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Mar 21, 2023

In 2012, Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali each invested $3,250 to launch better-for-you meat stick brand Chomps, money they used for the brand’s first production run. After bootstrapping the company for a decade, Pete and Rashid brought in a strategic partner, one that made a slightly larger investment: $80 million in equity capital at a valuation north of $200 million.

Chomps, the fastest growing natural meat snack brand in both the natural and conventional retail channels, markets meat sticks made from 100% grass-fed and finished beef and venison, and free-range turkey that contain no hormones, antibiotics and or added sugar. The products are Whole30 Approved, Certified Gluten-Free and Non-GMO Project Verified and carried by several national grocery chains including Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods.

Chomps’ growth has been remarkable, and yet very intentional. While not everything has gone according to plan, Maldonado and Ali’s consistent emphasis on strong unit economics and profitability, along with their ambition to thoughtfully and patiently develop a billion-dollar brand, have positioned Chomps to become a major player in healthy snacking. In this episode, the entrepreneurs discussed their deliberate path and planning to build Chomps and how the pandemic impacted their decision to bring in an institutional investor, despite their long reluctance to do so.

Show notes:

0:45: Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali, Co-Founders, Chomps – Maldonado and Ali spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif at Expo West 2023 where they revisited Maldonado’s 2018 interview for the podcast and how Chomps has evolved since, how the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated a dramatic decline in sales that nearly bankrupted the company, and why they’ve declined offers to make an exit. They also discussed how hiring the right people has given the company a leg up in forecasting supply and demand, how data informs their innovation strategy and how they are passing on learnings from building Chomps to their children.

Brands in this episode: Chomps