Outstanding Foods is the well-known plant-based snack brand backed by several high profile celebrities such as Snoop Dogg. The brand, co-founded by creator of the Beyond Burger Chef Dave Anderson, produces the popular PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, and also recently launched a new range of seasonings called PigOut Pigless Bacon Seasonings.
Outstanding Foods recently raised an impressive $10 million in Series A, to expand its retail footprint and marketing efforts and develop new products.
Many of our US readers will be familiar by now with Outstanding Foods, but for those who aren’t, what does your brand do and who is it for?
Outstanding Foods is on a mission to make Addictively Delicious snacks for everyone! Both myself and my co-founder Bill Glaser (Outstanding’s CEO) have been plant-based for decades and know first-hand the benefits of incorporating more vegetables into your diet. However, we also recognize that making that shift is not easy for everyone. Outstanding’s products aim to make that shift easier than ever with delicious snacks that taste incredible and happen to pack tons of plant-based protein and nutrients.
And what about your own background and plant-based journey? Can you tell our readers a little about your connection with Beyond Meat?
I started as a traditional chef and transitioned to cooking plant-based over twenty years ago. I opened my plant-based restaurant, Madeleine Bistro, in 2005. It was recognized as one of the top restaurants of its kind I had the honor of cooking for numerous celebrities, including Bill Gates and Paul McCartney.
The innovative spirit of the restaurant led to some incredible opportunities with plant-based product companies like Eat Just (which I co-founded) and Beyond Meat. At Beyond Meat, I was the Executive Chef for over four years, culminating in my being a key member of the team that created the Beyond Burger.
From there, I co-founded Outstanding Foods with Bill Glaser to create a positive shift in the snack category and beyond!
You recently launched a new bacon style seasoning, where did the idea come from for that?
We did! PigOut Pigless Bacon Seasonings. These were a bit of a passion project for me – I used to eat bacon (long ago but it’s true) and missed that smoky, unique flavor you can only get from bacon. Our research showed that a ton of plant-based eaters really missed that taste! I took one for the team, tried bacon for the first time in many years to get the flavor just right. Now we have these four seasoning flavors that you can put on just about anything, and a recipe e-book chock full of recipes to make the most of them.
Congratulations on your recent Series A funding round which raised $10m. You must have big plans going forward for the company?
Thank you! We’re very fortunate to have incredible investing partners that believe our mission to bring Addictively Delicious snacks to all. We’ll be expanding our retail presence and expanding our R&D team to continue to bring innovative snacks to the world!
You have received some high-profile investors to date, such as basketball star JaVale McGee and Snoop Dogg, in what ways do you think celebrity investors help the brand and progress the cause of veganism in general?
Our celebrity investors have become some of our biggest fans, which is fantastic for veganism. The benefits of a plant-based diet impact everyone differently but athletes especially see their endurance improve for example. We’re thankful our snacks can easily be incorporated into their busy lifestyles and hopefully their fans’ too.
We’ve heard you also get a free recipe book written by yourself when purchasing the product, what kind of recipes can we expect to see?
Yes! Those recipes were crafted specifically for the bacon seasonings. There are categories for each seasoning flavor: Original, KC BBQ, Hella Hot, and White Chedda. You’ll find recipes such as Hella Hot Smashed Potatoes, BBQ Bacon Brussel Sprouts, Penne Carbonara and more!
Tell us about the Outstanding Foods TakeOut range.
TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs are one of my favorite innovations! These 3oz snack puffs come in four flavors: Hella Hot, White Chedda, Pizza Partay, and Chill Ranch. TakeOut packs 30%+ of your daily nutrient values in one bag – including calcium, Vitamin B12, Iron, and so much more. I had the idea for TakeOut after my days in the car going from meeting to meeting (pre-pandemic) left me relying on gas station snacks for lunch which only gave me a ton of salt and fat and no nutritional value.
At the moment the focus is on snack food, why was that important to you?
Snack foods are universal, everyone loves them! In order to help people embrace more plants in their life – we wanted to start where they already were – in the snack aisle. The PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds nod to nostalgic pork rinds and TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs resemble puffed snacks from many of our childhoods with a lot more nutrient power. Now, more than ever, people are turning to snacks for comfort and we’re happy to be a healthy option on the shelf.
You have a wealth of experience in this industry, from your time as a restaurateur and in product development for Beyond Meat, what are the biggest plant-based developments you’ve seen in your career?
The biggest development that I’ve seen over the last twenty-plus years is how mainstream plant-based food has become. I can honestly say that I never expected this kind of mainstream acceptance to happen so quickly on such a large scale. When I started, plant-based was very niche, and good ingredients and quality products were hard to come by. Now there are so many great plant-based products out there and they just keep getting better!
It’s also amazing to see large, traditional food companies like Tyson and Nestle and General Mills getting into the game. I like to think that I have played a part in this incredible evolution and feel so blessed to be a part of it.
Where are Outstanding Foods products currently available and do you have plans for expansion into other markets / regions?
Outstanding Foods products are available online at outstandingfoods.com and at select Whole Foods. You can also find us in select 7-11 convenience stores and Kroger locations.
And finally, what’s the end goal with Outstanding Foods and how will you know when you get there?
That’s the great thing about Outstanding Foods – the sky is the limit! We’re just happy to continue making snacks that people love and hopefully, aid in the transition to cleaner meat-tasting plant-based options as the industry continues to evolve.