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Hidden Gems: Meet Jody Boyman of Hungry Planet

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jody Boyman.

Hi Jody, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’d love to! Hungry Planet began, quite simply, as a passion project. We wanted to do something meaningful to solve two of the world’s most pressing problems: the health of humankind and the health of our planet.

About a decade ago, after I’d already had careers as a wildlife photographer and a psychologist, my brother Todd Boyman and I decided to build a platform for positive change, one where people could eat their way to a healthier planet. From the beginning, we approached the opportunity differently. We’d already been eating plant-based for decades, but we knew that in order to transform our food system, we had to create delectable plant-based meats that would primarily appeal to dedicated meat eaters and flexitarians.

We set out on a mission to craft a wide range of proteins to feed our growing human family, prevent environmental destruction, avert global pandemics, and reduce animal suffering. Crucially, they had to be a simple switch for conventional meat while also delivering superior nutrition.

After a decade of culinary R&D, we developed the most authentic and complete range of plant-based meats available in the world – and the innovation continues.

Our mandate has always been to craft a wide range of meats that are authentically delicious, nutritious, versatile, affordable – and ultimately, ubiquitous. We strive to optimize people’s choices and nudge them toward more healthful and sustainable ones. We believe that eating more plants, including plant-based meats, allows us to align our actions more closely with our most deeply held values.

Hungry Planet was created to help inspire people to make positive changes to bend the curve on human and planetary health – one delicious bite at a time. We aspire to make it easier for people to choose plant-based meats, and we believe that our collective food choices have the power to heal our world. Most of all, we want everyone to know that even small dietary changes make a big difference!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
We had just fully loaded into a major distributor right before the pandemic hit in early 2020. At that time, our focus was exclusively on foodservice options including 5# chubs of ground beef, chicken, pork, Italian sausage and chorizo plus beef patties, chicken patties and crab cakes. Shortly after our official launch, food service fell off a cliff because everyone was sequestering at home. Our agile team pivoted and quickly brought forward by about 18 months our plans to introduce a wide range of delectable retail items for those hungry at home.

In just a few short months, we had on shelf seventeen retail SKUs including Ground Beef, Chicken, Pork, Italian Sausage, Chipotle Chicken patties and Crab Cakes, followed soon thereafter by our delicious and easy meal-builders including Crispy & Fried Chicken, Grilled Chicken Strips, Grilled & Diced Chicken, Thai Meatballs, Pork Gyoza, Italian Sausage Crumble, and Italian Sausage Meatballs. Our retail offerings have garnered rave reviews and several awards. According to SPINS data, we had the most successful retail launch of a plant-based meat company during the past 2 years in terms of points of distribution and velocity.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Hungry Planet?
Hungry Planet makes award-winning chef-crafted plant-based meats that have fooled some of the largest meat companies on the planet! We power innovative dishes in chains like Veggie Grill and Meta Burger, along with famous steakhouses like Craig’s LA.

We offer the most complete range of meats at both foodservice and retail, featuring cravable taste and texture that is an authentic match for conventional meat. We craft meats that just happen to be made from plants to delight everyone at the table including committed carnivores and vegans.

Importantly, unlike others in this category, our meats are demonstrably better for you; packed with protein and fiber, with fewer calories, less fat (no saturated), less sodium and fewer overall ingredients – all of which are non-GMO.

We strive to be the preferred solution for everyone, including restaurants experiencing heightened demand for plant-based options – and something other than commonplace beef and burgers. People crave variety, and that is our strong suit! Chefs and home cooks can easily create plant-based versions of their favorite recipes – in any cuisine – with one simple swap: Hungry Planet for conventional meat.

We are now offered in thousands of restaurants and thousands of grocery stores coast to coast. For the most updated list, please visit our Find Us page: https://www.hungryplanetfoods.com/find-us/

We’d love to hear about how you think about risktaking?
I’m honored to be included in the Forbes 50 Over 50: Entrepreneurs list this year and I have to say, much of it comes down to how you define the opportunity and the detailed strategy the team employs to attack key goals. As an organization, we are incredibly strategic, collaborative, nimble – and thrifty. There is no need to take huge risks when you are scaling sustainably to meet thriving demand.

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Image Credits
Courtesy of Hungry Planet

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