News

March 3rd, 2014
Better Bean Company Pioneers New Refrigerated Category For Fresh, Ready-To-Eat Beans

Better Bean Company Expands National Sales Channels in 2014; Awarded B Corporation (B Corp) Certification

VISIT BOOTH # 5332 at EXPO West for Happy Hour – Portlandia Style with PDX Tacos featuring Better Beans, Oregon craft beer and more. Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8 from 4-6 p.m.

When Better Bean founder Keith Kullberg turned his delicious thirty-year-old family recipe for refried beans into a business, he kept it in the family, working with his daughter, Hannah, to make their family favorites available for everyone. This popular category of premium beans features organic and Food Alliance-certified beans that are soaked, slow-cooked by hand (not just boiled) and packaged to seal in the fresh flavors. “We have rethought the idea that beans need to come from a can,” says Better Bean founder Keith Kullberg.

Better Bean Flavors StackedBecause of this innovative concept, the company has expanded quickly from Oregon farmers markets to national distribution. Better Bean Company is also on its way to tripling distribution in 2014 and will be readily available in the refrigerated section of natural retailers around the country.

Better Bean Company recently became a Certified B Corporation (B Corp), a prestigious designation awarded to companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems and meet higher standards of transparency and accountability. “From the beginning, we were committed to using the highest quality natural and organic ingredients found within our region and create products that have a positive health outcome for our community,” says Kullberg.

Beans are nature’s most satiating superfoods high in protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Available in five distinctive flavors with ingredients ranging from organic tomatillos and jalapenos to organic red beans, Better Beans are also vegan certified, gluten free and Non-GMO Project Verified. The fresh-packed beans are perfect for a quick snack and can be incorporated into meals. Each flavor is available in a 14-ounce re-sealable deli tub and retails for $3.79-$3.99 MSRP.

Flavors include:

  • Rethought Red Beans sautéed with onion and tomatillo
  • Uncanny Refried Black Beans sautéed with serrano and habanero
  • Cuban Black Beans with sautéed onion and poblano pepper
  • Three Sisters Chili with beans, corn, squash and ancho
  • Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip a chipotle lime bean spread

Re-Thought Packaging: Sustainable “One-Seal” Technology
The Better Bean Company’s unique packaging is eco-friendly, fully recyclable (#5 plastic), BPA-free and microwave safe. The eye-catching colors and graphics ensure the beans pop off the grocery shelf. “People are not used to buying beans in the refrigerated aisle next to the hummus,” says Kullberg. “We needed a package to attract shoppers with bold colors.” Most importantly, the company chose the new “one-seal” technology for its sustainable properties. Widely used in Europe, this system integrates the typical extra layer of plastic into the lid and represents a 30% reduction in carbon footprint. The lid is firmly sealed into place with heat and pressure, creating a food-safety barrier that peels off easily.

About Better Bean Company
Better Bean offers the first-of-its-kind refrigerated beans freshly packed and ready to eat in 14-ounce packages in five varieties: Rethought Red Beans, Uncanny Refried Black Beans, Cuban Black Beans, Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip and Three Sisters Chili. Better Bean Company’s products are sold at select grocers throughout the United States. For more information, recipes and a store locator, visit www.betterbeanco.com. Follow us on Twitter @BetterBeanCo and Facebook.

December 4th, 2013
Entrepreneur Podcast Network interview with Better Bean Co. from farmers market to national distribution

Better Bean interview on Entrepreneur Podcast Network

Hannah Kullberg, known as the Bean Queen joins Enterprise Radio. Along with her father, she has built The Better Bean Company up from farmers markets to national distribution.



Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Hannah Kullberg discuss the following:

  • Why did you decide to start a bean company of all things?
  • What were some key insights and decision points in your business?
  • How have you grown so quickly from a concept to weekly staple in thousands of homes?
  • How do you integrate sustainability into your business model?
  • Any tips on financing a business?

