- Pre Brands, a Chicago-based grass-fed beef company, is outsourcing its production, according to Chicago Inno. The startup doesn't own a farm, processing plant, or any cattle. Pre Brands purchases its beef primarily from New Zealand and Australia, and packages and distributes all of its product from a Chicago South Side factory.
- Braintree founder Bryan Johnson’s investment firm is backing the startup, which operated more like a tech company. Since launching two years ago, Pre Brands is in more than 500 retail stores. It sells steaks, ground beef and specialty cuts through retailers including Meijer and BJ's and has a national reach with Amazon Fresh.
- Pre Brands grew more than 400% in 2016. Nielsen said Pre Brands was the fastest growing consumer beef brand in the country last year among brands selling greater than $100,000 at retail.
The philosophy behind Pre Brands is unique in that it only has about 21 employees and outsources the production of its grass-fed meat.
Pre Brands claims its business model is based on data is has collected, which helps it better understand what the consumer wants. Founder and CEO Lenny Lebovich said the data is collected from scanners at retail locations to better products understand what’s selling on a store-by-store basis
With tech guru Bryan Johnson involved, it’s strategy is not surprising, but the positive results have really opened the eyes of some analysts with the company posting an increase in sales of more than 400% last year. One of its reasons for strong growth is its partnership with Amazon Fresh, which delivers its products to customers through its popular service.
While it might be surprising that other companies aren’t following their lead, the food manufacturing industry has been known to slowly adapt to technology in some cases, and it could be that other companies are just doing their homework to see if some of these methods could work for them. It's also possible the company's success could attract the interest of major meat companies such as Tyson Foods or Hormel Foods looking for growth.