It was 2016, when Gail Becker was in search of a frozen gluten-free-alternative pizza for her two sons who have celiac disease. Unfortunately, there weren’t any options in the grocery retail space, so she made one of the hundreds of thousands of recipes for homemade cauliflower crust pizza she found online.
“My boys loved it, but it took 90 minutes [to make], which I didn’t have as a working mother, so I looked for a convenient frozen one to buy, but there were none. Recognizing that the incumbent food industry was slow to change, I decided to leave my corporate job to follow in the footsteps of my entrepreneurial immigrant father, and well, bet it all on a vegetable,” says Becker, founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER, Los Angeles.
At a Glance
Company Name: CAULIPOWER
HQs: Los Angeles
Products: Frozen cauliflower crust pizza, tortillas, sweet potato toast bread replacement and chicken tenders.
No. of Employees: 43
Today, CAULIPOWER produces frozen cauliflower crust pizza, chicken tenders, cauliflower tortillas and sweet potato toast, available nationwide in over 25,000 stores and more than 5,000 restaurants, including Pizza Rev, Pizza Factory, Double Dave’s, Abuelo’s and Alamo Drafthouse, among others. And, CAULIPOWER is on track to surpass $100 million in revenue by the end of 2019, its second full year in retail.
“We created the cauliflower crust category, and have 96% market share, but we are growing because people simply want a healthier pizza that’s lower in calories, fat and sugar, but still actually tastes like pizza,” says Becker. “We are a company of ‘never-been-dones,’ innovating the frozen aisle with nutritional makeovers. By tapping into consumer insights and capitalizing on market trends, we have joined the ranks of other disruptive food startups that are creating entirely new categories or turning pre-existing categories on their heads.”
Case in point: Americans love pizza, but there’s a complex psychology of America’s healthy eating choices vs. their favorite comfort foods, according to a CAULIPOWER study. For instance, 98% of Americans surveyed eat pizza, but nearly three-quarters of Americans would eat more pizza if it was healthier.
That’s why CAULIPOWER holds a 26% share of the better-for-you market, is said to be the fastest growing brand in the frozen channel across all frozen grocery items and is regularly driving over 50% of sales growth in the frozen pizza category.
“CAULIPOWER is more than just pizza,” says Becker. “In the last 18 months alone, we’ve entered entirely new categories—in tortillas, sweet potatoes and chicken tenders—expanded to Canada and launched in foodservice. More than 15% of our 2019 revenue has come from products that didn’t exist just 12 months ago.”
Earlier this year, CAULIPOWER introduced new baked not fried chicken tenders, made from cauliflower and NAKED TRUTH premium chicken. Click here to learn more.
CAULIPOWER also ranked fourth in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2018 Best New Retail Products contest for what is said to be the first frozen cauliflower crust pizza. And, earlier this year, it placed first in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2019 Best New Retail Products contest for its veggie-first tortillas.
“CAULIPOWER pizza was born from the realization that I wasn’t the only one struggling to find better-for-you options that actually tasted good at the grocery store,” adds Becker. “When developing the recipe for our pizzas, our goal was to create a great tasting option out of nutritious ingredients that maintained the thin crust texture so many crave. If it’s not crispy, it’s not pizza.”
Furthermore, CAULIPOWER launched frozen chicken tenders, which are made with cauliflower and NAKED TRUTH premium chicken. Baked not fried, these tenders deliver 86% less fat than the category average and are only 490 calories for the entire bag. The company continues to win loyal fans with its food truck, and hosted a pop-up shop in New York for the whole month of May.
“The inspiration for all of CAULIPOWER’s products came from listening to what people want,” Becker says. “We are reinventing people’s favorite comfort foods one meal hack at a time by making them tastier and more nutritious.”