The success of plant-based products seems to know no bounds. We’ve watched almond milk go from a fringe trend to disrupting the dairy-free category, posing such a threat that even the dairy lobby appears to be afraid of losing ground. Overall, the total market for the plant-based foods sector is valued at $3.1 billion in sales, and with new products and companies offering innovative alternatives to meat and dairy popping up left and right, it seems pretty clear that if you’re planning to join the food world, the plant-based industry is where the action is.
With the introduction of so many new and exciting companies into the space, investors are taking notice and funneling millions of dollars into promising startups. Investment can be a great way to launch a new company into the big leagues, but in some cases, if the entrepreneurs aren’t clear on their mission and goals, or who they want to partner with, competing voices can lead to a watered-down message and subpar products. Sadly, new brands can burn out just as quickly as they came up if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
Watching companies come and go is something that Tofurky is used to – after 37 odd years in the space. Through it all, however, this company has learned exactly how to achieve sustainable growth and has managed to stay independent and family-owned through it all.
Tofurky started off as a small company, founded by Seth Tibbott. He managed to bootstrap the original tempeh business with the help of an investment from his brother and his skill for building – that is, he was able save some money by building himself a treehouse to live in. After hitting it big with the first Tofurky holiday roast, the company started to transform into the company you know and love today – with a plethora of meat-free offerings and a quirky and approachable style. Tofurky also has a new CEO. Although Seth maintains a position in the company, his stepson, Jaime Athos is now at the helm of the ship.
In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Jaime explains how Tofurky has avoided “selling out” and what their strategy has been to grow while balancing their founding mission and values. To Jaime, this business is about way more than just making money, it’s about building a better food future with products that are healthy, good for the environment, and most importantly accessible to people everywhere.
If you’re interested in building a genuine, mission-based brand – or you just want to know how one of the most iconic vegan companies did it – listen in!
You can listen to the full episode on the following platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher.
If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.
Image source: Tofurky