Outstanding currently makes Pig Out, a plant-based “pigless pork rinds,” in flavors like “Hella Hot,” “Nacho Cheese,” and “Texas BBQ.” The rinds are gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, vegan and certified kosher. The main ingredients in the rinds are rice, sunflower oil and pea protein, with a bunch of spices thrown in.
This funding round comes at a good time for Outstanding Foods, which sits at the nexus of a few trends happening right now. First, Outstanding is creating a plant-based alternative to an animal product at a time when sales of plant-based food are taking off, so there is definitely a receptive market for pigless pork rinds.
Second, this pandemic has driven people to stock up on snacks. The NPD Group recently found that snack food consumption is up 8 percent during this time of COVID as we all look for comfort foods.
Finally, while Pig Out is available in select stores, Outstanding also sells directly to consumers via its website. This is an increasingly common tactic for nascent food brands that are able to create a direct relationship with consumers through a variety of online channels like Twitter and Instagram. Magic Spoon cereal is only available online and Impossible Foods recently launched its own D2C channel.
The only issue for Outstanding Foods might be if its pigless pork rinds taste too much like the real thing. While this verisimilitude may appeal to flexitarians, the more ardent vegan and vegetarian community may be turned off by this realism, having given up meat and pork for a reason. Plus, just because something is plant-based doesn’t make it healthy — there’s still plenty of processing that goes into making these treats.
Regardless, with $5 million in fresh funding in the bank, now is the time for Outstanding to, err, pig out on its expansion plans.