When I first met Plant Perks founder Tiffany Perkins, she was only selling her vegan cream cheeze spread at a farmers market and a single retail outlet.
Yet it was immediately obvious to me that she had created a great quality product with huge potential because the locals in Missoula, Montana clearly loved it. In fact, they liked it so much that she regularly sold out due to high demand and widespread popularity.
Tiffany was experiencing a lot of the same problems that typically torment small food start-ups. She had consumers who loved her product, and it was in demand, so from this perspective, she was doing everything right.
However, she was soon to discover that scaling up and producing larger batches was not as simple as just adding more ingredients.
I was trying to scale my business but was not able to do so since I was having to throw away spoiled product every week because it was fermenting too quickly. Before I could confidently start selling to retail locations, I needed to know that my ferment would turn out correctly each week.
Because she was throwing out batches that were fermenting too quickly, it meant her success was actually costing her money!
She needed help. Fast.
“A lack of a food science background was really limiting my understanding of what was going on physiologically with my vegan cheeze, no matter how much research I did.” —Tiffany
Tiffany brought me on board as a food science consultant. She wanted to work with someone who had experience with vegan cultured products who could help solve her immediate challenges and provide some added value and unique insights. Someone who understood her niche product and the importance of running an ethical business.
We had a short consultation, realized we were a great fit and we got to work almost straight away on a winning strategy.
My approach focused on three key areas which I identified as being crucial:
Shelf life testing
We changed Tiffany’s culture (probiotic) supplier, re-analyzed her formula, and performed rigorous shelf life testing protocols. As a result, I was able to help her extend the shelf life of her vegan cream cheeze while still maintaining a clean label.
These changes not only allowed her to increase her distribution but drastically reduced her food waste due to spoiled product wastage.
We also determined the appropriate probiotic dosage allowing her to easily use standard industry measurements to properly culture her products consistently from batch to batch.
Plus, new processing specification packets were created, so that now anyone can produce Tiffany’s vegan cream cheeze from beginning to end. This tool will grow with her business as she continues to scale up production.
Plant Perks is now sold in over 35 retailers and growing. The product is consistent from production batch to production batch, and Tiffany is now confident that the shelf life has been suitably maximized to allow her to distribute even further from her home production base.
What was once becoming not only a frustration but leading the way to a potential failure, Plant Perks is now positioned to continue sustainable growth with a consistent quality product that consumers are sure to enjoy.
I was able to combine my expert knowledge of ingredients, creating scalable formulas, and developing effective and sustainable systems to empower Tiffany to make a significant impact and grow her business.
“My life has changed for the better. I got back my passion for my business and now have the confidence to go national. I know I have the processes in place to create a consistent and safe product, no matter how large we get!” —Tiffany
Rapid growth can lead to unforeseen challenges
Implementing simple but effective processes and strategies can successfully and sustainably scale your business
Ensure you have the right expertise on board at the beginning of your journey