The plant-based industry has spread like wildfire, skyrocketing with big names and budgets leading the charge. In this space, Before the Butcher has grown just as quickly from a small operation to a national resource from which retail and foodservice can get variety.
As we begin to chat, Founder Danny O’Malley speaks to me about trying to carve out time to ensure everyone who has aided in the rapid growth of the company gets a personal holiday note from him. He is genuine and present, and it is difficult to see him conducting business any differently than he does his Christmas list.
“We started with bringing eight products to market, which is unheard of, but we have an incredible team and we were able to hit the market with a variety of options,” Danny begins, explaining that Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger paved the way for plant-based patties, but only cracked open the door to what consumers’ desire from the category.
The way Before the Butcher differentiated itself from the explosion of plant-based options that followed was by ensuring buyers could find all other possible plant-based meats shoppers could want in one provider.
“It’s a unique industry and it’s very young. I worked with Beyond (Meat) so I was there at the beginning. When I started my company, we were the third to mimic the bite, chew, texture, and look of meat. This year everything is changing again. 2020 is going to be really interesting,” Danny promises. “When I started, you had to educate the consumer, which is no longer the case.”
For his company specifically, that change comes in new frontiers for plant-based food.
“We are getting ready to release taco crumbles this month, which are crazy good,” he assures me. This tantalizing new option is for foodservice operators specifically, with no set plans to bring it to grocery just yet. But Danny reminds me that anything is on the table for this rising sector, both here in the U.S. and beyond.
“There’s not a week I don’t get an inquiry about going to another country. I will say we are very close; I wouldn’t be surprised if by about the second quarter we are in some part of Asia. We’re scaling up domestically and are comfortable with what we are doing here, and we feel very comfortable for 2020 growth and supply, so we are ready to explore export,” the executive shares.
With so much in play, it’s hard not to compare Before the Butcher to big plant-based operators taking over fast food menus. But remember that this whole conversation started with how Danny was going to manage wishing everyone on his team a happy holiday. That, he says, is the beating heart of Before the Butcher and one of the key points of differentiation it plans to hold on to.
“There’s the sizable known leaders in the market, but now others are coming out with offerings from big multi-million-dollar companies. We are growing fairly quickly, but we are still reachable,” he points out.
Reachable while offering 13 SKUs of plant-based meats for any variation of consumer palate? Sounds like a partner worth having in an industry where partnerships pack as much punch as product. Certainly, this is one team not to miss when navigating Winter Fancy Food Show later this month. To swing by and try some of the products yourself, visit booth #PB7 on January 19 - 21 in San Francisco.