Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 6
The queen of
BY MONICA WATROUS
or months Gail Becker told no one
she planned to abandon her career as
a marketing executive and launch a
food business. Even she understood it was
a crazy idea.
"I had zero food experience other
than I cooked it, bought it and ate it," she
said. "Nobody knew what I was doing
except a couple close family members
because I didn't want to hear from a lot of
people, 'You're doing what? What do you
know about food?'"
Her secret project would become Caulipower, the fastest-growing frozen pizza brand
in the United States with distribution in more
than 25,000 retailers. Over the past three
years, Caulipower's rise has ignited a national
obsession with cauliflower, which masquerades as a grain in pizza crusts, tortillas and
other products introduced by the company
and its emerging competitors.
Ms. Becker did not invent the
cauliflower-based pizza crust; rather, she
discovered more than 500,000 recipes
online several years ago when searching for
gluten-free alternatives to prepare for her
Food Business News
two sons, who were both diagnosed with
celiac disease. That evening, she landed on
a key insight: The internet was ravenous
for pizza crust formulated with cauliflower,
particularly amid rising interest in low-carbohydrate diets, but the process of making
one was inconvenient and time-consuming.
"My sons asked for it again, and
frankly I said, 'No freaking way am I going
to make that again,'" Ms. Becker recalled. "It
took 90 minutes to make a pizza crust after
a full day of work. Who has time for that?"
Disenchanted with corporate life and
seeking a meaningful change, Ms. Becker
bet big on cauliflower and catalyzed a
white-hot food craze. In a recent interview,
she discussed her brand's success, innovation plans and strategies for coping in a
market paralyzed by the pandemic.
passed it around to friends and built the
business that way. That is a great way to
build a business; that just wasn't my way.
I had left the corporate world because
I wanted to do something more meaningful and impactful, and I knew I couldn't do
that if I started in a smaller way, so I went
pretty big. I hired consultants to teach me
the business because, of course, I knew
nothing about it. I was like a sponge.
I hired people to help me find a coman (contract manufacturer), and there
were several who thought I was crazy.
"You want to make a cauliflower crust
pizza?" It all sounds well and good now ...
but at the time people looked at me like I
had three eyes. Especially for some crazy
woman who never worked in food a day in
Food Entrepreneur: You had no food industry experience when you started Caulipower. How did you know what to do?
Gail Becker: Everybody has a different
path. There are very successful entrepreneurs
today who made something in their kitchen
and then sold it in the farmers market and
What was your go-to-market strategy
in the early days?
Ms. Becker: The great thing about
Whole Foods is you can pitch your local
region with your product. My local region
was the Southern Pacific region. And I
convinced this independent broker to take
June 23, 2020
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 14
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 15