Home Crowdfunding Meet the Founders of Higher Nature Tempeh

Meet the Founders of Higher Nature Tempeh

Meet the Founders of Higher Nature Tempeh


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Tempeh is a scrumptious plant-based meals made by fermenting entire soybeans in order that they change into much more nutritious and versatile – it’s beans made higher. Not simply one other meat different, tempeh has been a staple in Indonesian delicacies for over 300 years, and now Higher Nature Tempeh is the UK’s fastest-growing and highest-rated tempeh model.

An award-winning B-corporation that’s at the moment overfunding on Seedrs, Higher Nature Tempeh goes from energy to energy they usually have bold plans for the longer term. We sat down with its 4 co-founders, Elin Roberts (CMO), Christopher Kong (CEO), Driando Ahnan-Winarno (CTO) and Fabio Rinaldo (COO), to seek out out extra.

Meat substitutes and protein-based merchandise have had a difficult previous 12 months. How do you expect market development will look, and the way do you propose to cope with this? 

The meat-free class has admittedly shrunk over the past 12 months, however not almost as a lot because the media has made it appear! Based on NielsenIQ information, there’s been a 1.5% YoY drop in whole unit gross sales which is hardly the “loss of life” of the trade because the media has been portraying. Whole worth gross sales have really elevated by 7.6% YoY (a variety of that is down to cost will increase, nevertheless). 

The shrinkage of the meat-free class is basically resulting from the price of residing disaster and this drop in quantity gross sales will not be distinctive to the meat-free class – all branded FMCG classes are feeling the squeeze. Meat itself had a really difficult 2022, with contemporary meat experiencing a 11.1% worth decline. That mentioned, on condition that inflation is plateauing and customers have tailored to the brand new regular, there are causes to be bullish that the meat-free class will return to development in 2023/24. 

The enterprise alternative for meat-free merchandise within the UK and globally continues to be large. Within the UK in 2022, 7.2m individuals mentioned that they adopted a meat-free food regimen – a determine which had elevated 40% within the 12 months prior. There has additionally been a big rise in flexitarians which, in response to YouGov, now consists of 14% of the UK inhabitants. This development will not be distinctive to the UK; plant-based meals are anticipated to make up 7.7% of the worldwide protein market by 2030 with a worth of over $162 billion, up from $29.4 billion in 2020.

Extra details about the efficiency of the meat-free class within the UK will be discovered right here in The Grocer’s Focus On Plant-Primarily based Meat Report which was printed mid-August 2023.

With many various manufacturers of tempeh, tofu, and different meat substitutes in the marketplace, are you able to inform us why Higher Nature Tempeh is, properly, higher? 

At the beginning, we’re centered on distinctiveness and differentiation, somewhat than crowding an already common class. Most manufacturers within the meat-free/plant-based area purpose to copy animal merchandise and centre their message round being a extra sustainable choice. 

However, our focus is creating the healthiest meat-free meals that also style scrumptious, however received’t style like meat. With a meals as naturally nutritious and versatile as tempeh, we’re in a robust place to ascertain this rising class and never get misplaced within the crowd. 

In comparison with different tempeh companies, our success is primarily resulting from 3 core components: the energy of our group, our product vary and our model. 

We’ve assembled a stellar band of tempeh fanatics joined by a mission to assist individuals reside more healthy lives. Outdoors of the core full-time group, we have now surrounded ourselves with a wonderful roster of freelancers and advisors who can every boast many years of expertise spanning all-things FMCG from Gross sales & Advertising and marketing to Management & Tradition.

From the group stems our category-leading product vary. We’re proud to have the UK’s highest-rated tempeh vary judging from our Trustpilot and Amazon opinions. Our merchandise have additionally received revered trade accolades: our BBQ Items lately received a Nice Style Award, our Curry Items is a Finalist in The Grocer’s New Product & Packaging Awards, and our Natural Tempeh received Silver within the Nourish Vegan Awards.

