestyle changes to make, reducing red meat consumption was the number one most impactful thing. Frozen foods brand Alpha Foods ... pushed the plant-based industry far beyond what anyone several decades ago could have imagined for the category,” Alpha Foods co-founder and CEO Cole … Was there a ginormous brand fail that you went through? But it is really fascinating to think about how people are actually interacting with your brand more now. And the light bulb went off me which was if me as a meat eater, and at that point I had been starting to reduce my meat consumption considerably just for some personal health reasons. And really grew up eating animal products every day of my life without question. First and foremost, when we were sourcing soy, we made sure to use non-GMO soy, having in our minds the practices that come with GMO soybeans. Perfect snack or add some rice and veggies to make it a meal! EP052 – Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder, CEO, And CFO, Alpha Foods. Well I think to me it’s how I relate to the products and [inaudible 00:23:29] with the company, the products, and I guess values at a deeper level, or I guess how I might think about a company, or a product when I’m not potentially using it. There’s a store locator on eatalphafoods.com so type ina zip code, and there’s definitely stores that will pop up, and we’re also actually going to be selling online through our website as well. And so that takes the scariness factor out of trying plant based if they’ve never tried it before. Let’s talk about the importance of branding for a little while here. That was what drove our concepts and the product development. Controlled, plant-based nutrients, put together with heart and mind for tangible physical benefits So spending more time up front I think, and unfortunately it can be expensive but I think it’s one of those investments that just has to be done the sooner the better. So the initial logo and design was challenging, and I think one of the other moments that sticks out was when we printed our first commercial run of the burritos that were going to Walmart we had the word vegan on the front of the package. Alfalite Plain Sample – Makes 1L (1/Customer) $ 1.00 1.00. Paid posts are clearly marked as such: look for 'This is a Green Queen Partner Post' at the bottom of the page. We have continued to use soy because it is economic and accessible. And that’s what we need to focus on. Founded by Cole Orobetz and Loren Wallis in 2015, Alpha Foods is backed … It was cold, and so I said, “Well if I can’t get out of the house I need to eat something so I’m going to try this bagel dog.” And I tossed it in the oven, and loaded it up with whatever I could find in my fridge, and I absolutely loved it. CO: Over the years, we have really done a lot to zoom in on the sustainability of our products. And so that’s the background of how I grew up and in relation to food. How did Alpha Feed start, and what is your personal background, professional background coming into this? Even my grandmother who is 83 is sending me articles about plant-based eating! A plant-based world would be the optimal gold standard for everyone in this industry, but I don’t think it is practical. Alpha food is one of ingredient market leader in Korea with beverage ingredients to meet or exceed the new needs in beverage blending by offering powdered creamers which you never tasted or unforgettable if you had already tasted. This may, or may not be directly to sales figures right, but when was that moment where you just looked at your business partner, and you’re high fiving, and you’re like, “I think we just made it to that step.”. ... said Cole Orobetz, CEO of Alpha Foods. 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Instagram would be number one but we’ve also seen an uptake in Pinterest as well as Facebook groups for sure. For example, we were previously using palm oil in our first pot pies. And another factor too is that there were empty refrigerated coolers that used to have chicken, and beef, and pork-, And turkey, and all the meat that people would be used to seeing. Because at that point they can’t say, “I like this.” Or, “I don’t like this.” But it’s like, “Does this go back to our plan? Right? The funding round was led by VC fund AccelFoods with support from Alpha Foods’ existing partners New Crop Capital, Green Monday, and Blue Horizon. So in our early days we definitely used some directional intelligence data, but we didn’t have a perfect data set to it to make those exhaustive decisions with. This week, I'm pondering: CAN WE REALLY, ACTUALLY, FEELING THE FESTIVE SPIRIT - By Jennifer Chua @chu, This week, I'm pondering: DO COUNTRIES & CORPORATE, ⌚︎Plant-Based Watch Guide – Our Picks Fo. Yes, I'd like to receive emails from FINIEN, I am signing off for the holidays 🎄but I know t. FINIEN, Resonaid, Brand Atmosphere and Hitting The Mark are registered trademarks of Geyrhalter Design Inc. DBA FINIEN. So that was more of a funny little road bump, speed bump along the way, and we evolved in that pretty quickly. I felt better. Were you a very data oriented company, or did you even sometimes go against early customer data, and you launched something that you weren’t sure people would actually resonate with? Yeah, thank you, we’re going to be coming