Actual Veggies, the company making colourful veggie-only plant-based burgers, has just bagged $2.8 million in funding. Unlike plant-based patties like Impossible or Beyond that try to mimic real meat, the New York-based startup is using fresh vegetables, grains, and spices to upgrade the traditional veggie burger for a tasty comeback.
Actual Veggies has secured $2.8 million in its latest round of financing, as reported by Forbes. The round was led by Austin Rosen, the founder of Electric Feel and Post Malone’s songwriter, and joined by English footballer Kieran Gibbs and VCs Big Idea Ventures and Rose Street Capital. The New York startup differentiates itself from other plant-based burgers on the market by making their patties with nothing but vegetables.
Bringing veggie burgers back
Founded in March 2020, Actual Veggies offers a range of quarter-pound, chef-crafted veggie burger patties made with fresh produce and grains. There are four colourful burgers in their lineup, featuring ingredients like beetroot, carrots, broccoli and black beans, and each patty is named accordingly with the colour of the vegetable used.
They contain no fillers, preservatives or synthetic ingredients, and contain pronounceable vegetables, legumes and spices. Actual Veggies says they’re “not trying to replicate the taste of meat,” and are simply “letting the natural flavors and nutritional value of real, actual vegetables speak for themselves”. All of Actual Veggies’ products are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and Kosher.
The concept for Actual Veggies started when co-founder Jason Rosenbaum was searching for healthier alternatives to traditional burgers, but was frustrated at the choice of either a bland frozen veggie burger, or imitation meats that contained processed ingredients. Rosenbaum then went on to create an alternative that was delicious, colourful but nutritious, together with Hailey and Alex Swartz.
Expanding retail distribution
Actual Veggies first launched on the market via e-commerce platforms like Imperfect Foods and HungryRoot, but has recently entered retail with Sprouts Farmers Market. Since June, their patties have been sold across more than 360 locations of the chain, and are set to launch on FreshDirect as well.
Fuelled with fresh funding, the startup says it wants to grow its brick-and-mortar retail distribution. It plans to expand distribution across the U.S. throughout this year.
Speaking to Forbes, co-founder Swartz said that the brand will also continue innovating their range of veggie-only patties, with no plans to venture into analogues that are designed to mimic the taste of real meat.
“Consumers are not going to see products from us that taste like chicken or beef. We’re always going to stay true to ourselves—using only vegetables to make our products.”
Clean label trend
Actual Veggies’ bet on nothing but vegetables is likely to pay off, with current trends indicating that consumers are increasingly searching for healthier, cleaner ingredient labels. Especially as the plant-based market matures, shoppers are scrutinising product labels, nutrition content and are deterred from purchasing items containing overly processed ingredients.
That’s why even established players like Beyond Meat are now reformulating its products and marketing them as healthier revamps. The food tech recently launched a “3.0” version of its iconic burger, claiming to have significantly slashed the saturated fat content and calories while still delivering the same protein, vitamins and minerals.
Andrew D. Ive, founder of investor Big Idea Ventures, told Forbes that Actual Veggies is “fill[ing] a significant gap consumers were shouting for, a burger that tastes great, but is far healthier and cleaner label.” The New York startup recently graduated from Big Idea’s accelerator program.
All images courtesy of Actual Veggies.