Vegetarian and vegan food startups are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have completely transformed how we think about meatless cuisine. Plant-based diets are growing more popular every day, boosted by support from high-profile celebrities and athletes.
The Irish company, Strong Roots, raised just over $18 million towards the end of 2019 to expand its vegan offerings. This week, Alpha Foods out of Glendale, California, announced $28 million in funding. The capital will help the startup grow its menu of vegetarian meals, which already includes burgers, burritos, chicken nuggets, pizzas, and sausages.
Alpha Foods was launched in 2015 by Loren Wallis and Cole Orobetz. Wallis founded Good Karma Foods, a manufacturer of dairy substitutes. Orobetz is the former venture capitalist who focused on the food and ag-tech spaces. Together, the founding team wants to make healthy, vegetarian eating as convenient as possible.
Plant-based Products Growing Increasingly Popular
Alpha Foods is jumping on a nationwide trend towards pre-prepared, plant-based meals. More and more, Americans are supplementing their existing diets with plant-based foods. Sales were up 11 percent in 2019, totaling $387 million, according to the Good Food Institute. Over the last two years, plant-based sales are up more than 30 percent. Analysts believe we are still on the front-end of this movement.
Fast-food chains, like Burger King and McDonald’s, now offer plant-based burgers that reportedly taste just like meat patties. Restaurants all over the country are incorporating more vegan and vegetarian options into their menus.
Alpha Foods’ fundraising success highlights investor optimism around the future of innovative food brands. Before the recent round of financing, Alpha Foods raised $9.5 million from AccelFoods and New Crop Capital who invest in other companies, such as BRAMi and Evoke Healthy Foods.
Founder Cole Orobetz articulated Alpha Foods’ strategy in a recent statement. “As more and more people actively seek out plant-based options, whether for their health or the environment, we are looking to expand our innovations within the category and bring easy to prepare products to a wider audience.”
Making Meatless Meals Easy
With its additional funding, Alpha Foods plans to launch new products, as well as expand its global distribution channels. Currently, Alpha Foods sells products in more than 6,000 locations. Walmart, Krogers, and Publix are a few of the chains that carry Alpha Foods items.
Consumers can pick up meat-free pot pies, tamales, patties, and more directly from local grocery stores and easily prepare them at home. Alpha Foods wants to lower the barriers to entry for those who would otherwise find it hard to incorporate more vegetarian meals into their regular diets.
Alpha Foods also offers plant-based recipes to support at-home cooking. However, most recipes require shoppers to pick up some type of Alpha Foods product from the store. In full transparency, nothing is stopping me from preparing the nacho pizza as soon as possible. It sounds like an absolute dream.