Outstanding Foods lands $5m funding round, eyes more of sports and fitness snacking category

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Outstanding Foods
Photo: Outstanding Foods

Related tags: Outstanding Foods, Funding, plant-based snacks

Plant-based snack brand Outstanding Foods, maker of PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, has closed a $5m round of financing led by SternAegis Ventures to propel the snack brand into its next phase of growth.

With the cash infusion, Outstanding Foods​ will be expanding its roughly 1,000-store footprint -- which includes hundreds of independent retailers, the Whole Foods SoPac region, and Midwest-based Hy-Vee -- and entering new retail outlets and channels such as 7-Eleven stores in Southern California, with the intention of going national with the c-store retailer afterwards. 

The additional capital will also help facilitate faster R&D, nationwide marketing, and team development.

While the pandemic has forced the brand to rely heavily on its direct-to-consumer business, CEO and co-founder Bill Glaser said that the company has seen a rise in interest from brick-and-mortar retailers. 

"We’re not only selling direct to consumer where they can get our product delivered to their homes in a fast and safe way -- which consumers over the last couple of months have been seeking and those habits will likely stick around -- but also, in running ads on Facebook and Instagram and other platforms, we’re creating mass awareness that has led to in-store sales and more retailers that want to carry our product,"​ said Glaser.

Alternative protein snack for athletes and weekend warriors

While still a better-for-you snack brand for the mainstream consumer, the brand is also promoting itself as a plant-based protein snack food for athletic and active consumers with the

PiglessPorkRinds_shot

addition of LA Laker JaVale McGee​ to its roster of celebrity investors. 

Fitness enthusiasts and ultra-active consumers are limited in their options for protein-rich, nutritious, but still craveable, snack food they can incorporate into their lifestyle, said Glaser.

"A lot of athletes, whether they be professional athletes or weekend warriors, they are often mixing protein powders or the same sweet and in a lot of cases, boring, energy bars. They’ve never really had the opportunity to have a plant-based snack food with as much protein as our product," ​Glaser told Foodnavigator-USA.

Outstanding Foods PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds contain 7g of plant-based protein per serving (the same amount as a serving of ground beef). Its flavor lineup includes classic snack food flavors such as nacho cheese, Texas BBQ, Hella Hot (with a spicier version to be launched soon), and salt and vinegar, which will be introduced in the coming months, said Glaser.

Its familiar flavor and texture profile -- developed by co-founder and innovator of the Beyond Burger, Chef Dave Anderson -- also make it the perfect everyday snack food, claimed Glaser.

"We want to really shift the paradigm from people feeling guilty once they get to the bottom of a bag of a typical snack food, because all they get is a bomb of fat and sodium​." 

Whether eating a snack-size or full-size 3.5-ounce bag, consumers can feel better about polishing off a bag of PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, Glaser claims, as each bag of the plant-based pork rinds contains 75% less sodium and 67% less saturated fat than conventional pork rinds. 

Refocusing innovation efforts

Since Outstanding Foods first launched with its novel mushroom-based pig-less bacon chips​, Glaser explained that the brand has had to refocus its innovation efforts. 

"We had a lot of innovation behind the first product. There was really great reception from consumers and retailers, but we couldn’t keep up with the demand because of the innovation in the process,"​ he said. 

"In working with mushrooms, no one had ever created a large-scale chip out of them before, so there was a lot of R&D and methodology to creating those. So for us, we decided, our innovation is going to be focused on the taste and the nutrition rather than the manufacturing process."

The original version of its bacon chips has been dropped, but an updated version will be launching later this year, according to Glaser. 

"We’re planning to launch a version 2.0 of that product that will be reformulated and have the same great taste, but will actually be shaped more like mini strips of bacon and will also have protein which wasn’t in the first version of it."

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