Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 8

'A company of never-before-dones'
Gail Becker dishes on Caulipower's success and innovation
May 2016

Begins developing
Caulipower out of
frustration over the
lack of nutrition in
gluten-free options
on the market.

September 2018

February 2017

Launches three frozen
cauliflower-based pizzas
and pizza crust in 30
Whole Foods Market
stores on the West
Coast... and sells out
in days.

March 2017

Snags a last-minute
booth at Natural
Products Expo West
trade show "and from
there the orders just
exploded."

October 2017

Expands distribution
to more than 6,500
retail outlets, including
Walmart and Kroger.

March 2018

Becomes the fastest
growing frozen pizza
brand in the United
States, expanding
to more than 8,000
stores and debuting in
Canada.

Establishes parent
company Vegolutionary Foods
and unveils Sweet
Potatoasts, a bread
alternative featuring
sliced and roasted
sweet potatoes.
Distribution of Caulipower frozen pizzas
grows to more than
15,000 stores in
North America.

'Sweet Potatoasts was a bit
of a gamble because it was
a different category and a
different vegetable.'

me on and help get me an appointment.
I couldn't even get an appointment ... I
dropped off a Styrofoam container full of
pizzas at the front desk.
About a week and a half later, I got an
email from the buyer at Whole Foods that
said, "We'd like to bring in your pizzas to
30 stores." It's like one of those moments
you never forget.
Within a year, you expanded to 8,000
retail outlets. What were the initial
challenges of scaling so quickly?
Ms. Becker: The challenges were
many. One of the challenges for me was I
didn't speak the language ... I'd literally be
in meetings and have no idea what people
were saying.
It was hard to keep up with demand
with such a small staff. It was hard initially
to hire people, the right people, because
we were just starting out. It was such a
fairly untested concept, so getting people
to join at the time was harder than it is today. And, by the way, who even had time to
recruit? It was working 24/7 ... as it really
still is today, just trying to fill orders.
You have since launched in a number of
categories with vegetable-centric meal
hacks. Was that always the plan?
38

Food Business News

Ms. Becker: The strategy evolved, to
be perfectly honest, as I think it should for
any good business. The one thing Caulipower has done well, and I'm super proud
of this, is that we listen to consumers. I
didn't know what our consumers would
give us permission to do. I didn't know if
they would let us go into other categories.
I didn't know that they would want us to
go into other categories. I didn't know
how they'd feel about us going into other
vegetables. I had no idea.
And it was only after a bit of time
and hearing from a lot of consumers and
hearing how much easier we made their
lives that I started to put together, "We're the
meal hack company." That's what we do. We
make people's meals easier, better and tastier. In today's world, you should not have to
sacrifice taste for nutrition or convenience.
I don't think it's hard to ask for all three, and
I think consumers should demand it. That's
what we've always tried to deliver upon.
This past March, prior to the cancellation of Expo West, you were set to
launch your next brand new innovation,
cauliflower rice. Tell me about that.
Ms. Becker: Cauliflower rice is interesting because it's probably the product
I've had the most people ask me to do, and

I've said no 100 times. Why did I say no
100 times? Because I didn't think I could
do it better. It had already been done, and
I just didn't think I could do it better. So I
kept saying no.
Then, after doing a bit of research, I
realized, you know what? We can do it better, and we can do it better in three ways.
One, we can improve the flavor profile.
Most of the cauliflower rices you see in
stores either are plain or have a couple of
added vegetables but no real flavors. These
are three never-done-before flavors. You
don't have to add your own sauces or spices.
Two, boy, are those clean label... And
if you compare to others out there, you'll
see a difference.
Finally, the packaging. We put these
in a recyclable, microwavable and dishwasher-safe package so you can add meat
if you want, add additional vegetables if
you want, or you can eat it just as it is. You
can bring it to work, when we all return
to work one day, put in the microwave
for three minutes, and you have a hot,
delicious healthy meal.
How has the onset of the coronavirus
pandemic affected your business and
your launch of the new products?
Ms. Becker: Every day there's a
June 23, 2020



Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020

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