Let’s talk about the importance of branding for a little while here. Our first customer was Walmart, so being able to scale up and service a client like Walmart was a lot of work. Alpha Foods received significant funding from investors including Accel Foods (AF Ventures), New Crop Capital, Green Monday and Blue Horizon Ventures earlier this year, putting the total raise to date at $41 million. 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. By closing this banner you agree to the use of cookies. Really the only thing that slowed down was the food service side just because people were not really going out to restaurants, and other places quick serve. And I said, “Okay, send it up.” I thought to myself it would taste like sadness. Right? To-date, the plant-based meat world has been largely dominated by sausage, burger and ground beef alternatives -- Alpha Foods, however, sees a future in faux fowl. Well and just to talk about being fairly new, the entire company is only five years old. So really that was a big game changer for us, and we did evolve our marketing messaging, our content creation to be a lot more interactive. Is it just tons of samples at stores, or is sampling the way the go? 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. Right? 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. So that is really the first step for, in my opinion is the awareness. Nothing was alarming, but they started to educate me on the heaviness of meat in my body, and what it does to my ability to be in a rested state. Yeah, well I guess looking back I don’t think there was any single moment in time because there have been so many. And really grew up eating animal products every day of my life without question. It’s a whole new world, and that’s where I was a number of years ago. Cole and I talk about how a blizzard and a vegan bagel dog got him into the business, why he had to re-name his brand for the Chinese market, how ‘familiarity’ is key to convincing meat-eaters to try plant-based varieties of their favorite foods, and how it took them hundreds of logos and four agencies to arrive at their very first logo – all because the brand strategy phase was missing upfront. And a few months later Loren and I had started the journey of Alpha. If the product seems to have a fit, or address a consumer need state without extensive data that’s great because it pays great if we’re talking about a food or beverage product, and then the team. Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder, CEO, And CFO, Alpha Foods 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! 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. 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. 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! We EMPOWER. Shop Online Save yourself the frequent trips to the supermarket, just to pick up milk. That’s just what we ate. Well I would say not one gigantic brand fail, just dozens, probably hundreds of small ones because the consumers obviously only see the finished product but what came before, what appears on a package can be very challenging. Yeah, yeah. With that, prices can be brought down, and it can hopefully enter the end-consumer product in the future. So anyways the FedEx arrived. That is where I think we are trying to go wit Alpha – to give people one option at a time, whether it is one meal a week or once a day. As of today Alpha Foods has raised a total of $41 million. Right? And if you have directional intelligence that the sector itself is doing well, well there’s an opportunity there. And I love how you started this with there’s a highlight every day, every week, every month. For example, we were previously using palm oil in our first pot pies. That is quite a compliment for your plant based chicken right? Since you’re also on the shelves there how did the brand have to adjust for that completely different consumer mindset, or did it? 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.”. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. And more you c…, @morehujale So glad to hear - thank you, much appreciated 🙌🏻. It’s black. And regardless if you already have a product, and you’ve got the perfect experience it’s still not easy. Green Queen is an editorially-driven media publication. That’s the only way to get through it because there’s going to be tons of fails along the way as well. 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. 03/05/1984. Eating is also a social occasion – when my mum invites me for dinner, you eat what’s on your plate, you can’t be too picky! Yeah, so a bit of a background on myself. That’s the founder spirit. The company states it is the leader in its category for frozen, plant-based comfort foods. Our first products – burritos and pot pies – weren’t exactly the right fit for Hong Kong. Yeah, that’s really interesting. He said, “Hey man, I’ve got a product concept for you. A plant-based world would be the optimal gold standard for everyone in this industry, but I don’t think it is practical. Start listening. ). CO: Whether it is a plant-based company or not, just the sheer amount of work to create a company of this scale was a huge challenge for us. 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 so it’s still early for the nugget here in the US, but it has clearly become our hero product of the entire line. In my opinion, the world population isn’t yet ready to give up those social traditions and eating experiences to go fully plant-based. What was the journey like to convince people? Yeah, the nuggets launched about a year and a half ago at retail in the US. Founded by Cole Orobetz and Lauren Wallis in 2015, the brand debuted its line of frozen ready meals in 2018 at US biggest supermarket chain Walmart. How are you guys hanging in there? And also I think that there’s definitely an interesting shift that’s happened through COVID with the retailers where they may not want to bring on brands that appear to be too risky because of potential supply chain disruptions and things. Yeah, likewise thanks, Fabian. So being able to purchase online where many consumers are going now is important. 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. Consumer Staple Products. Founded by Cole Orobetz and Loren Wallis in 2015, Alpha Foods is backed … We’ve known Green Monday and David for a number of years. CO: In 2013, I met with a nutritionist just for a general check in with my diet, exercise and lifestyle. But let’s talk about Asia for one more second because I think it’s fascinating from a design, and branding, packaging perspective. Yeah, so we launched there last year in food service and retail, and it’s been slowly building in Hong Kong as well as five other countries in Asia. I can’t buy it. 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. And if they have a product in the right sector you have to give those three factors an opportunity to get to the point where they are uncovering data, or potentially paying for it, or obtaining it to further refine the next phase, or next stage of the company because you’re right data becomes more, and more important as companies grow up. Because they take their fried chicken pretty seriously over there. Anything that you learned over the years where you would say, “Look this is something that I know about branding.” Maybe specifically for CPG product, or else wise? Investors are supporting this outlook, with the brand announcing today the close of a $28 million round of investment. Well and it says a lot about you as a brand too subliminally, because the alpha kid always gets the food. So I wanted to put this in there. 