Unreal Deli’s meat-free meats have seen retail success across North America through Whole Foods, Veggie Grill, Quiznos, various US supermarkets, and the famous corned beef is even being served in the Netflix LA studios.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Jenny Goldfarb about her wonderful story and plans for the future.
Could you tell us briefly how Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli got started?
I became vegan for the animals and started a vegan food blog (countyourcolors.com). For this endeavor I needed to make an exciting new recipe each week. At some point, I realized that what I craved most of all was a classic New York deli sandwich – so I made it. And it became a thing!
You have over 100 years of New York City deli history in your family, how does that tradition show in the Unreal Deli?
In every bite, on the packaging, on our social channels – we continue to drive home the point that Unreal is based on premium NY Deli that the vegan world deserves too!
We can’t not mention your viral and historic appearance on Shark Tank, when Mark Cuban invested $250,000 in exchange for 20 percent of the company. Was that a real turning point?
Absolutely. Shark Tank really put us on the map, gave us tremendous marketing capabilities. Still a year and a half later, it helps me open even the heaviest doors out there.
The company has recently pivoted significantly from restaurant placement and food service to retail. What challenges did that bring and what progress have you made? What challenges didn’t it bring?
So much minutiae is required to get on store shelves in terms of packaging, lab testing, food safety audits, specs on specs. At each step we keep learning on the job & figuring it out. The part that came easy is the customers, the demand, the desire to carry our line by thousands of stores out the gate!
The success of Mrs. Goldfarb’s Vegan Corned Beef has proven there’s a real market for plant-based deli meats. What other products do you have in the range and what products can we expect to see in the future?
We want to really keep growing the deli line and work our way into service delis, grab and go (pre-made sandwiches) and even virtual restaurants we’ll be opening this Spring!
Which product is your bestseller and why do you think that is?
Our Corn’d Beef sells the most as of now, it’s classic, it’s so unique. A Reuben Sammy is universally drooled over, but I think our unreal Steak Slices (coming this Spring) will top them all…
How many units are you currently selling per month?
We’re moving about 25,000 units per month at the moment, but we’re soon launching into some big stores that’ll dramatically grow this number.
How do you think plant-based foods like yours can bring about changes in society?
Food like ours keeps people from needing to eat an animal to have a good sandwich. And that’s the goal!