Choppy! blends animal, plant-based ingredients to bridge alternative protein taste gap

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Choppy!
Source: Choppy!

Related tags alternative protein hybrid

Choppy!, an alternative meat brand that combines textured plant protein with animal byproducts like collagen, beef tallow and bone broth, provides consumers with "the sensory experience of meat" in its hybrid product with the long-term goal of reducing meat consumption, the company's founders Saba Fazeli and Brice Klein told FoodNavigator-USA.

When Fazeli and Klein, both former engineers at Beyond Meat and Plenty, respectively, joined to form their business, their goal was to address "taste, texture and price challenges" in plant-based meat, said Fazeli. 

Choppy's pre-seasoned alternative meat is made with 90% plant protein and 10% beef tallow, bone broth and collagen, which Fazeli said provides "important aspects to the sensory experience of meat."  

Product Packs (1)
Source: Choppy!

The brand currently offers three refrigerated entrees – Chopped Steak, Carne Asada and Teriyaki Steak – with up to 22 grams of protein per serving, and which take five minutes to heat.

The founders chose a limited rollout strategy for the brand, which is available in select stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, to gather consumer feedback "via demos and in-person interactions," according to Klein. A wider rollout to more cities is planned for later this year. 

Editor’s note: Interested in learning more about the fast-evolving alternative protein space? Join FoodNavigator-USA and ReThink at Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins in Chicago June 17-18. The event will include in-depth discussions about how to elevate sensory experience and strategies to diversify protein consumption with novel microbial and cell-based options. Check out the full agenda​ and register​. 

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From Paul's Table to Choppy! 

Fazeli and Klein started their company under the name Paul's Table, incorporated under Momentum Foods.

While Paul's Table was an homage to Klein's father, the founders saw a saturation of first name-branding of other conventional meat brands and sought to differentiate themselves in the space. The rebrand to Choppy! earlier this year reflects a shift away from the science-focused branding common in the alternative meat space towards a consumer-friendly and convenience-oriented brand identity, as Fazeli explained. 

The founders entered the blended meat space with a "reducetarian" mindset, aiming to provide a solution that reduces animal meat consumption while balancing taste, texture and price – often a "push and pull between making products taste good and making them cheap," Fazeli said. 

Addressing taste, price to drive repeat purchases

Choppy! targets meat eaters who prioritize "flavor, price and health" in their protein choices, Fazeli explained, and repeat purchases are crucial for the brand’s goal of long-term impact. He acknowledges that purely plant-based options often struggle with repeat purchases due to price and taste drawbacks.  

He noted, "The value proposition for the end consumer of a pure plant-based product does not really stack up to create repeat purchase. You are asking people who already eat meat to pay more money for a product that does not taste as good as what they are already eating and is questionably healthier. Of course, it makes sense that people would not come back." 

Beyond environmental concerns 

Klein emphasizes that developing food products focused solely on environmental welfare is "not a viable strategy to drive repeat sales and make actual change."

Choppy's hybrid format positions them to compete with traditional meat brands by offering healthy protein options.  

Repeat purchases driven by delicious flavor and convenience are instrumental in the brand’s growth, Klein added. 

"We are going to be failing if people are eating our product because it is better for the planet or better for animals. That is not a big enough reason to drive repeat purchases. We need them to eat it because they love the flavor … [and] the convenience," said Klein.

Minimizing animal ingredients 

While Choppy! uses animal byproducts, its long-term goal is to "use as little animal ingredients as possible," Fazeli said. 

By using animal byproducts, Choppy! achieves price parity with traditional meat while delivering the desired flavor profile, Fazeli explains.  

He added, "We can achieve the same price per pound while still having the flavor that people crave." 

Fazeli emphasizes that forming habits around the sensory experience is key. Meat eaters crave a certain flavor, and Choppy! delivers that experience with significantly less meat content, while improving higher adoption rates, he noted.

Fazeli continued, "It is ultimately about [developing] habits ... formed from … sensory experience. When you talk about people who eat meat, it is clear what the expectation is sensory-wise, they want a meat flavor. And if we can get that to people with a tenth of the material used, then that long-term has the potential to have a lot more impact than a 100% vegan product being tried once and never had again." 

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