Keith Belling, the founder of popchips, has introduced a new food creation that delivers on taste while replacing empty, carb-fuelled calories with veggies, protein, and fiber. RightRice is the first-of-its-kind, shelf-stable, nutrient-dense rice alternative using the power of plant-based proteins.
We discussed his recent innovation, the balance between taste and nutrition, and where the plant-based trend is going in 2020.
Please introduce RightRice to our readers and describe its history and mission.
I love rice but not all the empty calories and carbs. Just like with popchips, where I found myself eating too many Doritos, that’s what inspired me to create RightRice®, a breakthrough veggie rice deliciously packed with nutritious vegetables. We launched nationwide with Whole Foods and Amazon in 2019 and are now available in Kroger stores and Banners, Sprouts, and other leading retailers nationwide.
Made from a blend of lentils, chickpeas, green peas, and a bit of rice, every bowl of RightRice has more than double the protein, five times the fiber, and almost 40 percent fewer net carbs than a bowl of white rice. And it is available in 5 delicious flavors, like Garlic Herb and Cilantro Lime, plus ready to be seasoned Original. RightRice cooks faster and easier than regular rice and is ready in about 10 minutes. Anything you can make with rice, you can make with RightRice.
All RightRice products are made using real herbs and spices and are non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. RightRice has been winning awards and acclaim since launching, including being named “Best Plant-Based” by People Magazine and “Best New Products” by NOSH.
Giving back is a core part of the brand’s DNA, and following the launch, the Company launched its #RightMission campaign by donating 1% of the Company to No Kid Hungry, as the first part of its partnership to help battle childhood hunger. The Company is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.RightRice.com or checkout @RightRice on Instagram.
The plant-based trend has exploded in 2019. Where do you see this trend heading for 2020?
We expect the plant-based trend to continue to accelerate in 2020 as consumers are increasingly seeking out plant-based food options that are clean, convenient, and nutrient-dense. Just as RightRice is creating a more nutritious alternative in the rice category, we see it across the grocery store from meatless meat to cereal. It’s important to have a product that has broad appeal and resonates with a range of consumers, including “flexitarians” as well as vegan / vegetarians.
Please share with our readers how your experience as CEO of popchips, has translated to your newest innovation, RightRice.
It’s exciting to have a chance to help reinvent a new category as we did with popchips. What’s helpful is remembering a few key lessons learned: While nutrition is important, taste comes first. If it doesn’t taste great, people won’t eat it, no matter how healthy it is. Brands like ours are built grassroots, and while the advent of social media has changed the way we connect with consumers, driving trial with consumers and creating and empowering evangelists to share your brand is a key focus. Word of mouth, whether via social media or face to face, is one of our most valuable marketing assets. When it came to popchips, we used to say, “one snacker at a time.”
Using Tastemakers and Celebrity Influencers was a considerable part of marketing for popchips. Will you be using the same strategy for RightRice in the future?
We just launched in February and are still thinking about how we will develop our marketing for the brand. We’re excited to have a handful of celebrity investors in the Company, including Karlie Kloss, Kris Jenner, Ashley Graham, and Molly Sims, Diplo, and Ryan Tedder. We think of all of them as successful entrepreneurs who have built compelling brands and businesses, and we are thrilled to have their support and counsel.
What is your favorite RightRice flavor?
That seems to change all the time, but right now, it’s Lemon Pepper.