Caulipower on track to double revenues amid whirlwind expansion
Caulipower first launched into stores in 2017 with a line of cauliflower-crust pizzas, and has recently expanded into tortillas. Operating under mother brand Vegolutionary Foods, the company has also established sister venture Sweet Potatoasts – ready-to-eat gluten-free toasts made from roasted sweet potatoes.
Caulipower now ranks as America's 8th top-selling frozen pizza brand [SPINS data 4 weeks ending 2/24/19] and in 2018 generated revenues of $45m.
Becker, founder and CEO of Vegolutionary Foods, said the company is on track to more than double revenues by the end of this year and hit $100m through a combination of growing Caulipower and introducing Sweet Potatoasts.
“The bulk of [revenue] will come from our pizzas, obviously, and expanding into new doors. But it's also due to our new product lines as well,” Becker told FoodNavigator-USA.
'We tackle things that people haven't tried before'
Caulipower this month launched an uncured turkey pepperoni pizza variant, a six-inch personal size pizza in three cheese and margherita, and cauliflower-based soft tortillas. It also expanded into more than 1,000 retailers across Canada, including Loblaws, Walmart Canada and Whole Foods.
“We're a company of never-before-dones. So, we tackle things that people haven't tried before: cauliflower pizzas; sweet potato toasts; turkey pepperoni frozen pizza [in retail] and that's where I think the potential is in Vegolutionary Foods,” she said.
Asked how it felt to have experienced such significant growth in a little over two years, Becker said:
“It's really humbling to be honest with you. Never in my lifetime did I ever imagine that I would be doing this or, quite frankly, that so many people would find it helpful.”
Caulipower was founded to meet a market need for her two celiac sons, after years of time-consuming home cooking attempts, including about 90 minutes per cauliflower pizza crust, and unsatisfactory gluten-free options, she said.
“I just got tired of all the junk that was being put into gluten-free food and I waited for someone to do something and after a few years of waiting, I realized that someone had to be me.”
While gluten-free products have improved significantly in recent years, she said many still contain extra fats, sugars, calories and fewer nutrients than gluten counterparts. “By using cauliflower, we're able to put nutrients in there, which is really important.”
Bringing meal hacks to life – 'I left a very good job in order to start Caulipower'
The overarching goal of Vegolutionary Foods and its brands, Becker said, is“to revolutionize vegetables” and celebrate their place in America's favorite foods, rather than hiding them.
“Pizza is America's favorite comfort food and I suppose that's why I started there. ...But we're going to do whatever our customer base is asking for, and that is really the spirit behind bringing meal hacks to life. It's about what people are spending time on because there's no other alternative.”
This was why it is important Caulipower and Sweet Potatoasts are available in as many retailers as possible, from mass to premium and small independent stores, she said.
“I came from the corporate world; corporate America. I left a very good job in order to start Caulipower and it was not because I had this business school plan to create and company and do x, y and z with it. My plan was, if I was going to leave that job and give up everything I gave up, I had to do something to make an impact; to help people; to do something meaningful. Well, how can I do something meaningful without making it available to everyone? The only reason I even started this company was to make better food accessible to more people.”
“...The brand is all about acceptable nutrition, and I mean the word acceptable in every sense – the way the product looks, the way it tastes, the stores it's sold in, the way the box is, even the way we give a percentage of sales to help build teaching gardens in under-serviced schools across the country.”
Growth over the coming year would continue to center all of this, she said, and her sons – now 15 and 21 – would remain pivotal moving forward.
“I always told my sons I will never make anything they can't eat, that just seemed wrong to me. So, everything we make will always be gluten-free.”