Food Activist and Co-Founder Marc Coloma explains why education and outreach have made Heura Foods a trusted voice among the people. Heura products are as juicy and delicious as meat but aren’t meat substitutes; instead, they’re meat successors. Entirely vegan with a clean label of ingredients healthy for people and the planet, Heura is proudly Mediterranean.
Nicole Astra: Welcome to Talking Plant Protein. My guest today is a food activist in the plant protein space. I would love for you to welcome Marc Coloma with Heura Foods. Mark, I'm so excited to talk to you because people get excited when they talk about you. I hear things like, "We already said food activists, boots on the ground, community builder, purpose-driven". I want to know how you earn those accolades and when you first started shaking things up in the food space.
Marc Coloma: Well, thanks a lot for having us and sharing this. We are humbled for all the support that we are receiving all over the world and in the countries that we are in and in the countries that we are not yet. And while at the end, we say that we are not a brand with a purpose, but a purpose with a brand. And this talks about our story. I'm a mission-driven entrepreneur, I'm coming from an activism background now until a certain point I understood that the role of technology in making social change. I remember that I was an undercover investigator and also doing a lot of social awareness and a lot of people was telling me, "I totally agree now with these barriers, with these ideas where I will do as supermarket, and I don't find options. And there is a sentence now, make a model that makes the problems of the current model obsolete. That inspires me a lot.
Nicole Astra: And tell me about the Good Rebels that you have coined and how they help you further this purpose of people, plants, and planet.
Marc Coloma: Well, at the core of Heura, there is this belief of we have much more power than we think and people can have the ability to change the world. So when we were born and when Huera was born we knew that we were part of a movement much bigger than ourselves. And in order to add value to this movement, we wanted to do two things, food tech solutions, so solutions to the current model, but also, bring awareness. And with this concept of vote with your fork. From three to five times a day, we have the ability to vote with our fork, for the world that we want. And this was something that was core from the beginning of the company.
Nicole Astra: That's the fundamental truth of what we're all working towards in this industry, because the consumer has so much power. So, thank you for the education you've done. And people love you guys. They love your brand. How many social media followers do you have?
Marc Coloma: Well, at this point, more than 200,000, but, well, this is just the beginning.
Nicole Astra: And let's talk a little bit about funding because your popularity with the people really helped you get started with crowdsourcing, correct?
Marc Coloma: Yes. Well, at the end, communities in the core. So when we fundraise we not only look for institutional investors and owners in the field and amazing business angels, but we want that all the people that support us to be able to be part of it. But it surprise us all, including the crowd equity platform that has never seen a race so fast. So it was amazing. And it talks about this sentence of victory that nothing has more power than idea whose time has arrived.
Nicole Astra: And how much did you raise in your first crowdfunding experience?
Marc Coloma: So in the crowdfunding, it was 4 million euros in less than 16 hours. And nothing went out to the public just with the people that register. Looking at the future, we always want to have a mix between institutional investors and owners that can help us to make easier the path to the next step and already are saving and can help us with different challenges that the company can have, but also bringing in the people that is supporting us and it's part of the good rebel community.
Nicole Astra: People travel from all over the world, just to eat in Barcelona. And I think something that's unique to you guys, is you want it to stay true to that Mediterranean story. How'd you do it?
Marc Coloma: Well, we have clear enough this identity of, we want to be the plan days from the Mediterranean and at the end, from where you are, it creates your mindset. Not? So this approach that food is sharing love, made that understand that we had to bring a value to the category of amazing culinary experience and the best nutritional at the same time. A 3.0 plant-based meat generation now and at the end, the first players coming from Silicon valley, they inspire us all. And they create this first products that were super similar to meat, but we don't want to be meat subsidiaries, but meat successors. Making something much better, that makes the whole industry bigger. Because if we do the most healthiest burger in the world, we are making the burger industry much bigger.
Nicole Astra: And that's the goal as something that's delicious, but also maintains that nutritional profile. What about olive oil and that component? Do you think that's your secret ingredient?
Marc Coloma: Yes. Well, when looking at this challenge about how to unlock taste and nutrition at the same time, there we had a minimalistic approach how to use less ingredients. So we are using right now from 40 to 60 less ingredients than average ingredient list on the market. But also, looking at fats, I think that there is where the biggest challenge come and we were able to find a solution to the grease. From 60 to 80% the use of salads and saturated fats than average competitors, in terms of plant-based meats. And this is allowed because we were able to create a fat analog from olive oil extroversion. When you look at sources of fat the healthiest fat on the wall is olive oil, extra virgin, and monounsaturated fat. So most people right now it's using coconut oil because it's unsaturated. So in room temperature it's solid and it's super easy to use in a production line and in a formulation of a product. But when you look at olive oil extra virgin, it's liquid, at room temperature. So there was a challenge about how the use olive oil in order to create a structure to behave like a saturated fat. So we have an amazing team over and then that for more than two years, they work into how to create a structure and scaffold to take the healthiest fat into the wall and, and make it behave as a saturated fat.
Nicole Astra: And let's talk about your most popular products.
Marc Coloma: So we started the with chicken. This was our first product, the first that we were using technology of high moisture extrusion that allow us to have a very minimalistic ingredient list, but at the same time using amazing culinary recipes to unlock flavor. So this is the first product that we are famous around the Spain and get a lot of people excited. And at the beginning of this year, we launch our beef vertical with burgers and meatballs. But this is just the beginning because we have just launched nuggets. And in September, we are showing to the wall or new pork vertical that will change everything.
Nicole Astra: So some announcements here on talking plant protein today. I love it. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate your time. I do believe it is just the beginning. Like you said, the innovation and the passion that you're putting into this industry is appreciated
Marc Coloma: Basically here and thanks a lot.