From Depression to Entrepreneurship:
A Plant-Based Journey
In 2018, Brett Christoffel founded All Y’alls Foods to nourish people and the planet and has since launched popular products like “It’s Jerky Y’all” and “Big Crunchy Bacony Bits Y’all.” Brett shares valuable insights on how to build a plant-based food brand, including being clear on the voice of your brand/products, building relationships with co-manufacturers, staying committed beyond convenience, and more.
My name is Brett, and I am the founder and CEO of All Y’alls Foods. I was on antidepressants for over a decade due to poor diet choices, consuming mostly meat, processed, and fast foods. After being so tired of feeling bad, I took action. I educated myself and started incorporating more plant-based omega 3’s and whole foods. Within four months, I resolved my depression through diet alone. In 2018, I went vegan and shed over 100 lbs. My depression is still at bay.
After learning that beef was Texas’ second-largest export and experiencing all the health benefits of plant-based proteins, I founded All Y’alls Foods to nourish people and the planet. In May 2018, I launched our first line, It’s Jerky Y’all, to provide a high-protein meat alternative full of fiber, phytonutrients, and cholesterol-free. In July 2020, I launched It’s Big Crunchy Bacony Bits Y’all, and six months later, they hit number one on Amazon for meatless bacon and continue to be our biggest seller.
All Y’alls Foods offerings are made from whole non-GMO soybeans, with no additives or preservatives. Each flavor represents a region of Texas. We use prickly pear, the state plant of Texas, which gives our Teriyaki and Chipotle a one-of-a-kind flavor. And we do all this using 1/13th of the land, fuel, and water to produce our products compared to our animal-protein competitors. We’ve partnered with Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, a cattle ranch turned vegan sanctuary with over 135 animals, to donate a portion of every sale to support their mission.
In addition to selling through our website, www.allyallsfoods.com, and on Amazon, we work with major retailers and distributors, including KeHE, UNFI, Mabel, Faire, HEB, Kroger, and 7-11. Speaking of HEB, we received first place for plant-based proteins and 6th overall (of 830 entries) in their 2019 Quest for Texas Best contest and grew sales 104% from 2020 to 2021 in 138 of their stores.
One of the most valuable abilities I have learned since launching was to pivot and work on any problem that arises immediately. Sometimes I have to laugh at the errors that get made by folks since they are sometimes things I had never thought could go wrong. I keep the mindset that no matter what happens, I work on resolving the problem as soon as possible. Without fail, this has served me along the way.
Here are a few of the highlights I learned along the way:
- Be clear on the voice of your brand/products, knowing precisely what they are and are not.
- Working with a co-man can be wonderful or hellish, but build that relationship. If they ask for a “divorce,” it would be great to have a backup to transition with.
- It’s easier to grow a company one is passionate about and more effortless if it aligns with one’s convictions.
- Just getting into retailer ABC is only a win if you can afford to be in there, as many are not profitable (slotting/ad spend, off-invoice) but are instead a marketing play that much larger companies can afford, but smaller brands cannot.
- Always help others when you can. If you’re pushing plants, I tell folks to consider me a resource. Initially, I had no one to ask, so I now enjoy supporting other plant pushers.
- One must be committed beyond convenience to grow and stay in the game.