I think one important step is to really in the beginning look at the brand strategy, to really refine what is the brand, what does it stand for, what is the mission, what is the vision, what is the positioning in the marketplace, what is all of that together with the agency so they can actually then derive something. 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. Of the entire consumer population that is open to eating something there that meat, I think it’s about 90%. When did you feel that? And they were on their own journey of, the doctors told them that they had to reduce their meat consumption for various reasons. Vegan is a polarising word for some people, it connotes certain behaviours that they can’t relate to. And that was really cool to see the press, and the images, and the excitement factor of a product that had been developed here quite some time ago. I assumed that things would be going pretty well for you during this strange situation that we’re all in jointly. How important was data to you in the beginning? But generally speaking we’ve been very strong in Asia starting with Hong Kong down to Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and mainland China. Ashlee M. Treating myself again. Cole Orobetz, co-founder of plant-based meat company Alpha Foods, said when it comes to seafood, people can be hypersensitive to even the slightest off … But it is really fascinating to think about how people are actually interacting with your brand more now. Call Us: +254 723 786202, +254 733 786202 | Email : affl@alphafinefoods.com 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. 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. I appreciate you having us. Alfalite Plain Sample – Makes 1L (1/Customer) $ 1.00 1.00. 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. CO: David decided! There’s no way that I will like this. Enter your email address to receive future FINIEN insights and updates. It’s like, “No, here’s your crispy chicken patty.” It just isn’t chicken. So this is maybe the anniversary of podcast episode because this will air at the end of the year. 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. 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-. Perfect snack or add some rice and veggies to make it a meal! As of today Alpha Foods has raised a total of $41 million. And if I read vegan even in 2020, I am still a little bit more held back than if I read plant based. Because that’s one of the pieces of feedback we get is not all products are available at every store, but many of them. I grew up in Canada, where every single day of my life, I ate meat products predominantly from land animals. How did the name come about Alpha? With that, prices can be brought down, and it can hopefully enter the end-consumer product in the future. 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-. It’s a whole new world, and that’s where I was a number of years ago. Yeah, branded wise I think definitely what you just touched on about the brand strategy, the vision, the mission, all of those items. 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 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. So anyways the FedEx arrived. SUB-INDUSTRY. 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. And one of the exciting things for us was the partnership with KFC in Hong Kong with our Alpha Chicken Nugget. So we didn’t actually change the look and face of the package for the initial launch of any of the products, but what we can see is when we get updates on the marketing side on what our partners are doing there at retail and food services it clearly has evolved to be a message that resonates with those that speak Mandarin, and live in the regions. 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. So earlier this year you completed a 28 million dollar funding round. We had a lot of interest in our brand globally, but they weren’t the right people. And so we had raised the money to execute on a 2020 business plan, and when things started to shut down in March we took a bit of a step back to just survey the landscape. Alpha Foods was founded by Cole Orobetz and Loren Wallis in 2015, and is located in Glendale, California. And regardless if you already have a product, and you’ve got the perfect experience it’s still not easy. The Alpha burrito, the Alpha chicken wing, but also the packaging. 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. 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. So it’s not like they go into a garden patty that’s called Garden Patty. Even my grandmother who is 83 is sending me articles about plant-based eating! Over the years, I have seen some smaller brands and companies struggle to be big enough to be relevant. The Alpha nugget, the Alpha burger, and not only are you the co-founder, president, and CFO, and maybe a lot of other things too of a fast growing CPG company but you’re also a founding member of the Angel Group which is an angel investing group that you and I talked offline a little bit about before the podcast for early stage CPG brands that invest in brands that are already on the shelves. It had to be delicious and accessible to the masses – so price and format had to be convenient. 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! Food. 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. That’s just what was put on my plate. So yeah I would say that was definitely one of those highlight moments for us. By signing up, you agree to receive emails from Green Queen Media. They just don’t believe that the industry is here to stay. And really our vision was to build a globally relevant plant protein company that could bring delicious products to the plates of meat eaters who are looking for a delicious plant based option but perhaps weren’t excited, or perhaps they didn’t know what they didn’t know about plant based eating. It was a real pleasure to have you on. It then evolved into a consensus that this would be well-received in Asia. Consumer Staples. Green Queen is an editorially-driven media publication. Absolutely, good to have you. Tried Alpha Foods plant-based burrito and really enjoyed it. And one final thing I will say on that as well is that we are going to be doing a China specific package probably launching towards the end of 2020, or early Q1 with a name that’s been developed that resonates with a Chinese consumer in mind. Yeah, you’re right absolutely. I’d also like to add that we have made changes before upon learning new information. I think it was February 2016 when we got going. That’s a great question, and obviously there are language, and cultural barriers, and considerations that me personally, I don’t have, I can’t add a lot of credibility to what may or may not resonate in the language that I don’t speak, or in a country that I don’t live in. 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? 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. Despite there being a lot of intrigue in plant-based protein, many distributors, consumers, retailers and restaurants are still not yet ready to engage in plant-based products and proteins yet. I wish we could, and still don’t. And the blizzard and bagel dog story is he reached out to me in 2015. INDUSTRY. There are too many habits and occasions where you can’t get away with plant based products. Moskovskaya Vodka: Moskovskaya special vodka is an early Russian brand of vodka introduced in 1894 by the Russian state vodka monopoly. I travel a lot, so my lifestyle requires plant-based to be as convenient as possible. 