Hannah Kullberg, affectionately known as the Bean Queen, is co-founder of The Better Bean Company along with her father Keith Kullberg. Together they have grown their natural foods company from famers markets to national distribution. Pioneering a new grocery category, Better Beans are the first fresh, ready to eat beans sold refrigerated in a format similar to fresh hummus. Their artisan, small-batch beans are made with premium ingredients primarily sourced from the northwest. Riding the wave of food consciousness, Better Beans are also vegan, gluten-free, lower-sodium and non-GMO verified. Read More…

*Click the play button above to hear the podcast. Duration: 20:27

Visit Entrepreneur Podcast Network website at http://www.epodcastnetwork.com to learn more.

June 22nd, 2013
Hungry Runner – Foods I Fell in Love with at Food Fete

Hungry RunnerDo you ever know that maybe something isn’t that good for you, but you continue to do it anyway? For example, I know that because of BPA, eating canned foods isn’t the healthiest option. But because it’s convenient I continue to buy canned beans. Well, I fell in love with Better Beans because they package their beans in plastic containers instead of cans. This means not only are they BPA free, but also much fresher than canned beans. Their beans are also grown locally, contain no artificial flavorings or preservatives, and they offer a handful of different bean mixtures and flavors, which is a huge plus for someone like me who often cooks with many of the same foods but still wants to keep meals interesting and spicy! Read More…

June 21st, 2013
Vegucated in Vancouver Reviews Better Bean Beans…

Vegucated in VancouverThe last set of samples that I received for my EAT! Vancouver series was from my new friends at The Better Bean Company. The lovely folks at The Better Bean Company provide us with refrigerated, ready to eat, delicious beans. They want to add convenience to beans without having to sacrifice flavour and nutrition. As a vegan and healthy gal, I know how labour intensive dried beans can be. The soaking and boiling are crucial and can take a while but with rethought beans from The Better Bean Company you are in luck! Just open the package and voila! Read More…

June 20th, 2013
Hannah Kullberg, “Bean Queen,” explains why fresh beans are better

Conscious Foods NetworkConcious Foods Network talks with Hannah Kullberg, “Bean Queen,” explains why fresh beans are better.

Hannah BeansHannah Kullberg grew up in the foodie haven of Portland, Oregon. She then attended Vassar College where she studied food systems and worked on an organic CSA farm. She returned to Portland to help her father build The Better Bean Company, earning the title Bean Queen for all her roles in the business. Better Bean offers consumers the first fresh, ready to eat bean sold in BPA-free tubs in the refrigerated section of natural grocery stores. Hannah is also a community activist, and served on the Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council for two years. In this time, she learned the role of business in effecting change. She is grateful that she can wake up everyday and help people eat healthier and live more sustainably.

In this podcast Hannah will talk to us about her refrigerated, gourmet, ready-to-eat beans and why they have superior taste and nutrition to canned beans. We also learn how beans are grown and why they are important to land sustainability. We’ll also talk about why the Better Bean Co. values their local suppliers and some difficult decisions and trade offs they make with their local farmers in mind.

Play podcast Below

Visit Conscious Foods Network website at www.consciousfoodsnetwork.com to learn more.

June 8th, 2013
Portland’s Better Bean Co. looks to go national with a product that’s both good-tasting and good-hearted

oregonliveEric-Mortenson*By Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian, March 30, 2013

Better Bean Toss in Air in the Kitchen

Better Bean Co. employee Santos Gutierrez strains beans before they are sauteed in safflower oil at the company’s Wilsonville production plant. Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

Some people want to rock the world. Keith Kullberg and his daughter, Hannah, will be happy if you just eat better beans. Preferably ones cooked by their Better Bean Co.

