Cereal is the ultimate comfort food but it has so little nutritional value. So how to make it a better-for-you product? Make it from egg whites? Sounds kind of impossible. Yet that's exactly what Kumar Arora, CEO of Trust Foods has done. Below he shares how this product came to be, what he's learned from his past gig at Real Good Foods, and what he's hoping to accomplish with Trust Foods in the future, both on the shelves and off.
Where did the inspiration for your product come from?
I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of CPG and lifestyle brands over the years, but more specifically in the better-for-you category in more recent years. The idea to start my own began to formulate after father had endured a stroke in 2018. Ever since then I was committed to developing products that allow all of us to lead a healthier lifestyle and something I can feel proud about. He has been my inspiration in business all this time for me, Trust Foods is a homage to my dad and all that he’s taught me.
Trust was also founded on the idea that if you want to make a difference, you’ll need to be different –– and we take that principle into every aspect of the business. From our product development, to our disruptive packaging, to how we communicate with our customers. I wanted Trust Foods to be a wake up call for the industry — that we all need to be doing better for our community.
Can you tell us a bit more about your product?
Definitely! We’ve developed the first ever grain free cereal made from egg whites. Made with only a handful of clean ingredients, low sugar and high protein available in 4 flavors: Honey, Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Berry. It’s available currently at Sprouts nationwide and pre-order for a Q1 2021 release on trustfoods.com.
What are your top priorities as you get ready to launch?
For me, it’s all about having the right team with the right strengths. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by my friends and industry veterans — from supply chain, to sales, to marketing. No great company can be done alone.
As we are getting ready for our launch in 2021, my biggest top priority currently is to get our D2C business operational as we continue to expand retail. I think that both sides of the business are interconnected, especially when it comes to high level marketing— and it can really fuel both sides of the business.
What are you focusing on in terms of marketing and messaging, especially for such a unique product like an egg-white based cereal?
For us, given its such a disruptive product –– we’ve really leaned on egg whites and our core nutritional elements that has been the foundation of our messaging thus far. We’ve also been layering it with elements about transparency, communication (go ahead, text us!), and other general announcements.
As we continue to grow, we will begin to implement social impact causes and what Trust means to us and how we all be leading a better lifestyle. I’m really excited about our launch in January and will have to come back to the Foodboro community for a proper update!
What has been the hardest part of launching this product so far?
Like most CPG brands, reaching scale is often one of the hardest challenges. Between startup costs and materials you really hit your stride once you can get better distribution or having a consistent and strong D2C business. For us, we’re still so early stage that we’ll need some time to validate the product which will be much of the work we do in 2021.
What has been the most exciting part?
For me personally, building Trust Foods on a marketing and branding level has been the most rewarding and exciting. I believe that you can’t necessarily just hide behind a logo as a brand so we’ve done a lot of unique things in our packaging and messaging that really convey what Trust truly means. From the egg window for transparency or even just putting our cell phone and ingredients right on the front of the box -- I’m excited as these early steps will pave the way for even more disruptive marketing in the future.
Was there anything you've carried over from your experience at Real Good Foods that you are applying here?
As the former Chief Brand Officer at Real Good Foods, one big takeaway was our importance on community and how the it should drive key decisions for the company. In 2021 we will have a variety of initiatives on creating the niche community (whether they are diabetic, keto, or just want a healthier alternative) that will help us in a variety of projects from new flavors to all new product launches.
What can we expect next?
By Q1 2021, we plan on fully launching our D2C side of the business and have already begun exploring other possibilities with egg whites. I”m hopeful over time we’ll expand into a line of products.
Has Covid-19 influenced any of your operations or sales strategies?
Yes of course. We know now more than ever people need to be mindful of what they consume. During the development process over the last few years, we had no idea that the pandemic would take its toll, but we wanted to really get ahead and create something health-oriented. In some ways beautiful things can come from dark situations. For me personally as an entrepreneur –– it was a reminder that despite your situation or environment, you always have to continue to be learning and finding new opportunities. I feel even more compelled to fully launch the brand in 2021.
What advice do you have for other early-stage food and beverage entrepreneurs?
Make mistakes or fail forward! I have found that in my time between a handful of food & beverage based businesses — I’ve learned a ton more from my “failures” than my successes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if your idea or business is bad you should give up entirely, but if the components, initiatives, or efforts are simply not working: find a new alternative to get to the goals you desire. Refusing to change or trying the same approach that isn’t working can not only take up valuable time but energy and resources too.
While this is a common principle that’s widely taught: I think that for fellow entrepreneurs and startups you will find that you can be more successful if you can find an answer faster than later. Even better: if you can fail fast and fail cheaply.