What the cluck? Start-up cooks up a new burger

What the cluck? Start-up cooks up a new burger
What the cluck? Start-up cooks up a new burger   

One food industry veteran has some beef with the traditional store-bought burgers. He says he can do healthy burgers better.

"It's 52 percent less fat, has 34 percent fewer calories and it's also certified gluten free," pitched Steve Gold, founder of burger start-up Cluck 'n Moo.

Watch the above video to see Gold cook up his 60-second pitch to a panel with Chef Huda of "Cutthroat Kitchen," Nick Marsh, CEO of Chop't Creative Salad Co., and Nikhil Kalghatgi, partner at Vast Ventures. Will the "Power Pitch" panel eat up his chicken and beef hybrid or call it unappetizing?


Heating up

As a former vice president of sales and marketing for major poultry supplier Murray's Chicken, Gold has more than 30 years in the food industry under his belt.

"With my guidance, Murray's was the first to introduce antibiotic-free chicken and turkey burgers," he told CNBC. Gold then hatched Cluck Inc. back in 2003.

The brand currently offers three items: a preshaped chicken burger with grass-fed beef, another preshaped chicken burger with grass-fed beef and kale, and it also sells the chicken and beef ground mix separately, for those who want to shape their own patties or use it instead of ground beef in meatballs, meatloaf, tacos and other recipes. All three are certified gluten-free.

The start-up produces the burgers in southern New Jersey. "We use chicken and beef from family farms in the United States that follow our strict humane growing practices," said Gold.

Cluck ’n Moo’s Chicken Burger with Grass-fed Beef and Kale
Source: Cluck ‘n Moo
Cluck ’n Moo’s Chicken Burger with Grass-fed Beef and Kale

The founder has a patent pending on his burgers, but would not disclose specific details.

During the "Power Pitch," Marsh asked, "Is it appetizing to hear the animals clucking and mooing in my head while I'm eating them?"

"We believe food should be fun. And our goal is to have Cluck 'n Moo and [future brands] Gobble 'n Moo and Oink 'n Moo become spokes-animals to teach kids how to eat healthy, and for families, how to eat healthy together," Gold explained.


Beefing up profits

A July 2014 report by market research firm IBISWorld, projects that revenue for the beef and pork wholesale industry will grow to $50.7 billion in the next five years. The firm also found that the United States is the world's largest beef producer, and that beef is the second most-consumed meat per capita in the U.S., with chicken in the lead. However, IBISWorld also noted that per capita, U.S. beef consumption has declined during the past five years.

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But Gold's half beef, half chicken burgers continue to get gobbled up. The products landed on the shelves of major supermarkets like Fairway, ShopRite, Hannaford and Kings, plus the start-up also sells via its own website. The burgers retail for $7.99 to $8.99 for a one-pound box of four, 4-ounce burgers. The founder said Cluck 'n Moo sold close to 78,000 individual burgers last summer.

Although the start-up is not yet profitable, Gold said the company hit $100,000 in monthly sales during the peak of barbecue season from May through September 2014.

Self-funded with a total of $550,000, Cluck 'n Moo is headquartered in West Nyack, New York. The start-up officially launched in March 2014 and plans to roll out turkey burgers called "Gobble 'n Moo" in early 2015. Gold anticipates cooking up halal and kosher versions of his products in the near future.

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