For now, Better Bean appears to have a niche market to itself. While everyone else packs beans into cans, Better Bean sells its five bean dishes in refrigerated plastic tubs that are resealable and recyclable. Consumers snatch them up at $3.99 apiece, and in three short years Better Bean has jumped from booths at farmer’s markets to cooler space in about 250 stores in a total of 15 American states and Canadian provinces. Keith Kullberg, who developed the recipes in his college days, has a goal of selling in 4,000 stores — the approximate number of natural and organic food stores nationwide.

One of the company’s early supporters, Whole Foods Regional Vice President Bruce Silverman, says Better Bean’s products are unique. When Silverman tried some of the Kullberg refried beans at a farmer’s market, his first thought was, “How can other people not be doing this?”

Whole Foods now carries Better Bean’s 14-ounce tubs in 14 stores in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

“It’s such a good freaking idea,” Silverman says.

But going big with the company, as Keith Kullberg hopes to do, is a gamble. A lot can go wrong in the food business. Money, suppliers, quality assurance and shipment networks can slip sideways. Silverman cautions that a refrigerated, perishable product may have limited distribution range and price point.

Better Bean Keith and Hannah in the Kitchen

Keith Kullberg, left, and his daughter, Hannah, developed Better Bean’s refrigerated dips, side dishes and chili. The company has grown rapidly, and sells its products in 250 stores. Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

Kullberg expects competition from other manufacturers soon, too, or purchase offers from corporate giants. He says Better Bean is still in startup mode, cooking and packaging beans three days a week in space it shares in a Wilsonville industrial park. Increasing storage room, cooler space and production days are the first steps. Kullberg acknowledges that “a considerable portion of our family’s net worth is on the line.”

Better Bean is going for it, but Kullberg says businesses can’t grow indefinitely and success is not just about size.

“What’s our mission?” Kullberg asks. “What do we want to do that gives us deeper meaning?”

The answer sounds funny.

“We really want to change the way people eat beans.”

In the bean-ginning

The whole bean thing started during Kullberg’s college days at Oregon State, where he earned an electrical engineering degree.

During trips to Mexico he fell in love with the culture and cuisine, and tried to reproduce the refried beans and other dishes he’d found there. Why beans? They’re a great source of protein, low in cholesterol, low in fat and are versatile as dips or side dishes. Being a vegetarian, Kullberg substituted vegetable oil for the lard favored by Mexicans, and over the years was the family bean cook for his daughters, Hannah and Brooke.

He was also a self-described “serial entrepreneur.” He and a partner started a software engineering company, Step Technology, and saw it grow to 100 employees and three offices before it was purchased and eventually dissolved. Then the family operated a dress shop, Moda Nova, in downtown Portland. It’s now defunct.

Kullberg, 58, did management consulting for awhile but had the bug to start another business. During a hike, he realized the answer was in his kitchen, in the bean dishes others always praised.

“All my life, I’ve known you can’t buy good beans,” he says. Even gourmet cooks, he says, turn to canned beans. A light bulb glowed.

“I researched the market, went to natural-food stores — no one in the country was selling beans in this format. Would you buy hummus out of a tin can? Why buy beans out of a tin can?”

He took the idea through Portland Community College’s Small Business Development Center. He won a “recipe to market” contest in 2009, gaining shelf space at New Seasons Markets as a prize. Oregon State’s Food Innovation Center in Portland helped with a shelf-life study.

Daughter Brooke, 22, a University of Oregon student, came up with the company name. Better Bean, she pointed out, was not only alliterative but simply true.

Meanwhile, daughter Hannah, 25, returned from Vassar College in New York with a degree in geography and a passionate interest in farms and food systems. She joined Better Bean full time in 2011 and has become the company’s public sparkplug.

She wants the company to change the conventional food system by supporting local sourcing, regional production and community involvement, but recognizes they have to work with the existing norms and customer expectations.

“We want to bring beans back to the center of the plate,” she says, rather than “something you have once a month.”

Made with care and purpose

Santos Gutierrez, one of Better Bean’s half-dozen employees, deftly flips and drains beans before adding them to a reservoir of sizzling safflower oil in Wilsonville. The beans are sautéed, which Keith Kullberg says is key to enhanced flavor. The aroma fills the company’s work space.

