Dive Brief:

  • Plant-based snack food company Outstanding Foods closed a Series A funding round led by SternAegis Ventures. Other investors include former Enjoy Life Foods Chairman Kenneth Harris and El Dorado Foods CEO Javier Valéz-Bautista.
  • The company plans to use this additional capital to expand its footprint in retail, increase its marketing in the direct-to-consumer channel and accelerate the development of new products to add to its portfolio. Current retail partners include Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods and 7-Eleven.
  • Outstanding Foods launched its first products last year and has thrived, despite the pandemic upending the food and beverage industry. It has two product lines that are plant-based and high in protein. The company’s recipes are developed by Dave Anderson, a chef who also assisted in product development for Beyond Meat.

Dive Insight:

This last year has put momentum behind Outstanding Foods, maker of plant-based PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, which feature 25 grams of protein in each 3.5-ounce bag. It is unsurprising that the snack food company has rapidly attracted attention as it positions itself as a plant-based and better-for-you product for vegans and omnivores alike.

In March, it welcomed a partnership with Snoop Dogg. In October, the company launched its second product, TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs. Outstanding Foods says it has experienced “explosive growth” for both of its products over the past year. And now, it has secured its second round of funding from SternAegis Ventures, the VC firm that first invested in June

Outstanding Foods, which boasts “tasty as hell plant-based food,” has favored bold flavors. Its PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds and TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs are offered in varieties such as Hella Hot and Pizza Partay.

The company has also focused on the functional, better-for-you nature of its products. Functional food has become more popular in the last several years, but the pandemic accelerated interest in products featuring claims that they improve the overall health and well-being of individuals. In its launch of TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs, the company touted the fact that it has “packed the nutrition of a full meal” conveniently into a 3-ounce snack bag, including a high vitamin and mineral content complemented by 21 grams of protein.

A new cheeky ad for TakeOut puffs takes a dig at PepsiCo-owned snack brand Cheetos. A young girl explains her parents won’t let her eat the cheesy puff snack anymore because of its ingredients. But TakeOut puffs, she explains, “even taste better than the one with the cheetah.”

Outstanding Foods’ growth is happening in an environment where snacking has become a central feature of many people’s daily lives. Two out of three people working from home during the pandemic say they prefer snacking to meals, according to data from Mondelez

This widespread interest in snacks during the pandemic has led companies to adapt their portfolios and sales structures to better cater to the new dynamics. Industry reports indicate salty snacks and e-commerce shopping have been growing in popularity. Outstanding Foods has readily adapted to these two trends with its focus on DTC retail and savory product development.

With its focus on plant-based, Outstanding Foods is also ideally placed to develop additional products that are positioned as better-for-you alternatives. Early in the pandemic, SPINS found that plant-based food saw a significantly higher growth rate than general food sales during the 16 weeks ending April 19. 

Going forward, Outstanding Foods will be playing in a $1.2 trillion snacking segment that shows no sign of slowing down. If the company can continue to cater to consumers’ demand for plant-based and healthier options that don’t sacrifice taste, there is a good chance it will continue to thrive and attract attention of both consumers and investors.

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