In her own words, Neka Pasquale started Urban Remedy for “weird hippies” like herself who want to eat healthy food throughout the day. She’s come to realize over time, however, that the ultra-fresh and plant-centric brand has the opportunity to reach all kinds of consumers. To do so, Pasquale explains, the company must be uncompromising and, yet, flexible.
A licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, Pasquale founded Urban Remedy in 2009. The brand markets primarily vegan, certified organic food and beverages, including ready-to-eat meals, nutrition bars, cold pressed juices and desserts, all of which require refrigeration. In recent years, Urban Remedy has shifted its focus from company-owned storefronts and e-commerce to retail chains. The brand is mainly represented at Whole Foods, where its products are stocked in standalone kiosks and end caps.
Urban Remedy has gradually expanded beyond the natural channel and into mainstream retailers, including Kroger, Safeway and Raley’s, and increasingly found a growing number of consumers willing to pay a premium for fresh and healthy food. In 2021, the company secured a $18 million Series D funding round, led by Vail-based private equity firm Manna Tree, to achieve a “shared goal of providing convenient, nutrient-dense foods to consumers everywhere.”
While the company continues to open new doors, it is challenged by the constraints of sourcing high-quality ingredients and products with a short shelf life. There are no easy solutions, but as Pasquale points out in this episode, embracing change and having an open mind, without compromising on values, are keys to Urban Remedy’s long-term success.
In this Episode
|2:27: Neka Pasquale, Founder & Chief Product Officer, Urban Remedy – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with Pasquale in Vail, Colorado where the entrepreneur was a speaker at Manna Tree’s second annual Global Health Forum. She shared a brief history of Urban Remedy and the brand’s current retail and distribution footprint, why the company is “laser-focused” on its kiosk program, why demand forecasting and food waste are its biggest challenges and the reason that the brand markets a wide variety of products. She also explained how Urban Remedy developed a close relationship with Whole Foods, how and why consumer perception of plant-based food has shifted in recent years and why a focus on regenerative, organic farming is key to its education strategy. Later, she discussed why she hired a CEO to run day-to-day operations, why she avoids incorporating popular trends into new products and why “be it, don’t say it” is the company’s mantra for branding and label design.|