Giant bags of beans, weighing a ton each, sit along one wall. Black beans come from Washington state; red beans from Idaho. Hayday Oil Co., in Madras, supplies the golden safflower oil. Veggies and spices are locally sourced when possible.

Better Bean Stacked in Kitchen

The bean dishes are made from locally-sourced ingredients and come in recyclable containers. Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

The company’s products include Rethought Red Beans, Cuban Black Beans, Uncanny Refried Black Beans, Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip and Three Sisters Chili.

Hannah Kullberg is a true believer. She says beans are the answer for everything that’s wrong about the way Americans eat, including obesity.

The company’s story and products resonate with others, too. In early March, Better Bean won an Entrepreneurship Award at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, Calif., which attracts 2,400 exhibitors.

Whether the broader consumer market will agree, and support Better Bean’s dream of national expansion, is an open question.

Silverman, of Whole Foods, says regional success is more likely.

“I think it’s a really good idea. A solid, tasty product marketed at a fair price,” he says. “If they do that and not have a competitor come into the market and undercut him, I think they’ll do very well with it.”

Sarah Masoni, of OSU’s Food Innovation Center, says small food businesses need good design and production, someone who is savvy about money and a good sales and marketing person.

“If you don’t have all three it doesn’t matter how good your idea is,” Masoni says. “It will be up to Keith and Hannah to keep innovating and stay one step ahead.”

Ryan White, a grocery buyer for New Seasons, says Better Bean’s products have done well as customers caught on to the unusual packaging and placement in the cooler section.

The Kullbergs help their cause by eagerly doing in-store demonstrations, White says, and have proven to be a “great local partner.”

“We have a little bit of pride that we were one of the first retailers to pick them up,” he says. “We walked them through the process, and they’re all too happy to support us right back.”

Keith Kullberg says he and Hannah have to be smart about branding, adding stores and managing capital to have a chance to reach their goals. He believes multiple companies will eventually make money by producing refrigerated beans.

“Our definition of success is that we will become one of the national brands in this category we’re pioneering,” he says. “We’ve rethought everything about the bean.”

*Source: Mortenson, Eric. “Portland’s Better Bean Co. looks to go national with a product that’s both good-tasting and good-hearted.” The Oregonian, March 30, 2013. OregonLive.com
May 19th, 2013
Better Bean Co. Finalist for The 2013 2013 sofi™ Awards

Diet Lifestyle The BetterBean Co Cuban Black Beans2013 sofi awards finalist
Category:
Diet & Lifestyle
Cuban Black Beans

Category:
Innovation in Packaging Design or Function
Uncanny Refried Black Beans

About The Sofi™ Awards
The sofi™ Award Winners and Finalists represent the best of the best in specialty food and beverages. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation. This year’s finalists were selected from 1,885 entries from members of the Specialty Food Association. A national panel of specialty food experts selected 109 finalists across 30 awards categories.

Site: http://www.specialtyfood.com/sofi/finalists/2013/

March 19th, 2013
Better Bean Company Earns Sherbrooke Capital 5th Annual Entrepeurship Awards
Sherbrooke Capital 5th Annual Entrepeurship Awards 3-09-2013

Sherbrooke Capital 5th Annual Entrepeurship Awards 3-09-2-13

Sherbrooke Capital, a leading investor in companies that promote healthy, active and sustainable lifestyles, hosted its 5th Annual Entrepreneurship Awards in Anaheim, California during the weekend of Natural Products ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural products trade show that drew nearly 63,000 attendees and more than 2,500 exhibitors. Awards were given to emerging companies demonstrating superior innovation.

