Meatless eating is now easier to pull off — and truly enjoy — thanks to companies like Zoglo’s Incredible Food Corp which has figured out how to make plant-based protein taste exactly like a burger or sausage.
The pioneering plant-based food company’s Incredible product range includes plant-based meat substitutes. The new line of Zoglo's Incredible products comes in elegant black boxes, with offerings such as Zoglo's Incredible Sausage Links, Zoglo's Incredible Burgers, Mushroom Burgers, or Jumbo New York Style Franks, as well as Incredible Meatballs, Cutlets and Shawarma.
Zoglo’s has recently inked a binding memorandum of understanding to acquire a 51% interest in Monday Swiss UK Ltd., a top European developer of innovative plant-based food alternatives. The technology from Monday Swiss' facility is expected to provide Zoglo's with the next generation of meat analogues and the ability to bring industry-leading texture, quality, and innovation to North America. The proposed acquisition is also tipped to increase annual sales by up to C$6 million.
Since 1987, Zoglo’s has been using its advanced technology to perfect plant-based food. In fact, the company has been ahead of the curve when it comes to the mainstream plant-based food upswell.
“We’ve been doing plant-based food before it was trendy, or even known as plant-based,” Zoglo’s CEO Anthony Morello quipped as Proactive sat down with him to discover how the company is flourishing into a mainstream brand with a strong retail footprint in Canada and the United States.
A food and beverage industry veteran, Morello was the former president of Aurora Importing and Distributing, and spearheaded merchandising and commercial programs at Sobeys Inc, the second-largest food retailer in Canada with a variety of banners.
Proactive: Unlike new companies which have jumped on the plant-based food bandwagon, Zoglo’s has been around for decades. How has the company’s roots set it up to be a big player in the plant-based movement?
Anthony Morello: Zoglo’s has been around for quite some time. The foundation of the business can trace its roots all the way back to 1937 when the Zoglo’s family, a meat processing family in Israel was established. In 1987, they started producing plant-based products for the European and Middle Eastern market. Those products were brought to North America in 1995 and introduced to primarily Jewish and Kosher markets so it’s very niche. We continue to have distribution in about 800 locations throughout the Ontario, northern US, New York, and New Jersey areas. Now we’ve evolved into a mainstream brand.
It’s kind of cool to have that history which is our foundation, and our innovation is our future. The access we have to R&D and technology will further distance us from the competition and we believe place us in a leadership position. We are utilizing our learnings from our past and from markets that are further developed than we are here in North America. We are leveraging that knowledge to introduce proven concepts that have been accepted in other markets and making them available here. In essence we are celebrating our past while creating a bright new future for Zoglo’s.
If variety is the spice of life does Zoglo’s have the market cornered? Are there more products in the pipeline through the new Zoglo's Incredible Black Box product line?
Zoglo's has over 25 plant-based non-GMO, nitrate-free products to choose from and use in everyday cooking as a meat substitute, or to consume. We believe that variety and innovation is the key to success in this category. With our new Incredible black box lineup, we have taken Zoglo’s to the mainstream market with 12 stock-keeping units (SKUs) all launched simultaneously — that is unheard of in the industry. However, while these 12 SKUs we’ve launched are innovative in North America they have been in the market in Europe for several years. We are just scratching the surface right now and have access to much more. Our intention is to evolve Zoglo’s into a top plant-based food company positioned throughout the grocery store.
Tell us about your planned acquisition of plant-based food producer Monday Swiss UK and how it will bolster Zoglo’s revenue?
This acquisition is extremely exciting and positions Zoglo’s as a world-class plant-based organization with leading-edge technology, best-in-class innovations and the capacity to service our growing customer base globally. Monday Swiss UK is a world-class plant-based company with a production capacity of over 500,000 kilograms per month.
Are you well-funded and is M&A a part of your aggressive growth strategy?
As a growing company we are willing to explore any, and all options that will keep us on our strategic path to becoming a dominant global plant-based brand. We are well funded for the stage of development we are at today. However, as we evolve and continue to build up, we may require more funding and will address it on an as-needed basis.
Are you happy with Zoglo’s retail push this year and do you have new retail and distribution deals in the works?
We are thrilled with the acceptance of the brand and the roll-out in Canada. We have only been in retail since mid-September, and we already have a listing base stretching across Canada within most major retailers. The response has been excellent and the feedback we are receiving from our retail customers is that Zoglo’s is bringing incremental sales to their business and not cannibalizing existing categories and that is very exciting to them. It really is a good news story all around that will help us in developing our roll-out plans for the US market.
The pandemic has accelerated many wellness trends and plant-based eating is no exception. Do you believe that plant-based eating is becoming genuinely mainstream and creative plant-forward creations are dismantling the long-held misconception that vegan options compromise on taste?
We believe that plant-based diets are here to stay and will be threaded into global eating behaviors. Whether you choose to eat a plant-based diet for health reasons, environmental reasons, or cultural reasons the reality is that everyone is introducing it into their diet. The technology we possess allows us to develop products that are now really interchangeable with real meat delivering taste, texture, and mouth feeling all while maintaining a very good food experience. We call it plant-based food without limitations. It opens plant-based alternatives for all types of consumers.
Zoglo’s recently held a popular free virtual cook-along class with Chef Pino Di Cerbo, who is the Chief Culinary Officer of Zoglo's Incredible Food Corp. Are you planning more cook-along events?
Chef Pino is an award-winning chef and a truly differentiating asset for Zoglos Incredible. He is demystifying how to cook with plant-based products for the public. The first cook-along we did was for influencers and bloggers. It was such a huge success that we started to offer them to anyone that wants to engage. Furthermore, our website now houses many recipes and recipe videos by Pino and anyone can easily follow along at their leisure. We will plan more virtual cooking classes and interactions with consumers whenever we possibly can. In fact, we had one recently entitled 'Taco-Tuesday with Zoglos' and we have many, many more.
What are the main geographical markets for Zoglo’s products?
We are in Europe, Canada, and the Northern US with the classic Green Box that has been in the market for over 25 years. Our new Incredible Black Box is now launching in Canada with great acceptance and success, and we are now ready to pursue the US market through our North American business and will start to also introduce our Incredible Black Box line-up in Europe and the Eastern continent through our Monday Swiss acquisition.
Since Zoglo’s is in expansion mode does it help that you have decades of food and beverage industry experience?
Absolutely, in fact, my background is primarily retail and I find myself always reaching back to past experiences and knowledge to help accelerate our industry penetration through the retail sector. Our focus is consumer first and we work everything back from there.