Better Bean Company

American Made Since 2012

Hannah Kullberg & Keith Kullberg

Portland, Oregon
The Better Bean Company offers the first refrigerated ready-to-eat beans sustainably produced, non GMO Project verified, vegan and gluten-free.

Tell us about your business.

Ever since I was little, I wanted to change how food was produced. I made personal consumer choices. I got involved politically. I worked on an organic farm. But, it was only when the Better Bean light bulb turned on in my father’s head that I was able to contribute to real and immediate change to the quality of food products available. My dad had always avoided canned beans because of their high sodium content, mushy texture and strange aftertaste. Growing up, we only ate beans if he had time to cook them from scratch. Wanting to eat beans, a nutritional powerhouse, more often, he recognized a gap in the marketplace. And the Better Bean Company was born. A fresh-packed bean would give people a tasty, easy and healthy alternative to canned beans. Together, we set out to make a product that met our high standards, included NW-grown ingredients and was made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our ready-to-eat beans are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and low sodium.

What makes your business stand out?

Better Bean uses a unique production process that slow cooks the beans by hand and then packages them at just the right time to seal in their fresh, flavorful quality. Our beans are just as healthy and delicious as homemade beans without all the preparation time. We make it easy for consumers to eat the beans right from the package or use in a favorite bean recipe. The fresh-packed beans are perfect for a quick lunch or breakfast on the go and can be used in salads, dips or any favorite weeknight meals. We also use a unique packaging system that is eco-friendly and sustainable with containers that are fully recyclable (#5 plastic), BPA-free, and microwave safe. The eye-popping colors and graphics helps consumers spot the new refrigerated beans. Since most consumers are not used to buying beans in the refrigerated aisle next to the hummus we needed a package that would really make people stop and pick up the product.

What's the best business advice you've received?

“Stay focused on the vision.” We have thought about opening a food cart and being food vendors at festivals, both wonderful business models. Furthermore, many people have suggested we make guacamole, hummus or salsa. Some have even suggested we should make chips. However, we have stayed focused, with one goal in mind – to change the way Americans eat beans. We want to inspire people to rethink beans and elevate them to their rightful place in our cuisine. For our family, beans are a gourmet food and can have a lot of flavor if shown proper love. Our mission is to help Americans eat more healthfully by offering easy, tasty and healthy beans.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

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  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

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  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

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  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

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