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. That being said, it is now becoming more a part of people’s vocabulary. It is dedicated to returning to the roots of a healthy diet and sustainable industry by bringing delicious meat alternatives derived from plants. Support the show-----> Fabian Geyrhalter: Welcome to the show Cole. You have staples that people understand. Those are staples I would say most people are pretty familiar with. 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. How has this treated Alpha Foods? 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. 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. 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. An alpha person, alpha in religious settings. Right? So there was, no there’s definitely enough data out there to give us direction on consumer preferences, on where the market is going in the plant based sector. Founded by Cole Orobetz and Loren Wallis in 2015, Alpha Foods is backed … CO: In general, of course people have misconceptions about vegan food. So being able to purchase online where many consumers are going now is important. Okay I need to eat less meat. 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. Was there a ginormous brand fail that you went through? Yeah well we did, timing was really fortuitous for us to have closed that round basically January, February right before COVID really changed the landscape of everything. Today Alpha Foods, a company making meatless proteins and frozen plant-based heat-and-eat meals, announced that it has raised $28 million. 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. 10/10! 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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! Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder, CEO, And CFO, Alpha Foods. Alpha Foods, the vegetarian prepared food manufacturer, has raised $28 million in financing for its portfolio of vegetarian burritos, tamales, nuggets, pizzas, burgers, patties and sausages. Alpha Foods produces plant-based foods focused on taste, texture, and sustainability. Alpha leads the product as I already talked about. 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. 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. It is amazing what a word can do. Our first customer was Walmart, so being able to scale up and service a client like Walmart was a lot of work. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. That’s the founder spirit. And I think the awareness that plant protein meal solutions, and options are a great viable alternative to the meat counter part. 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. Join Fabian’s monthly mentorship circles while supporting the show. So I can’t recall what we swapped it for, but it got yanked, and got put on the back. Sally Ho is Green Queen's resident writer and lead reporter. 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. Tasteful since 1943, Cole’s Quality Foods is a leader and innovator of frozen bakery products. Beano turns these sugars into simple sugars that are easy to digest prior to the food reaching the colon. 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. Alpha has a lot of connotations right? Alpha Foods has raised $7 million in new funding to raise brand awareness and continue developing new plant-based convenience foods for the mass market. So branding for you must play a crucial role in your professional life. And everyone’s eaten a, well not everybody, but many people have eaten burritos. Yeah, well I guess looking back I don’t think there was any single moment in time because there have been so many. And we are certified vegan now, but it’s just not something that apparently according to studies, and surveys, and things that’s just not something you want on the front panels. Yeah, yeah you’re right. Right? Our goal is to encourage everyone to move towards more plant-based options. And I think that’s really how we’re in a position for success as a bit of a disruptive brand making plant based easy, and enjoyable for people to substitute, and ditch their meat products. 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. But when more news and reports came out about the ethical conflicts involved in palm oil production, we removed it from our ingredient list. 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. So this is mainly via various social channels I assume right? Paid posts are clearly marked as such: look for 'This is a Green Queen Partner Post' at the bottom of the page. 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 congratulations that’s an amazing lineup of skews after such a short time. No, it is really the million dollar question. Because it’s easy, it’s not only easy it’s also very approachable. 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. So think your biggest thoughts and try and build something that can reach the biggest number of people. 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. While the commercial availability of protein itself is not necessarily available in near terms. For myself, I eat plant-based as much as I possibly can. That’s right. And really grew up eating animal products every day of my life without question. This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning. And thank you Cole for having been on the show. And I know that every plant based company out there is asking the same question, and they have their own take on it. I’m sure the numbers have changed. So we invested in our direct to consumer business. And it was really, there was a time factor for us, there’s pressure on us to put this brand together. The Alpha logo type plays a very central point in your identity even on the packaging. Well and just to talk about being fairly new, the entire company is only five years old. Add to cart Details But one of the entrepreneurs that I had met during that time Loren Wallace was the founder, and CEO of Good Karma Foods. So at some point just finding a product like yours is most probably pretty logical that that would happen. We have continued to use soy because it is economic and accessible. When we first launched our four burrito products with Walmart in 2017, we had “vegan” on the front package. How do you convince people? Right? 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. Yeah, I wish we wouldn’t have had more time, and resources in our early days to focus on data, and that’s the honest answer is consumer data is very expensive. EP052 – Cole Orobetz, Co-Founder, CEO, And CFO, Alpha Foods. 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. 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. 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. 55 talking about this. Right? As a result, Alpha Foods' new e-commerce platform will meet these customer needs in an easy and convenient way. 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. Every single day, we really try to push to be as sustainable as possible. Are clearly marked as such: look for 'This is a vegan product intelligence. Have eaten burritos I know with packaging a lot can go wrong most. My plate and mushroom proteins are being lab-scaled but not yet used commercially product in the consumer space they ’... That are easy to digest prior to the supermarket, just to pick up milk that go am seeing! Of vodka introduced in 1894 by the Russian State vodka monopoly amazing lineup of skews such! 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