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. There’s plenty of connotations, but how did it come about? 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! A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. 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. This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning. And so that takes the scariness factor out of trying plant based if they’ve never tried it before. 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. Alpha Foods was founded by Cole Orobetz and Loren Wallis in 2015, and is located in Glendale, California. 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. So I can’t recall what we swapped it for, but it got yanked, and got put on the back. That was what drove our concepts and the product development. Going all the way back, on your website there is an our story section but it is really not as much of the heartfelt founding story than a mission, or a purpose statement which in itself is very important. I think it was February 2016 when we got going. Was there a ginormous brand fail that you went through? How important was data to you in the beginning? Because I know with packaging a lot can go wrong right? When did you feel that? How has this bizarre year of people hoarding food, and supply chain issues across the industries. 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. An alpha person, alpha in religious settings. FOUNDED. And so I think it was a combination of yes being home bound, cooking all your meals from morning to night in your house, but also going to the grocery store for that potentially nerve-racking grocery run during a pandemic when there’s a risk of being sick, or whatever, and going to your usual meat cooler and not finding the steak, or the burgers that you used to buy. And we’ve really been building this brad brick by brick, and consumer by consumer. 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. And one of the exciting things for us was the partnership with KFC in Hong Kong with our Alpha Chicken Nugget. 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. 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. There’s no way that I will like this. And it has that kind of stickiness factor in mind. Ashlee M. Treating myself again. 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? How has this treated Alpha Foods? It was a real pleasure to have you on. 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. So it just happens to be made out of plants. So I started to move away from red meats to lighter types of meat products, such as chicken and fish, and ultimately to plant-based products more often. CO: Over the years, we have really done a lot to zoom in on the sustainability of our products. CO: David decided! I talked with Chris Kerr the day of the Beyond Meat went public, and he was a key investor from day one with the company, and that brand went into the same direction by being able to actually place their patties in the meat isle of markets, of the frozen food aisle. The colon is where gas is created and persists, making Beano effective in prevent… And I think that, that also had a big impact on the consumer awareness, and appetite for plant based protein as an alternative source. Right? 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. Because plant based that’s Beyond Meat, that’s Impossible, that’s a lot of other brands that started celebrating that word. I’m not sure of the exact time delay effect, but it did launch at the very end of June, and is still ongoing. We INSPIRE. And so I think that where Alpha sits is we’re that transitional brand by making plants easy to consume, to prepare, and enjoyable it takes the edge off of that extreme lifestyle shift that some may think that you have to make to go [inaudible 00:17:06] to move and evolve into a more plant centric diet. 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. In 1972, Cole’s invented the … Of the entire consumer population that is open to eating something there that meat, I think it’s about 90%. I think that, that has resonated with more, and more consumers over the last few months than perhaps it had previously. 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? Today Alpha Foods, a company making meatless proteins and frozen plant-based heat-and-eat meals, announced that it has raised $28 million. SECTOR. We INFORM. There are too many habits and occasions where you can’t get away with plant based products. GABRIEL BOCTI. I’m sure the numbers have changed. 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. So it’s been, we’ve definitely covered a lot of ground in a short period of time that’s for sure. And I think that happens a lot in start ups that, that is either not being taken seriously on the agency’s side, or it’s just there is no time from the founder’s side because you just need to get design, and you need it now. The Alpha burrito, the Alpha chicken wing, but also the packaging. And it was really, there was a time factor for us, there’s pressure on us to put this brand together. There’s this fictitious third person that can look at the design during the process, and that’s usually the customer right? Another problem we faced is convincing consumers that plant-based is a buyable food option. Yeah, you’re right absolutely. And so that was really the genesis of how Alpha came to be. Yeah that was really exciting. CO: In general, of course people have misconceptions about vegan food. The word vegan has been branded, and mislabeled for such a long time that it now stands for something right? Well in talking about the power of branding right? Alpha has a lot of connotations right? The Cole’s Story. Moskovskaya Vodka: Moskovskaya special vodka is an early Russian brand of vodka introduced in 1894 by the Russian state vodka monopoly. So I think that in the next 3-5 years, we’ll be seeing more of these newer proteins make their appearance in ingredient statements and more companies working with these proteins. Yeah, yeah. We typically use the term plant based instead of vegan, but it is a vegan product. 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. And it’s time consuming to capture. As a result, Alpha Foods' new e-commerce platform will meet these customer needs in an easy and convenient way. 10/10! Sure. Which was a huge win for them, but I’m sure also for the meatless community as a whole because I feel that catering to basically meat eaters is really, really difficult because everyone comes in with your attitude. So definitely getting three straight years of distribution expansion, looking back at the end of each year and it’s been one of those proud moments. Right? Yeah, you’re the one who’s just rising to the top. Getting Alfa Foods products delivered to your doorstep is only a few clicks away. And really what we saw was a huge surge in people purchasing the products, loading their freezers. What does it mean to you? Has that experience changed the way that you invest in companies now? For Alpha we wanted to create a really inviting brand, and message to our consumers that plant based was approachable, and not scary, and that they didn’t have to make extreme lifestyle shifts to enjoy the product. 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