There was a veritable butcher shop of meat replacement options at the recently held Natural Products Expo East, with companies utilizing everything from jackfruit and legumes to proteins derived from soy or peas. Given all the options, it was pretty hard to stand out in the crowd.
neat is one such company, and it’s actively avoiding the crowd by aiming its line of meat and egg substitutes for store shelves rather than the freezer. In the video below, Project NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg speaks with neat co-founder, Philip Lapp about how the product got its start, how it differentiates itself, as well as the current state of meat replacements and how a recent Hampton Creek FDA warning letter and controversy are affecting the industry.
Founded by husband and wife team Philip Lapp (who served as director of corporate sales for seven and a half years at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels) and Laura Lapp (a former neuroscientist), neat was started after their children swore off meat and became little “animal rights activists.” The product launched at Expo East 2013 and now is in retailers nationwide from Target to Whole Foods Markets.
Taking a shelf stable approach has helped the company because it has been able to avoid some of the higher slotting fees associated with frozen meat replacements and not be hidden behind frosted freezer doors, Lapp told Project NOSH, noting that it also gives customers more flexibility in what they do with the product.
Lapp made sure to point out that, unlike many other meat substitutes, neat isn’t trying to replace meat entirely. With the rise of “Meatless Mondays” or Mark Bittman’s “VB6: Vegan Before 6:00” diet, Lapp wants to offer consumers easy ways to cut meat out of some meals while still engaging in classic dishes like meatballs, burgers and taco night.