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A Startup backed in Hollywood invites you to try its low-carb bagel

Beyond Meat for Carbs, based in Los Angeles, is raising new venture capital.

Long ago, California set out to imitate New York’s renowned bagels. Numerous West Coast shops have tried in vain to replicate the distinctive crust and texture of the legendary deli staple, from the low-calcium Manhattan tap water to the specific boiling processes. A brand-new bagel business with celebrity backing has given up now.

Instead, it creates a bagel with 90% fewer carbohydrates and a distinctively Los Angeles shape: a circular piece of bread with a hole in the centre.
BetterBrand, a firm that has garnered more than $5 million, invented the extraordinarily nutritious bagel.

Alexis Ohanian, the co-creator of Reddit Inc., the inventor of Cruise and the streaming service Twitch, Emmy Rossum, the star of Shameless, and Patrick Schwarzenegger, the son of Arnold, are among its investors. According to the chief executive of the company, another, significantly larger investment round is now being finalized. He declined to reveal the new total or the valuation.

After feeling the shame that comes with eating regular cuisine, Aimee Yang developed BetterBrand.

I’d literally dream of this world where we could eat what we wanted and never have to worry about weight gain, said Yang, BetterBrand’s chief executive officer. It really consumed so much of my mindspace and was such a point of anxiety. Enabling us to eat what we want is so incredibly freeing and empowering.

Yang now desires for her business to become the “Beyond Meat of Carbs.” From Soylent’s meal replacement drinks to Upside Foods, which has raised more than $600 million in its mission to make lab-grown meat, BetterBrand is the latest in a long line of venture capital-backed businesses looking to reinvent the food we eat. Earlier this year, the company Athletic Greens, which creates a green powdered vitamin combination, became a unicorn. Investors placed a $7 billion valuation on the vegan burger firm Impossible Foods.

Low-carb bagels aren’t exactly a new thing; Walmart and Kroger both sell similar products.

The business plans to eventually replicate a variety of bread products, including pretzels, in addition to bagels.

Although direct sales currently account for the majority of the company’s revenue, Yang anticipates that the wholesale market will expand. Yang said she is in talks with airlines to display the bagels in airport lounges in addition to expanding to other retailers in new markets.

BetterBrand’s natural home is in Los Angeles, a city known for its gourmet cuisine and health-conscious residents. It is here that we found businesses like Moon Juice, a wellness company with venture capital backing that distributes dietary supplements like Magnesi-Om and Sex Dust. According to BetterBrand, each of its bagels has the same amount of sugar as a stalk of celery and four eggs’ worth of protein.

The bagels are available in well-known flavors like traditional, everything, cinnamon, chocolate chip, and pumpkin spice for the fall.

Naturally, some bagel purists resist the novel invention. Emily Winston, owner of Berkeley, California’s Boichik Bagels, recently had a BetterBrand’s basic flavor that she ordered on Instacart and commented, “I would not call it a better bagel.” Her bakery is the culmination of Winston’s years-long efforts to replicate the New York-style bagels she grew up eating. The Better Bagel was “foamy,” “spongey,” and “almost like cotton,” according to Winston.

It’s like a mirage of a bagel. I’d eat them before I starved to death, she said. But, I don’t think everyone’s going to start eating these and stop eating regular bagels.

In a taste test, it was discovered that the traditional bagel was, shockingly, hardly any more flavorful than a regular bagel, except for a margarine aftertaste. Instead of having the characteristically deep and chewy interior of a bagel, this one was light and became sticky when chewed, making it difficult to swallow. However, when cream cheese was added, the situation didn’t really change. The cocoa bits did not considerably improve the chocolate chip version.

The fact that the Better Bagel has more protein and fiber and less carbohydrates than its more common doughy counterpart is one of its selling features.

One testimonial on the company’s website notes, “I never would’ve imagined not feeling guilty after eating two bagels.” But dietician Alissa Rumsey warned that prebiotic inulin fiber, a key ingredient in the bagels, doesn’t get absorbed by the body. Too much could lead to trouble.

“I could see this causing constipation for someone,” said Rumsey, author of a book called Unapologetic Eating who resists labeling food as inherently good or bad.

Yang said her goal isn’t to make bagel-eaters feel guilty.

Us transforming the bagel is definitely a celebration of the product itself, she said. It’s about addressing a feeling I think a lot of people relate to, and turning that feeling that already exists of guilt or anxiety into a sense of freedom, or empowerment or joy.

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