An impressive array of food industry leaders from across the United States have come together to launch a new plant-based protein brand in a manner never before attempted—nationwide in BOTH retail and virtual restaurants.

Developed in Detroit by the former Garden Fresh Gourmet partners (who sold to the Campbell’s Soup Company for $231 million), Skinny Butcher invited LA-based Golden West Food Group to exclusively manufacture the line, be equity stakeholders and serve as the vendor of record, ensuring speed to market on a national scale.

Wow Bao, originated by Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, created a virtual kitchen concept for the Skinny Butcher. The LEYE-renowned chefs created the Crazy Crispy Chick’n menu that includes Chick’n Parm, Jumbo Chick’n Tenders, Chick’n Caesar Salad, Teriyaki Chick’n, sandwiches and sliders—all serving the “Best Tasting Chick’n Sandwich” available. Wow Bao is a leading virtual restaurant operator that has opened more than 650 units throughout the United States and has already begun onboarding Skinny Butcher  onto their existing platform.

Wow Bao has partnered with REEF Kitchens to launch Crazy Crispy Chick’n across the country via third-party delivery.

Wow Bao has a longstanding relationship with Valor Equity Partners, an operational growth equity firm. Valor Siren Ventures, Valor’s early-stage food, food technology, retail, and retail technology investment fund, made a $10 million investment in Skinny Butcher.

Skinny Butcher CEO, and former Garden Fresh Gourmet Vice Chairman Dave Zilko describes the partnership’s overall approach, “Our mission is to go to market with a line that wins on branding and on flavor profile. No other plant-based program possesses the brand personality of Skinny Butcher; he endears himself to the consumer at the point of sale and that relationship continues through consumption. Skinny Butcher does not take himself or our Crazy Crispy line of Chick’n Nuggets, Tenders, Patties, Sliders or Breasts too seriously. This kind of food should be fun, while also being sustainable.”

Skinny Butcher is importing a progressive vegetable fiber strain, employing pea protein, and adding to it a proprietary spice blend that results in products virtually indistinguishable from animal-based comparables. From there, the soy-free line further differentiates itself with a unique breading system that allows for the sub-brand “Crazy Crispy,” in response to the white-hot fried chicken sandwich wars playing out in QSR outlets across the country.

Wow Bao president and CEO Geoff Alexander explains how these differentiating factors led to their partnership with Skinny Butcher, “We have always been a food first company, and Dave Zilko & team have created an unparalleled product that we are proud to partner with and represent on a national scale. While other plant-based chick’n companies have nuggets, we have a full line of menu items that will please any and all eaters.”

Zilko concludes, “We’ve assembled an amazing collection of thought leaders from across the country. Skinny Butcher offers instantly iconic branding at retail and an industry leading flavor format with a virtual restaurant program and the resources to scale nationally.”

Emerging Concepts, News, Wow Bao