up to our fifth birthday at sometime at the end of this year. Yeah, you’re the one who’s just rising to the top. Well and anyone had vegan food even as a meat eater, and that’s why it took you a blizzard for you to try it again because it has changed a lot in the last five, 10 years. So branding for you must play a crucial role in your professional life. And so the first wave of products that we had created and launched were to be convenient, and it had to be delicious, and they had to be made out of plants, and that was the three North Stars of our first line up of burritos that launched at Walmart in 2017. And we’ve really been building this brad brick by brick, and consumer by consumer. So yeah I would say that was definitely one of those highlight moments for us. CO: What we are learning in every single conference we attend, and all the industry publications we read, is that there will be an evolution in the different types of plant proteins being developed and used. So it just happens to be made out of plants. We’ve known Green Monday and David for a number of years. 320 Pine Ave, Suite 1010Long Beach, CA 90802562.432.7627, Strategic Clarity + Verbal Clarity + Visual Clarity, Now we will have time to ponder, to read, to listen, to absorb, to grow. But it makes a lot of sense because people are at home, they actually spend more time with products just because they are stuck, and they start falling in love with some products, and they start to actually get to know new product, and then engage with them. Support the show-----> Fabian Geyrhalter: Welcome to the show Cole. Green Queen is an editorially-driven media publication. What does branding mean to you being in the CPG space? I wish we could, and still don’t. CO: I think that this is the big idea. I have been reducing my meat consumption for a number of years as a meat eater myself, but at that time, there was nothing on the market that was plant-based that made me excited about it. Which is fascinating because data is so important to [inaudible 00:26:10], and you coming from that background, and now having made it through the first five years of running a start up yourself, and seeing the growth, and seeing the hurdles, and the typical start up fails I’m sure that go along with it because it ain’t easy. Would they love it?” Right? 100% agree because it really narrows the scope, and the array of options that you will be presented with when coming to that first wave of designs which is exciting, but I think what you just touched on is something that I wish we’d probably would have spent more time on in the beginning to get to our brand that became the face of the company, and the face of the products, and so on. With translations, with how things get cropped, or even having a food product so much can go wrong. And I think the awareness that plant protein meal solutions, and options are a great viable alternative to the meat counter part. With our vision of trying to reach as many consumers around the globe, using a niche protein that could be unaffordable or unavailable just doesn’t fit with our mission. So it’s been, we’ve definitely covered a lot of ground in a short period of time that’s for sure. 55 talking about this. And so that did still take place, and launch successfully even though COVID had obviously changed the landscape, and it clearly had hit in Asia first before North America but that didn’t, it may have delayed it by a month or two. Well, I invite everyone to check that out. Because that’s one of the pieces of feedback we get is not all products are available at every store, but many of them. And they were on their own journey of, the doctors told them that they had to reduce their meat consumption for various reasons. But to address your question, absolutely tasting is believing, and getting product samples in front of people, ensuring they’re prepared properly is really the first stop. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cole Orobetz, the co-founder and COO of Los Angeles-based startup Alpha Foods that has developed plant-based meat alternatives from “beefy” burrito ready-meals to “chicken” nuggets all made from non-GMO soy and now proudly palm-oil free. Alpha Foods produces plant-based foods focused on taste, texture, and sustainability. I guess 9000 plus stores so there’s a pretty good chance they will find it. In my opinion, the world population isn’t yet ready to give up those social traditions and eating experiences to go fully plant-based. There’s no way that I will like this. And I think that would be pretty common across most if not all brands in the consumer space. That’s right. 