Constructing off one of the best tempeh vary in the marketplace, we’ve established the strongest model. As talked about, when creating our model, we didn’t wish to get misplaced within the ever-growing crowd of meat-free merchandise. As a substitute of following a lot of our opponents and shouting about being meaty and sustainable, we give attention to what makes tempeh distinctive: its unimaginable well being credentials. Our model is all about celebrating the enjoyment of consuming properly, mirrored in our tagline is “Life’s higher with tempeh”. Tempeh isn’t attempting to be meat – it’s a naturally nutritious and scrumptious meals that anybody and everybody can get pleasure from and add protein, fibre and gut-friendly prebiotics to their food regimen. 

It’s thrilling to listen to that you just intend to launch a variety of ready-to-eat merchandise, resembling burgers and veggie balls. Has it been troublesome to strike a steadiness between presenting tempeh as a meat-substitute or as a supply of protein in its personal proper? 

Thanks – we’re very enthusiastic about this! 

Probably not. We’re very clear on what we’re and what we’re not. Our primary objective is to supply our clients essentially the most pure and nutritious merchandise in the marketplace. Proper now, which means our merchandise won’t style like meat. If that’s what you’re on the lookout for, we’re not your model. That’s been an important lesson for us to be taught: for those who attempt to please everybody, you find yourself pleasing nobody. 

Nonetheless, accessibility can be necessary and as tempeh will not be an particularly well-known meals within the UK, we wish to current it in additional pure, nutritious variations of codecs persons are acquainted with like veggie balls and burgers. So that they really feel extra assured to prepare dinner with it, what to serve it with, and so forth. 

Nonetheless, we make it very clear that these nuggets and burgers won’t style like meat. Once more, that will not enchantment to everybody however from our analysis, we all know lots of people are on the lookout for merchandise like this – pure, wholesome, handy and scrumptious. 

It’s all about managing buyer expectations. We’re additionally engaged on our “Tempeh 2.0”, a brand new method of constructing tempeh, which can create a genuinely meat or fish-like product in an all-natural, nutritious method. As soon as we’re pleased with the standard of those merchandise when it comes to a style and dietary perspective, we’ll talk another way. However not till then  – precisely managing our buyer’s expectations comes first.

While tofu and tempeh differentiate massively, they’re comparable in that they’re each made utilizing soybeans. Do you’ve gotten any plans to develop a line of tofu or different meat-substitutes sooner or later? 

We don’t, for quite a few causes: 

  • We’re all about serving to individuals reside more healthy lives, and we predict tempeh is uniquely and greatest positioned to take action, as it’s the world’s most naturally nutritious plant-based protein. Tempeh has round 50% extra protein than tofu, 7 occasions the fibre and being fermented, can be far more simply digestible and stuffed with prebiotics in contrast to tofu. 
  • Tempeh is an Indonesian meals and we have now proud Indonesian roots, with certainly one of us (Driando) born and bred in Indonesia and all of us very obsessed with giving again to Indonesia together with donating 1% of our gross sales to an Indonesian not-for-profit combating malnutrition. 
  • We’re specialists in tempeh, with Driando having completed a PhD on tempeh and its optimistic affect on human well being and our NPD on tempeh being world-leading. 
  • The potential for tempeh is sort of countless, from taking part in round with its fermentation course of to boost its dietary properties, to turning it into an enormous vary of merchandise – it’ll maintain us very busy! 
  • We don’t wish to lose focus – once more attempting to please everybody means you don’t please anybody.

While tempeh is undoubtedly higher for the planet in comparison with animal merchandise, do you’ve gotten any insurance policies or initiatives in place to ensure Higher Nature Tempeh is the most suitable choice in terms of a sustainably-produced protein product? 

For certain! There’s hundreds we do to attempt to be as ethically and environmentally sound as doable however we’ll share the highest three: 

  1. We’re an authorized B CorpTM with a rating of 99.7 – making us the highest-rated meat-free model within the UK. There’s nonetheless much more to do however it’s a superb start line and a fantastic reflection of our dedication to doing enterprise for good. 
  2. Our entire tempeh vary has both a really low or low carbon ranking, verified by My Emissions in a farm to fork evaluation. 
  3. We donate 1% of all our gross sales to not-for-profit YUM, to assist deal with malnutrition in Indonesia, the house of tempeh. 

