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Life is Tight w/ Ben Stix of The BeHive

Ben Stix, owner of The BeHive, vegan deli and seitan wholesale business in Nashville, shares his entrepreneurial journey in scaling a plant-based food company. The episode covers the challenges of growth, trends in the vegan industry, what makes BeHive's proteins stand out, and the future of vegan cuisine. Ben aims to provide tasty, healthy plant-based options for all.

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In This Episode

  • Ben Stix, owner of The BeHive vegan deli and wholesale business in Nashville, discusses his entrepreneurial journey. He started with pop-up vegan buffet events, then began making seitan, eventually opening The BeHive deli and expanding into a larger production facility.

  • Ben explains the challenges of scaling a vegan food manufacturing business, including the high costs of equipment, facilities and achieving certifications. He has taken out substantial loans to grow the business and acknowledges he is leveraged to the hilt financially as he tries to reach a sustainable level of scale and profitability.

  • The conversation covers trends in the vegan food industry, like restaurants offering more plant-based options, impacting vegan-only establishments. They discuss the growing market for vegan meats and cheeses, and the different business models of making products in-house vs using a co-packer.

  • Ben shares what makes BeHive’s vegan pepperoni, sausage and deli slices stand out – using vital wheat gluten and real food ingredients, avoiding allergens and additives common in other brands, and marinating the proteins for better flavor and texture. He’s constantly iterating to improve the recipes.

  • The two ponder the future of vegan cuisine, debating if products should mimic meat or embrace unique plant proteins like tofu, seitan and tempeh. Ben sees providing tasty and healthy vegan options, not necessarily converting everyone to veganism, as his mission. The episode ends with mutual admiration for musical artist Childish Gambino.

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