10/10! So I get it, you want more. Orobetz discusses the Alpha Foods brand, why they chose their plant-based product line, their presence in Walmart and future plans. Enter your email address to receive future FINIEN insights and updates. It drives a lot of the decision making resource allocation where companies will, and will not invest, and also to refine product mix, or products on the shelf that may be doing better, or worse than a benchmark. So I think there’s been a number of companies that have learned that the hard way over time that you probably just can’t do a direct translation to every language you want to put on your package. That’s just what was put on my plate. And so with the awareness that the virus had actually had a really big impact in the meat packing plants, there started to be a number of sources of information, or these proof points that something is going on with meat. Right? It’s heating up at a fairly high level, and we triangulate a number of pieces of data from the market as well as some consumer feedback on early products to really refine our product mix in our early platform of products. Yeah, likewise thanks, Fabian. No, that was not the main ingredient. We had a lot of interest in our brand globally, but they weren’t the right people. In terms of advice, I would say that it takes just as much time to build a small company as it does to build a big company. CO: When we started Alpha back in 2015, we wanted to have the biggest impact on the most number of people through bringing delicious plant-based products to the world. Even if you’re a 100% meat eater, at some point being at home you’re just, and you don’t want to cook anymore either. Investors are supporting this outlook, with the brand announcing today the close of a $28 million round of investment. By signing up, you agree to receive emails from Green Queen Media. These people are getting-. We’ve since learned that vegan isn’t a great word to use when talking to consumers about our brand, because it can invoke a sense of lifestyle change that people don’t yet want to live. Ashlee M. Treating myself again. I had nothing to eat in my house except for frozen berries, and I didn’t want those. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because there is no direct translation of when you put our brand name with the product name, they don’t always fit, and go together, or make sense. … It then evolved into a consensus that this would be well-received in Asia. How are you guys hanging in there? And we were so proud of the burritos that came off the line, and they were going into Walmart our first customer, and consumers were going to buy it, and love it. Alpha Secondary School’s Dance Company has been hard at work on their group Hip-hop choreography to ‘What U Workin With’, a number choreographed by Ms. Ranford. And it was really, there was a time factor for us, there’s pressure on us to put this brand together. And it just so happened that the opportunity to sell into Asia with a partner on the ground, Green Monday came along, and we pursued that, and a number of months later we had landed in a KFC. I’m sure the numbers have changed. And so it’s still early for the nugget here in the US, but it has clearly become our hero product of the entire line. So this is mainly via various social channels I assume right? The work that the Green Monday team has done is just incredible – they truly have a small army! Another problem we faced is convincing consumers that plant-based is a buyable food option. Concepts, and there was at one point it looked like we were going to be a space company sending things into space. That will be a great way to get products directly to the door that may not be all available at the same location. Cole Orobetz founded Alpha Foods five years ago and is currently the CEO and CFO of the healthy frozen meal brand that can be found in over 9,000 stores across North America and Asia, where their plant-based Alpha Chicken Nuggets are available at KFC (which is quite an endorsement! Yeah, that’s a great point. And before we got to our first logo, and look and feel of the first package we went through four agencies, and must have seen over 100 different versions of our logo-. We invested in food and agriculture technology, and during that time period we saw a ton of different brands, and companies grow, and flourish, and also make mistakes along the way. Join Fabian’s monthly mentorship circles while supporting the show. Where you would only eat it if you’re stuck in a blizzard. I travel a lot, so my lifestyle requires plant-based to be as convenient as possible. It basically fits into the typical freezer product. I think I can eat plant based protein, but I don’t know what’s out there. All rights reserved. Beano also works on sugars categorized as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. And also they have to be open to the idea that it could be delicious, and not be made of what they think it’s typically made out of. What does it mean to you? We had clearly started in the United States, and didn’t really have any ambitions to be global, or international until we had really ironed things out in the US, and done a great job. So to have the right people on the ground who are well connected and passionate about the plant-based space, who are on the pulse with the future of food, that was the most important thing for us. And the reason why I say fascinating, because I recorded a lot of founders over the last half year, and none of them actually mentioned that. Below is our exclusive interview with Cole, who discussed his thoughts on a plant-based world, what it’s like to found a startup, his commitment to sustainable sourcing and food tech innovations of the future. An alpha person, alpha in religious settings. Stolichnaya: One of the most Original Vodka with the highest quality ingredients and finest distillation and filtration processes. Yeah that’s right. 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