When consumers try food products, they have expectations about taste, says Danny O’Malley, president and founder of Before the Butcher, a brand that produces plant-based proteins that are gluten-free and non-GMO Project Certified.
“You have an expectation before you even try it that it’s going to be good, right? Because if it isn’t, you’re not going to get it again,” he says. “So when companies like mine are creating products from plants to mimic an animal-based protein like pulled pork, our job is to create a texture and flavor that is so similar that you say, ‘Hey, wow … this is made out of plants!’ And that is the coolest thing to happen to somebody.”
The nutritional content of a product is essential too. Many competing products have a high level of sodium, Danny says. Before the Butcher’s burger has about half the sodium, though those competitors are now lowering their levels too – likely based on customer feedback.
“We look at that every time we create a product today – how do we reduce the sodium? How do we make these products as healthy as we can?” Danny says. “Because these products, and I know this is hard for some people to grasp, are processed. We can’t make a burger out of plants without processing it. But for all those naysayers out there: Your beef burger? That’s processed, too.”
Tackling the affordability issue of meat-based products is another challenge for companies like Before the Butcher. The fact is that it’s not cheap to make these products, Danny says.
“The meat industry, the dairy industry, they get subsidized by the government to keep prices at a certain level. We don’t,” he says.
To that end, Before the Butcher created a product called “Mainstream,” which is intended to be a more affordable plant-based burger.
“The difficult problem today is we all know we’re in a very strong inflationary period,” he says. “It’s extremely expensive to move these products across the country. Freight is through the roof. The ingredients coming to us are more expensive today than a couple of years ago. So we’re trying to hold the line and not raise our prices.”
As for advice he would give to others starting up a brand, Danny says the key is to distinguish yourself.
“Do something clearly different from your competitors,” he says. “Our push was to offer greater variety, better nutrition at a more affordable price. And we’ve been able to create our niche area where we could attract the consumer and the retailers for our products.”
In Part 2, Danny talks about:
* Why taste and texture are both critical in their products.
* The importance put on nutritional content – particularly sodium levels.
* The topic of obesity and plant-based foods’ role in helping control that.
* The affordability issue with plant-based meat alternatives.
* Advice for other entrepreneurs starting up a new brand or facing competing behemoths.
* A tour of the brand’s website.
For more on Before the Butcher, visit: https://btbfoods.com/
This episode is brought to you by Ordergroove.
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