Pasta is one of everyone’s favorite comfort foods. This pasta is different. It’s actually finely sliced, locally sourced, non-GMO vegetables, and since there’s no wheat – there’s no gluten, since we all know that gluten is simply the protein found in wheat flour.
Hungryroot delivers farm-fresh vegetable pasta right to your door, complete with homemade sauces, roasted toppings and proteins. Just saute and stir for a chef-designed meal in only seven minutes. They’re all-natural, and each under 500 calories. And thanks to their proprietary NATUREFRESH™ packaging, they maintain that farm-fresh crunch and flavor for 10 days – without preservatives.
Oh, the chef himself is Franklin Becker, of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters fame.
Ben McKean, Hungryroot Cofounder and CEO (and serial entrepreneur – Savored, which was acquired by Groupon) tells us about the funding and how his company turning eating one’s vegetables a treat!
Who were your investors and how much money did you raise?
Hungryroot has raised $2 million in seed funding from investors including: LererHippeau Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures,KarpReilly, MESA Ventures, Zelkova and Quotidian Ventures.
Tell us about your product.
Hungryroot is defining a new “vegetable-forward” food category in which vegetables are the star of the plate and proteins play a supporting role. In doing so, Hungryroot has developed a set of six ready-to-cook meals comprised of 100% organic, fresh-cut vegetable noodles, paired with all-natural chef-designed sauces, toppings and optional pre-roasted proteins. Each meal is gluten-free, non-GMO and under 500 calories. Sealed using the company’s proprietary NatureFresh™ packaging, the product maintains freshness and crunch for 10 days, without preservatives. Hungryroot meals are sold direct to consumer via www.hungryroot.com.
What inspired you to start the company?
I previously founded a restaurant technology company called Savored, which allowed customers to get discounts on meals at high-end restaurants by going on off-peak nights,and to get last-minute tables on the weekend for a premium. While Savored was an incredible business that served hundreds of thousands of happy customers and over two thousand leading restaurants, it lacked, in my opinion, a deep, emotional connection with customers. By and large, customers used Savored to save money. I wanted to find a product that meant something deeper and could positively impact people’s daily lives on an emotional level. Food provides that opportunity and specifically, Hungryroot accomplishes it in ways I never imagined. By fundamentally changing a food category (vegetables) from something that you should eat to something that you crave is liberating for many people—whether it’s because you now don’t feel like you’re sacrificing by eating healthy or that a whole new category of nutritious foods is now available in a way it wasn’t before—the consumer response is emotional, and we’re excited to be able to make that positive impact on people’s lives.
What’s your most popular dish that people are ordering so far?
The Carrot Noodles with Tangy Sriracha Peanut. It’s delicious!
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the $185BN packaged foods market.
What’s your business model?
We sell packaged meals direct-to-consumer online.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
What gives Hungryroot a competitive edge in the packaged food space is how we incorporate tech-enabled data to continually improve the entire consumer experience.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to expand nationwide and to grow our product set.
Which is your favorite vegetarian restaurant in NYC?
It’s not vegetarian, but it is veggie-forward – The Little Beet and The Little Beet Table! My co-founder, Chef Franklin Becker, is the chef behind these concepts and his ability to make fresh and simple vegetable-driven food not only filling, but also delicious and craveable, is an ethos we take to heart at Hungryroot.