Prime Roots: “We Have a Global Waitlist with Thousands of People From Over 50 Countries”

Prime Roots
Kimberlie Le of Prime Roots
Prime Roots started life as Terramino Foods, then last year rebranded to Prime Roots whose first product to market – a koji-based vegan bacon – shot to fame when it sold out almost immediately upon its launch this March. This week its plant-based ready meals featuring koji fungus-based bacon, beef and chicken, launched into Whole Foods.

We were excited to speak with founders Joshua Nixon and Kimberlie Le, who are committed to providing food solutions that are all-natural, don’t rely on genetic engineering and can be made to contain nearly double the amount of protein than in traditional meat products.
 
We reported in March that you released your Prime Bacon Strips direct to consumer and they sold out within hours. How have sales been since?
Our plant-based bacon has been a huge success. We had our initial product drop in February, where we sold out of our bacon within hours of the launch. We’ve been continually improving the bacon with the feedback and developing new flavors and releasing our bacon in limited quantities and they continue to sell out with customers coming back for more. 
 
PrimeRoots bacon
©PrimeRoots

The bacon was selected as the first product by your community – will you continue to release products via a voting system? Which product do you think will be next? 
Yes – we will continue to release products via our community-based voting system so stay tuned for more information on that. This week we released plant-based meals throughout select Whole Foods locations in the Bay Area.

Our prepackaged, ready-to-eat products will include a variety of delicious Koji-based meals including comfort classics like bacon mac and cheese, and ethnic flavors like our beef Thai larb, and many more. We are excited for our customers to experience our proteins in a more approachable way through healthy, all-natural, and delicious meals at Whole Foods.

You have said that with koji you are able to produce a range of foods from chicken, pork, beef to seafood. Which are you most excited about, or which would you most like to see next on the market?
At Prime Roots, our Koji is designed to mimic the taste and texture of a wide range of meat and seafood. We are proving that we can recreate all types of proteins with our umami-rich Koji. We are excited to bring our proteins to an expanded customer base and unveil our delicious meals at Whole Foods, which will range from a variety of classic American comfort foods to delicious Asian-inspired meals. 

Joshua Nixon of Prime Roots
Joshua Nixon of Prime Roots

Your bacon product retails for $9.99 for 8oz which seems reasonable considering the innovation involved and infancy of the line, are there plans, however, for your bacon to be able to rival the cost of animal bacon? Do you think that is achievable?
We wanted to release a product that is in line with premium conventional bacon, our plant-based products are high quality with ingredients like our homegrown Koji. As we scale up our capacity including for our plant-based bacon, our costs will go down and we will pass those reductions onto consumers and also add more variety of products to our lineup of other plant-based proteins. We believe that we have an innovative product with high-quality ingredients.

Is your community limited to the USA or does it reach further? What are your plans for wider distribution?
Our fanbase is all around the world, but right now our products are accessible in the US. We have a very global waitlist and community with thousands of people from over 50 countries who are excited for us to bring Prime Roots global. We are constantly scaling up our capacity in order to make our products available worldwide. 

Prime Roots Bacon mac n cheese
Bacon Mac n Cheese ©Prime Roots

Are you hoping for more partnerships? Who are you hoping to attract? 
We are thrilled to have a mission-aligned partner like Whole Foods to launch our Prime Roots meals that will showcase our bacon, chicken, and beef and enable consumers to try our Koji based meats. We have limited availability and will only be releasing our meats online with a limited release and product drops as we scale capacity and learn and grow with our community.  

Please tell us about your plans for the rest of 2020. 
We are excited to be working on lots of new products in the pipeline and scaling our team for big things happening in 2021. In 2020 we are excited to enable our community to try our proteins in our meals at retail and also online, we are also working on expanding our online availability of products. We believe that having wider availability online will increase the access to the products and to a wider community of eaters and to be a large part of the shift towards plant-based in a convenient and delicious way!