You’re crowdfunding for £400k+ and already have a backing of £1 million + from angels and VCs. What do you propose to do with the cash you increase? 

We have now a number of plans and ambitions for the longer term – two of those being increasing our distribution and our vary of merchandise. We wish to broaden our retail distribution within the UK and Germany, launch within the US and broaden our foodservice distribution. We additionally wish to launch our hybrid ready-to-heat and meat-free snacking ranges, whole-cut meat alternate options made utilizing Tempeh 2.0, and our components vary.

What’s your imaginative and prescient for Higher Nature Tempeh in 5 years time? 

We plan to be one of many UK and Europe’s main meat-free manufacturers, with tempeh a mainstream meals and us having an intensive vary to go well with a variety of events, from ready-to-heat, ready-to-eat to snacking. We plan to be quickly rising within the US and contemplating which different markets we will broaden into. 

In the event you needed to convert one individual to tempeh, what Higher Nature Tempeh product would you utilize and what meal would you make them? 

Nice query! We’d most likely use our Natural Tempeh and make Tempe Kecap – a deliciously candy, sticky and crispy dish from Indonesia, served with rice. It’s a surefire winner. 

What has been the best studying in your journey? 

There have been so many learnings, however the biggest one needs to be: your persons are all the things. That’s not simply your group, who’re extremely necessary, but in addition your clients, companions, community, traders, advisors and many others.

This implies: taking the time to nurture these relationships, giving as a lot if no more than you’re taking, listening to know to not reply, receiving and giving constructive suggestions gracefully, reflecting on how one can talk higher, being open, genuine and clear and remembering that in the beginning, we’re all human beings who wish to really feel heard and supported. 

As soon as you are able to do that, all the things turns into a lot simpler. Folks wish to work with you, provide help to, join you with others, your group works extra successfully and joyfully collectively, you develop a lot extra in your position and you are feeling a lot much less alone on this weird expertise of founding a enterprise. 

What motivates you? 

Our core mission: to assist individuals reside more healthy lives. Whether or not that’s the components going into our merchandise, donating 1% of our gross sales to YUM, how we shield our group’s wellbeing, the content material we share on social media or how we work with our companions. Folks’s wellbeing at all times comes first for us. 

As a part of this, in fact we have now an enormous love for tempeh and the position we predict it could actually play in reaching our mission. That’s why we’ve set ourselves a really audacious (however lifelike) objective of getting 500 million individuals consuming tempeh by 2030. Our unwavering perception that tempeh will change into a mainstream meals and the optimistic affect this may have on individuals’s well being may be very motivating. 

Is there one specific high quality that your rapid group shares, aside from a love of tempeh? 

To be “better-bound”. It’s a time period we’ve coined and it’s certainly one of our core values. It means to at all times attempt to do issues higher – to advertise wellbeing higher, to be extra moral, efficient, inventive, joyful and so forth. As a part of this, we give ourselves and one another area to make errors, be susceptible and we actually attempt to embrace failure as a approach to be taught and develop. We expect it’s the one approach to really discover a higher method and is likely one of the most important causes we’ve skilled the success we have now. 

You might be all nonetheless so younger, and I do know that you just turned down job provides or gave up your jobs to work on Higher Nature Tempeh. Was there a specific second that made you realise this was what you wanted to give attention to, and if that’s the case, might you share this with us? 

The second was completely different for all of us, nevertheless by the point all of us got here collectively we actually knew that is what we wished to give attention to. And the truth that the 4 of us had such differing and complementary ability units, personalities and experiences, however had been bounded by a ardour for wellbeing and love for tempeh, made this even clearer. 

We knew we had an enormous problem forward of us, launching a little-known meals into the mainstream is not any imply feat, however we knew we had been the individuals to do it. That perception has by no means left us, regardless of the various challenges which have come our method working a enterprise by means of Brexit, a pandemic, cost-of-living disaster and far more. So that basically tells you one thing!

You could find out extra about Higher Nature Tempeh’s group, technique, merchandise and marketing campaign right here



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