Jan 22, 2019
Tofurky, which has been producing plant-based meat products since 1980, is the OG of animal protein alternatives. The brand always had a loyal following, but with consumer interest in plant-based meat surging in recent years, sales of Tofurky products, which are distributed on six continents, reached $40 million in 2018. Tofurky president and CEO Jamie Athos recently joined us for a wide-ranging interview included in this episode in which he discussed the origins of Tofurky and how the brand has evolved over its nearly four decades on the market. Athos also discussed current challenges for plant-based meat companies, executing and learning from a recent brand revamp, the reason that Tofurky has resisted acquisition offers and why he believes that plant-based ham has to taste great, but doesn’t have to taste exactly like... ham.
2:57: Interview: Athos sat down with NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg for an interview recorded at the Alternative Protein Show, an annual industry networking event in San Francisco. As part of their conversation, Athos discussed how challenges in Tofurky’s first 35 years have differed from those in the last five, how the company attempts to make manufacturing “as virtuous as possible,” and why he believes that “the upside for the world is greater if Tofurky is in the hands of people who understand its place in the ecosystem.” He also spoke about Tofurky’s lawsuit against the state of Missouri, which is attempting to limit how companies can use the word “meat,” navigating the hype for plant-based foods and his belief that the company “should not be in business if we can’t make great tasting food.”
Brands in this episode: Tofurky