- Low carb and better-for-you bread maker Hero Bread raised $15 million in a Series B round and announced a national retail launch. The company’s products, now in 23 grocery stores, will be available in 2,300 outlets by the end of May.
- Cleveland Avenue, DNS Capital, Union Grove Venture Partners, Composite Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures and Tik Tok influencers in the D’Amelio family’s fund 444 Capital participated in the round. This brings Hero Bread’s lifetime funding to $47.5 million. The products will be carried at Sprouts Farmers Market and some regional grocers.
- As consumers want healthier options, a carbohydrate-free bread brand that features ingredients such as potatoes, fava beans, flax and allulose fits the profile of what many people are looking for.
Hero Bread was created as a solution for severe food allergies.
Founder and CEO Cole Glass was unable to eat any vegetables, fruit or nuts. In 2017, he started experimenting in the kitchen to find a low-carb way he could consume baked goods since he knew a high-carbohydrate diet would have severe health consequences.
The end product has been hailed by celebrities, health enthusiasts, athletes and others trying to eat healthier. Hero Bread first entered the market in 2021 as a trial at select Subway restaurants.
But it didn’t just appear on menus. It was buoyed by a $30 million funding round that included athletes Tom Brady and Kevin Durant, recording artists The Weeknd and Lil Baby, and Thirty Five Ventures, owned by Durant’s manager Rich Kleiman. Brady touted Hero Bread as the only bread he could eat on his strict athletic diet.
From there, Hero Bread expanded to additional Subway restaurants and started selling direct-to-consumer on its website last year. It made its grocery debut in January, appearing at small regional Market District and Dom’s Kitchen & Market stores. The brand also grew to become a menu choice at Just Salad and Freebirds restaurants, and began selling at Amazon and Walmart.com.
While this newest expansion is relatively small — bringing the brand to Sprouts Farmers Market and regional chains including Tom Thumb, Randall’s, Heinen’s, Buehler’s Fresh Foods and Albertsons in Texas and Louisiana — it comes with funding to keep the brand growing.
Bread is often considered the king of the carbohydrate-rich foods, with more than 21 carbs in the average hamburger bun. There are no net carbs in Hero Bread’s version. Part of the brand’s secret is using modified wheat starch as an ingredient, which is a dietary fiber, according to an FAQ section on the brand’s website.
Glass spent about two years experimenting in his kitchen to figure out the right blend of plant proteins and fiber isolates to make something that behaved and tasted like actual bread, he told Commercial Baking. Unlike companies trying to come up with the right protein blend to make plant-based meat, any off flavors in the flour could not be hidden by flavorings, Glass said, making his task more difficult.
Hero Bread isn’t the only startup seeking to make low-carb bread products. In 2021, BetterBrand began slowly launching its Better Bagel, a less-carbon-dense version of the traditional baked good. Last year, Better Bagels entered the national retail market, debuting in the frozen bread section of more than 500 Whole Foods Markets. The company plans to launch additional baked goods this spring.
Bakery titan Flowers Foods is launching a low-carb keto-friendly sliced bread under its Nature’s Own brand this spring, while Bimbo Bakeries has a low-carb keto variety of its Arnold sliced bread on its website.