Startup interview with plant based newcomer brand feelfood
Among all food categories, instant convenience food is probably one of the areas, that most urgently needs a quality makeover. At least, if you ask the founders of feelfood - a plant based instant food revolution. Find out what Franziska and Fabian think about the category, their ambitious goals and their best tips for other food startups.
There are so many food categories with really delicious products, why did you decide to revolutionize the instant market?
"We are absolutely convinced that this category in particular needs an urgent make-over!
However, we never actively chose a category. More so, our idea with "feelfood" was to simplify people's lives by delivering the best possible nutrients in the most convenient way. And since that works best with dried elements, such as oats, flaxseeds, psyllium husks and similar ingredients, feelfood became an instant product. To be precise, a full-fledged instant meal, organic and vegan.
The nice thing is that the handling of instant products is widely known and the consumers immediately understand that with our product, they can save themselves the efforts of cooking, and thus a lot of time. What is new is that we provide a complete instant meal with a lot of protein, fiber and only long-chain carbohydrates, made from high-quality and purely vegetable organic ingredients, which allows consumers to feel pleasantly full, but not heavy.
For us, "the healthy diet hence a lack of time" is the solution we want to offer. More than the revolution of the instant category per se. Although this is, of course, a nice and much-needed side effect.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in production so far, and how did you manage it?
"There is pretty much not only one hurdle, but plenty (laughing out loud)...But probably the hardest hurdle for us was and is the raw material procurement, and the delivery times associated with it.
Although we are lucky that our producer grows most of our raw materials himself, there are of course elements that we have to buy in addition.
We need many different raw materials, from pea protein to freeze-dried vegetables and various spices. To find these raw materials in particularly good quality and exclusively in organic standard is not easy. In the conventional area, there is much more choice, but that is non-negotiable for us. So the search for the right raw materials takes a long time and the delivery times are unfortunately not the shortest.
In addition, it was not easy for us at the beginning to find a producer who is able to realize our project. When we found one, specific machine parts had to be made for our paper cups, which again cost us a lot of time.
But once you have overcome these hurdles, you can be proud of selling a really high-quality product - and we for sure are!"
As a last question, which tips do you have for other food brands (big or small) looking to shake up a category with disruptive products? Are there do's, and are there perhaps also don'ts?
Franziska & Fabian:
"We keep it simple here: Every company needs to fight some battles, and we for sure all find our own solutions. But what we have least on our way is:
● Be recognizably different, e.g., via your packaging design. If you want to be disruptive, make sure you really mean it.
● But: Also don´t try with all forces to change everything. Many solutions that have been in place for many years also have their justification, and they should be used if they support the success of a product. A simple example can be that some products have packaging shapes that are always associated with them. Changing the look of the packaging design is one thing, but changing the whole packaging format and usability would not seem like a good idea in that case, as consumers will not recognize the category anymore.
● Question everything right from the start, learn and also make decisions quickly.
● Last but not least: Collect feedback, feedback, feedback. Always!"
We would like to thank Franziska and Fabian for some great insights and we wish you all the best for your future efforts!