One Food Company’s Unique Three-Pronged Business Model

Hampton Creek is the maker of egg-free products like Just Mayo and Just Cookie Dough, and the CEO, Josh Tetrik, describes the company’s mission as “starting over” with food production. Rather than describing Hampton Creek foods as vegan and selling them in specialty stores, he wants to help people eat better and farm better by introducing plant-based processed foods that are affordable and widely available.

As a self-described food technology company, Hampton Creek employs food scientists who are researching thousands of species of plants to find proteins that can mimic the properties of eggs and other ingredients they hope to replace. They are collecting a database of plants that can effectively replace animal products in the hopes of sharing this information with the farming industry and farmers worldwide to suggest better cash crops. So far they have replaced eggs in their products with the Canadian yellow pea and sorghum.

In order to make their foods widely available, Hampton Creek’s business model has three different prongs. They began introducing their foods in retail stores. Their first product, Just Mayo, was introduced in Whole Foods stores in 2013. A year later, after receiving a hefty injection of funds from billionaire investor Li Ka-Shing and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, their foods were on the shelves of many major grocery chains, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Costco, Target and the Dollar Store.

In addition, Hampton Creek signed a 5-year agreement with Compass Group, a giant food service company that supplies schools, universities, stadiums, and the U.S. Senate. Thanks to Compass Group, Just Mayo and Just Cookies are available in 2,300 public schools and more than 400 universities. Unlike most food service products, whose brands are invisible, Hampton Creek foods keep their label, which has helped their brand to become recognizable.

The third prong of their business model is e-commerce. Though it is not currently available, the company plans to let customers purchase products on their website in the near future. E-commerce will allow Hampton Creek to test new products before distributing them via retail stores. At this time, their retail products include four varieties of Just Mayo; two more salad dressings, Just Ranch and Just Italian; and two flavors of Just Cookie Dough. However, they recently announced the upcoming release of 43 new products including more salad dressings, dessert mixes, pancakes, and brownies.