Launching next month, The Better Bagel will feature only 5 grams of net carbs compared to USDA's estimate of traditional bagel’s average of 48 grams of carbohydrates, along with twice the protein and five times the fiber of USDA estimates for its conventional counterpart. Made with Non-GMO Project verified ingredients and completely plant-based, it also hits consumer demand for better-for-you, real foods.
As disruptive as Better Brand founder Aimee Yang says she believes The Better Bagel will be, she explains in this episode of Investing in the Future of Food that it is just the beginning. With help from a recently closed pre-seed round of more than $1m led by VERSO Capital, Yang says her food-tech startup will “lead a new era of nutrition by driving innovation in the multi-trillion dollar refined carb industry” and design a “better future of food.”
‘Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure’
Better Brand is on a mission to improve human health – physically and emotionally – by “taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure” foods – starting with the bagel, one of the most beloved and carb-dense foods, Yang said.
“Our goal is to really create a world in which we have the freedom to experience pleasure and feel good about it. I think we all want permission to be who we are, eat what we want, do what we want and enjoy your life to the fullest,” she said.
“But,” she added, “unfortunately, indulgence is oftentimes this loaded idea in our society. And evoking a sense of guilt and shame when we seek it. And when we feel these limits and barriers, we’re never truly free.”
To break these “unnecessary limits,” Better Brand developed proprietary a Grain-changing Technology, formulas and specialized processes that replicate and replace ingredients that contribute to the high refined carb content of certain foods – like bagels.
“As an example, our main ingredient is actually indigestible in the upper-GI tract and isn’t absorbed by the body, while at the same time contributing to gastrointestinal health and increasing the short chain fatty acid production and aiding metabolism,” Yang explained.
The company also incorporates natural enzymes to aid proper digestion and enhance product texture, consistency and stability so that consumers don’t have to compromise taste or the eating experience for a healthier option, she added.
‘The Better Bagel … marks a new era of nutrition’
Better Brand’s first product – The Better Bagel – will launch in May and “marks a new era of nutrition,” in which the food-tech startup reduces the carb content of a bagel to the net amount equivalent to two slices of banana, half an orange or two pretzel crisps, Yang said.
In addition to preserving the eating experience of what Yang calls a “vintage bagel,” she notes that The Better Bagel is made with all real ingredients and is Non-GMO Project verified – so consumers who want clean label options don’t need to compromise.
VERSO Capital leads $1.2m pre-seed fundraise
Better Brand’s upcoming launch of The Better Bagel is made possible thanks to a recently closed $1.2m pre-seed funding round, led by VERSO Capital, which has backed some of the biggest food-tech superstars in recent years, including Eat Just, Inc., and Impossible Foods.
Yang says she feels “so, so blessed” to have VERSO Capital in her corner because in addition to financial support, the firm has connected her with other fast-moving innovators in the food-tech space, opened distribution opportunities.
Other investors include Sean Thomas, grandson of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, who brings expertise in navigating food service, Dorie Smith of Venture for America, who can offer empowering guidance as a female entrepreneur, and actress Emmy Rossum, who brings media management expertise.
With their help, Yang said she expects Better Brand’s acceleration to closely mirror that of other food tech giants, such as Impossible and Beyond Meat.
“We’re firing on all cylinders and things are moving really quickly,” she said, hinting at more innovations and product launches to come. “We’re really excited to be able to share this people.”