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How to Make Your Plant-Based Brand Stand Out with Zoë Geller of Fire Ox Foods

“Always be open to learning. Don’t assume that what you have is what people want, and that it’s the right solution.” ~ Zoë Geller, co-founder, Fire Ox Foods

After working with Americorps and a wholesale food distributor, Zoë Geller realized there was a huge gap in both knowledge about and access to nutritious food. It wasn’t long before she did something to address the problem—by founding Fire Ox Foods.

Fire Ox is using delicious flavors inspired by world cuisines to make vegetables attractive and simple to prepare so that people can easily incorporate more whole plant-based foods into their diets.

Zoë and her co-founder, Jason, drew on their mutual love for dishes from around the world as inspiration for their products and are bringing these meals to consumers in a convenient frozen format.

She points out that the average person is still wary of eating their vegetables: “I think a lot of Americans have this really poor relationship with vegetables because they know they’re supposed to eat them, but they don’t really like them.”

That’s why Fire Ox focuses on taste first to make their meals both enjoyable and nourishing. And Zoë keeps her ears open to customer feedback to continue improving Fire Ox products. Whether it’s increasing the amount of food in each meal or calling out the number of vegetable servings on the package, she’s all about staying flexible.

Because, she says, there’s a difference between driving trial and getting repeat customers. “You can get a lot of people to try your product, ... but you need them to keep coming back.”

The secret lies in paying attention to sales data, talking to customers and being willing to stay nimble as the brand adjusts its messaging. And Zoë has some great insights into what to look for and how to make those changes to get products in front of more people.

🥗 Episode Highlights

  • Bringing novelty to a specific category like frozen food to excite consumers and give them a chance to explore new foods without friction
  • Seeking opportunities to bring unique products to market by identifying gaps where your passion could fill a need
  • Supporting brand goals by staying consistent in every area—from naming to ingredients to packaging to messaging
  • Using customer feedback to differentiate your products from others in the market
  • The importance of split-second differentiation: letting customers know immediately what they’re getting and why they would want it
  • Why gathering consumer insights need to be approached intentionally
  • The importance of being open to learning more about your customers and how they use or consume your product
  • Tips for testing messaging before and after coming to market
  • Using sales data, customer data and feedback to hone in on the problem you’re solving for consumers
  • Going beyond product to educate and empower consumers through content

About Zoë & Fire Ox Foods

Zoe Geller co-founder Fire Ox Foods

Zoë Geller founded Fire Ox to create a more sustainable food system. Her time at Americorps and Common Market taught her how to grow food and opened her eyes to how the unjust industrial food system shapes our diets and bodies, and this sparked her passion to create good, nourishing food that is better for people and planet.

Zoë is in charge of sales, marketing, and fundraising at Fire Ox. Before creating Fire Ox, she was the third employee at a local food distributor startup called Common Market MidAtlantic, where she helped grow sales of local food significantly. She has an MBA and Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University.

Fire Ox Foods

Fire Ox is on a mission to help people eat better for themselves and the planet by making delicious, vegetable-based foods accessible to all. Their line of vegetable-based frozen meals is inspired by cuisines from around the world—like Braised Ethiopian Greens and Provencal Ratatouille!

Find Fire Ox on the Web (and try the food!)

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