Tempeh, a food discovered 300 years ago, in Java, Indonesia is set to make it into the mainstream. But how will it get there? And who is propelling the fermentation technology forward? Meet our first guest, Chris Kong, head of business development for Better Nature, a startup company focussed on producing protein the better way, one block of tempeh at a time. In this episode we learn their story, why tempeh, and what the future holds for the delicious meat alternative.
Hey earthlings, our first interview is finally here! Meet Chris, who at 24 and after just finishing his Masters from the University of Oxford, has joined forces with co-founders Elin, Fabio and Amadeus to start Better Nature, a business that takes tempeh fermentation into the mainstream.
From how they met at a biotech competition, to tempeh crisps, the 'Tempeasy', team expansion, investors and much more, in this episode we cover the start of some promising products that are sure to take the market by storm - and we're ready for it!
Snapshot of Better Nature's website
Okay okay, I guess we should backtrack and explain a bit more (hopefully without giving too much away).
It all started with the Tempeasy, an all-in-one, tabletop machine that allowed people to make tempeh anywhere, and out of anything. But soon enough, Chris and Amadeus realised there was a huge barrier to be broken of consumer understanding of the Indonesian street food. First they thought snacks, but then they ran into all sorts of trouble up-scaling the product. They then chose to pivot again and re-focus on the meat alternative space, something they're still working on today.
"Once we knew what the business was going to look like, and what things we believed in, once we defined our why, the brand evolved quite naturally from that." - Chris Kong
And I suppose that was one of our biggest learnings from this episode, that a sense of purpose is crucial for establishing a brand, and will pave the path that follows after.
There were many other awesome pieces of advice that Chris gave in the episode, some of which include...
1. How and why to find your why
2. The importance of building a good, like-minded team around you that shares the same mission (and the importance of having different skillsets)
3. The value of investors, especially in the early days, most importantly those that are aligned with your mission and believe in what you're trying to create
All in all, we had an absolute blast interviewing Chris, and we hope you enjoy listening to the episode. For those of you listening in the UK, their products are stocked at retailers such as Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, as well as their online store. And for those of you who want to keep up with their awesome journey then give them a follow on Instagram @betternature_. If you'd like to email Chris personally, then you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, we interview Bree Gaudette from Hello Friend Foods to uncover the world of vegan cheese. Until then, stay safe and remember to #biteforwhat'sright!