Kind founder Daniel Rubetsky teams up to cook authentic Mexican food

Kind founder Daniel Rubetsky has teamed up with two former snack brand executives to set up a Mexican food company based on the food they grew up in.

Somos, which means “we are” in Spanish, is currently accepting wholesale orders from grocery stores and retail stores, with rice, beans, salsa, chips, and plant-based entries until January. Expected to reach the shelves. The company’s e-commerce site will start selling chips and salsa on Tuesday.

Lubetzky worked with former Kind Chief Marketing Officer Miguel Leal and former Product Innovation Officer Rodrigo Zuloaga to create Somos. Leal, CEO of Somos, previously worked for food companies such as Cholula, Danone, Diamond Foods and Frito Lay of PepsiCo. All three men were born and raised in Mexico.

The Somos lineup uses Kind’s playbook pages and is free of meat, gluten, or genetically modified ingredients. Lubetzky founded a snack company in 2004 and advertised the bar as healthier than its competitors. Last year, Snickers maker Mars acquired Kind North America in a transaction reportedly worth about $ 5 billion. Lubetzky holds a stake in the company and is still chairman.

“I’m always amazed at the lack of authenticity of Mexican food,” says Leal. “Most of the foods that exist in [consumer packaged goods] Cal-Mex or Tex-Mex, not the food we grew up in. I just thought there was a big opportunity to bring ingredients, technology, authentic Mexican food made in Mexico, and Mexican food to the market. “

Rubetsky and Lille said they were joking about the difference between childhood food in Mexico and what is defined as Mexican food in the United States.

“Here in America, they put this yellow shredded cheese in Mexican food,” he said. “In Mexico, it’s fresh white cheese.”

In Lubetzky’s view, the US restaurant scene is “15 or 20 years ahead” of what is available on the grocery shelves, which he said was stuck in the 1970s. As of 2020, approximately 65,000 restaurants (7% of all restaurants in the United States) specialize in Mexican cuisine, according to food service research firm CHD Expert.

According to Jeffrey Pilcher, a professor of food history at the University of Toronto, American consumers began to eat Mexican food in earnest as railroads brought tourists southwest in the 19th century. By the 20th century, Chicago meat packers made Chile and began selling it in cans, slowly removing its Mexican identity and making it a staple in the United States. Restaurants like Taco Bell founder Glen Bell later focused on tacos, paving the way for food brands like Old El Paso to start selling Tex-Mex food in supermarkets across the country.

Somos has established itself as a brand that does not sell Americanized Mexican food, but instead uses traditional cooking techniques to attract consumers and create more delicious options. According to Lille, the company roasts salsa vegetables on fire, grinds corn with stones, and slowly cooks beans. Somos is also nixtamaizing corn. This is the process of cooking dried corn in an alkaline solution to improve its flavor and nutritional value.

Daniel Luvetzky, Founder and CEO of Kind, speaks at CNBC’s iConic Conference in Boston.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

“This is quite different from the various tortilla chips in passage 9,” says Lubetzky.

Somos co-founders also contrast the Mexican tradition with other domestic food brands that sell taco kits and seasonings, usually owned by American conglomerates. General Mills owns Old El Paso, Ortega is part of B & G Foods, and ConAgra Foods purchased Frontera Foods a few years ago. Chi-Chi’s is a joint venture between Hormel Foods and Mexico-based Herdez Del Fuerte. Even Cholula, a former employer of Leal, is owned by McCormick, who also sells taco seasoning kits.

Of course, most supermarkets across the United States now also carry smaller or regional brands, usually manufactured in Mexico or started by Mexican-Americans. For example, Mexican immigrants founded Cacique in 1973 and have since grown into the largest fresh cheese maker in the United States.

The issue of authenticity of Mexican food is an issue that is being considered even by major American brands. Pilcher said he had previously been hired by a major food company as a consultant to help them cook “more authentic” Mexican food, but nothing happened.

“I think they were trying to determine if it was worth marketing to a group of immigrants that became prominent during the conversation,” Pilcher said.

According to Gustavo Allerano, author of “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America,” and Los Angeles Times columnist, the demand for reliability has helped make Mexican food a billion-dollar industry. ..

“As long as there is Mexican food in the United States, Americans have incorporated it into their diet and ate it until they demanded something more’real’,” he said.

Somos is now ready to sell a version of authentic Mexican food to US consumers and enter its own market.

“Many people cook with these ingredients, but they’re looking for the real thing and the story,” Leal said.

Kind founder Daniel Rubetsky teams up to cook authentic Mexican food

Source link Kind founder Daniel Rubetsky teams up to cook authentic Mexican food

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