In the early stage category, the award was given to The Better Bean Company (www.betterbeanco.com), a Portland, Oregon based natural products company that sells premium refrigerated beans in a ready-to-eat format. The company has set out to revolutionize the bean category with its products that are made with high quality, all natural, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO verified ingredients and are freshly prepared with flavor and texture that rival the best restaurant or home cooked recipes. The Better Bean Company currently offers Rethought Red Beans, Uncanny Refried Black Beans, Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip, Cuban Black Beans and Three Sisters Chili. All products are sold in unique BPA-free plastic, “one-seal” containers which utilize significantly less resources to produce and result in a 30% reduction in carbon footprint.

Sherbrooke Capital 5th Annual Entrepeurship Awards 3-09-213 http://sherbrookecapital.com/#/home/
January 19th, 2013
The Better Bean Company Earns Non-GMO Project Verification For Its All-natural Refrigerated Beans
Non GMO Project Verified

Non GMO Project Verified

*PORTLAND, Ore. — January 14, 2013 – The Better Bean Company and its five varieties of “rethought” refrigerated beans will now add Non-GMO Project Verification to their label. The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. This endorsement represents The Better Bean Company’s ongoing commitment to use all natural ingredients sourced from regional farmers. Co-owners Keith and Hannah Kullberg created a new category of premium beans that are found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The beans feature organic and Food Alliance-certified beans slow cooked by hand (not just boiled), sautéed in Oregon-grown, cold-pressed high-oleic safflower oil and packaged to seal in the fresh flavors. All the ingredients are natural, gluten-free, soy-free and vegan. “We have rethought the idea that ready-to-eat beans need to come from a can,” says Keith.

“We have been working with the Non-GMO Project for the past year to pursue verification and labeling for all our products,” says Keith. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted our products to be verified by the Non-GMO Project. Consumers trust this third-party verification seal and it supports our commitment to all-natural non-GMO ingredient sourcing.” GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA for bacteria, viruses and other animals and plants. These experimental combinations of genes cross the natural species barrier and have not been proven safe. All Better Bean products will display the Non-GMO Project seal by March 2013.

Sustainable “One-Seal” Technology

The Better Bean Company’s unique packaging is eco-friendly, and the containers are fully recyclable (#5 plastic), BPA-free and microwave-safe. The eye-catching colors and graphics ensure the beans pop off the grocery shelf. “People are not used to buying beans in the refrigerated aisle next to the hummus,” says Keith. “We have rethought the idea that beans need to come from a can.” Most importantly, the company chose the new “one-seal” technology for its sustainable properties. Widely used throughout Europe, this system integrates the typical extra layer of plastic into the lid and represents a 30% reduction in carbon footprint. The lid is firmly sealed into place with heat and pressure, creating a food-safety barrier that peels off easily.

About Better Bean Company

Better Bean offers the first-of-its-kind refrigerated beans sustainably produced and packaged and ready to eat or heat for a quick dinner or snack. Flavors include Rethought Red Beans, Uncanny Refried Black Beans, Cuban Black Beans, Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip and Three Sisters Chili. The Better Bean product line was named a top pick among new vegan products at Natural Products Expo West in 2012. Find Better Beans at select grocers including Whole Foods Market, New Seasons, Wegman’s and more. Each flavor is available in a 14-ounce re-sealable deli tub and retails for $3.79-$3.99 MSRP. For more information, recipes and a store locator, visit www.betterbeanco.com. Follow us on Twitter @BetterBeanCo and Facebook.com/betterbean.

About the Non-GMO Project
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO choices. Learn more about the Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org. To get the latest non-GMO news and updates, follow the Non-GMO Project on Facebook at facebook.com/nongmoproject and on Twitter at twitter.com/nongmoproject.

*Non GMO Project “THE BETTER BEAN COMPANY EARNS NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFICATION FOR ITS ALL-NATURAL REFRIGERATED BEANS” Source Link.

Download Press Release here.

January 15th, 2013
Hannah Kullberg talks Better Bean on Simple Kitchen with Missy Maki on KPAM 860

Better Bean on AM 860








*Click the play button above to hear the podcast.