This week's guest blog is another epic founder's story from Sadrah Schadel, one of the founders of No Evil Foods. Read in for some major inspiration about plant-based eating and how to stay sane as a founder!
How did you come up with the idea for your brand?
No Evil Foods was born from a belief in the power of an individual (in our case, two) to enact global change, and it started several years before we ever made our first sale at an Asheville farmer’s market in 2014. People say that change starts in your own backyard, and for us, it literally did. What would eventually become No Evil Foods started with a self-sufficiency adventure that led co-founder Mike Woliansky and I to take a deeper look into the origins of our food and other consumer purchases.
We knew that animal agriculture was the leading cause of climate change, we knew that the standard American diet was making our communities sick, but we also knew that people LOVE meat – the texture and taste of it – and that if we were going to have a fighting chance of impacting the health of people, planet and animals, then there needed to be a healthier meat-alternative that was good enough to appeal to everyone – even people who love meat.
What do you do to replenish/renew your mindset on a daily/weekly basis?
I recently started listening to a podcast called The Daily Stoic. Podcasts are awesome resources for continual learning, but I have such a busy schedule between running No Evil Foods and raising two kids under 5 with my co-founder that I don’t always have the time or focus to commit to a long episode. What I love about The Daily Stoic is that the episodes are only 2-3 minutes long, but each provide great tips and mindset shifts to encourage living better, more peaceful, and more resilient lives.
One thing I really connected with through The Daily Stoic is the concept of Amor Fati, or “a love of what happens.” A day in the life of an entrepreneur is always unlike the next, and you will be thrown more curveballs and face more challenges than you ever imagined. You will also experience more satisfaction and pride from being successful doing work that you’re passionate about. In either instance, the concept of Amor Fati holds true. It’s a powerful mindset to see the challenges you face and the successes you experience as equal in their ability to affirm the feeling of being alive.
Why do you tell customers your products are the best?
When I was creating these recipes in my home kitchen, I was creating them for my own use. So I wasn’t concerned about questions like, “how do we scale this?” or “what’s the supply chain look like?” I was really deeply focused on two things: What is it made from and does it perform to my high standards as a passionate home cook.
I set the bar for ingredient inclusion for our products like this: if an ingredient can’t be made from start to finish in a home kitchen, without a food science degree or a ton of specialized equipment, then you won’t find it in our products. How many other companies can say that?
Where No Evil Foods really shines is the intersection of clean label, plant-based food and true meat experience. No one else is doing that right now – certainly not with a label as clean as ours. We utilize the protein from European wheat to give us a stranded, whole muscle, texture and combine it with whole foods like chickpeas, kidney beans, tomatoes, and organic herbs and spices. We use the right combination of mixing techniques paired with a proprietary cooking process to turn plants into Plant Meat!
My favorite quote that hangs in my office (or is on repeat in my brain) is ______
I have 2 sticky notes hanging on my computer. The first, “Your comfort zone will kill you,” is a reminder to always take risks. As an entrepreneur, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I believe it’s when we’re in this space of discomfort that we are actually undergoing our greatest learning, deepest personal development, and are at our most creative.
The next, “It won’t always be like this,” is an affirmation to be present and positive and has dual application. When the times are good, take the time to step back and appreciate them, because it won’t last forever. When the times are tough, it’s a reminder that like the good times, tough times are just as fleeting, and this too, will pass.
What excites you about being an entrepreneur?
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is having the freedom to shape the world how you believe it should be. Some of the choices we’ve made aren’t always financially smart decisions in the life of an early start-up – prioritizing a living wage, offering 100% employer paid benefits, providing paid time off for our hourly team members, donating 1% of our annual revenue to charitable organizations and animals rescues, providing second-chance employment opportunities for people who were in the criminal justice system, etc., - but we see the success of our company as an opportunity to have a much louder and bigger voice for justice, and we’re damn well going to use it.
What's your vision for No Evil Foods going forward?
We are at the brink of a climate crisis. How we eat has a huge impact on the world around us – that impact can be positive, or it can be negative – but we get the opportunity to make that choice at least 3 times a day. I want to keep making the best damn Plant Meat on the market and really show the world what we can do through the power of food. I want to continue to innovate clean label, minimally processed foods that not only serve the people who consume them, but support the world around them, too. In order to do all that, No Evil Foods will continue to grow, we’ll continue to innovate. Mike and I are both committed to using the success of No Evil Foods as a platform to amplify the voices of others, so we’ll continue to stand up and speak out on matters we feel are important. We’re going to keep working to build a company that defies odds and provides opportunity and we’re going to bust our butts to give this planet a fighting chance.
Look for No Evil Foods in the produce or the frozen aisle at retailers like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans, Walmart, Publix, Fresh Market, Kroger, and more, including a huge number of independent grocers and co-ops. Head to our website to find the location nearest you: www.noevilfoods.com/find-us