From a Tiny Kitchen to Retailers Nationwide: The Story of Unreal Deli
Just over two years ago, Unreal Deli founder Jenny Goldfarb was expecting a baby and starting a business from her tiny kitchen. Today, Unreal Deli is a large food company with grocery store giants like Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Ralph’s carrying their products.
On the verge of becoming a major international business, Unreal Deli makes delicious plant-based deli meat “straight from the garden.” These vegan meats boast a range of vitamins and other nutrients in each serving and are always animal-free, kosher, cholesterol-free, low-fat, and low-carb.
Goldfarb was born in New York City and is related to delicatessen owners. Saying goodbye to New York-style deli meat was difficult when she first went vegan, so she decided to make her own! Using just one small oven to create her plant-based meats, Goldfarb quickly managed to get her products on the menus of LA delis and even capture the attention of Whole Foods.
Even more impressive? Goldfarb went on the television show Shark Tank and managed to convince billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban to invest $250,000 in her company—more than double the amount she was asking for! Cuban told Jewish Journal:
Unreal has a chance to be the leading provider of plant-based deli counter meats in the country. Every great company starts with a great entrepreneur but needs great products to really grow into a powerhouse. Unreal has both.
Unreal has been unstoppable since then, making appearances in restaurants like Quiznos, Mendocino Farms, and Veggie Grill. What began as her small kitchen has become two manufacturing plants that Goldfarb oversees.
Jenny was kind enough to take a break from her busy schedule and answer a few of our burning questions! Here’s what she had to say:
What inspired you to adopt a plant-based lifestyle?
One little Facebook friend posting one video on animal farming broke me to pieces and encouraged me to change my ways.
Growing a business from scratch can’t be easy! What kept you motivated through the tough times?
The animals. Also the earth, health, waistline, energy, and all the good vibes you get from eating plants. I want to help make that normal for people.
What advice do you have for other women hoping to start their own plant-based businesses?
Start, get to it—you don’t have to have 10 steps ahead mapped out. Cook the thing, find someone who loves it, ask for critiques. Find that first customer. The rest is commentary.
Do you have a favorite Unreal Deli product?
Our new Unreal Steak Slices are absolutely mouthwatering; they’re my current obsession. But I can never turn down a classic Unreal Reuben or Unreal Club Sammy.
What can we expect next from Unreal?
The steak slices are a biggie. They’re already Cuban’s fav, and I expect them to be a category killer. We’re also making premade sandwiches and opening five virtual restaurants this spring.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Never doubt the power of women fighting for the good of the world, serving up delicious food!
2021 promises to be another exciting year for the vegan company. Jenny plans to offer savory Unreal Deli products in even more major supermarkets, as well as expand to universities, hotels, and even airlines.