The products will be merchandised in the the chain's chilled meat alternative segment, says the San Francisco-based startup, which uses coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch and seasonings to make plant-based bacon, instead of the standard vital wheat gluten or soy protein base.
The result is a product that looks and tastes distinct in the market, claimed founder Sri Artham, who came up with his own recipes after watching Youtube University videos, signing up for a course on making plant-based meat from the Good Food Institute, and a lot of trial and error.
“I came at it from a totally different direction and developed it with a novel way to encapsulate fat in a substrate.”
‘No one asks, ‘Why would anyone eat this vegan bacon?’ anymore. It’s more like: ‘Is your product good enough?’
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA in a recent interview, Artham said: “When you go to a retailer that really knows this space, it’s kind of common knowledge that there isn’t a good bacon out there, so pretty much everyone we reach out to at least wants to try our product, which looks and cooks the most like [regular] bacon.”
While plant-based still only accounts for a fraction of the overall meat market, attitudes have changed significantly over the past 12-18 months, argued Artham, primarily because brands such as “Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have paved this beautiful golden pathway for us to follow… no one asks, ‘Why would anyone eat this [vegan bacon]?’ anymore. It’s more like: ‘Is your product good enough?’”
When it comes to texture, Hooray Foods has had incredibly positive feedback from customers, claimed Artham.
Pretty quickly, said Artham, he learned that you “have to pick the right combination of starches that allow for strong bonds to be formed but also give you that pliable texture that bacon has.”
Hooray Foods bacon also has more fat than some other plant-based bacon products, which creates a different eating experience, although it still has a lot less than the animal-based version, he stressed.
Flavor has perhaps been the biggest formulation challenge, said Artham, who uses a combination of liquid smoke, shiitake mushrooms, salt, mushroom extract, and maple syrup to create the complex sweet and savory flavors bacon lovers expect.
Hooray Foods is backed by Stray Dog Capital, which recently led a seed round for Hooray Foods, after leading its pre-seed round last October. Members of the GlassWall Syndicate also participated in the round.
Hooray Foods plant-based bacon ingredients: Coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, umami seasoning (shiitake mushrooms, salt, mushroom extract, calcium carbonate), maple syrup, salt, beet juice concentrate.