Locally Made: No Evil Foods
By Maggie Cramer
Sadrah Schadel and Mike Wolianksy are on a lofty mission: get people to pick plant-based proteins over animal ones—for their own health and the planet’s. But the Asheville couple knows it’s a difficult task, so they haven’t set out on their work armed with boring beans or much-maligned tofu. Instead, they’ve developed a line of plant meats, called No Evil Foods, with products they say are so similar to the real deal that meat-eaters don’t feel like they’re sacrificing a thing.
“We want to take animals out of the equation,” Sadrah shares. “If we can hit the mark on flavor, texture, aroma, and experience and then add in education about environmental sustainability, health benefits, and animal welfare, we’re getting to a point where it’s a no-brainer to choose plants.”
They take all of the sensory elements involved in eating into account when producing their recipes, elements the duo knows firsthand many meat alternative brands overlook.
“No Evil grew out of a desire to have a better product at home,” says Mike. “We weren’t necessarily happy with the quality of some of the products in the store—whether it be the types of ingredients used or the mere texture or flavor.”
So a couple of years ago, Sadrah, a longtime vegetarian, started experimenting. She scoured meat making message boards for authentic tips and tricks, and solicited feedback on her creations from carnivorous friends and family. It wasn’t long before she’d made the products she and Mike wanted to eat and, in turn, wanted to share with others. And in 2014, a business was born.
Their three flagship meats—The Prepper (chicken), The Stallion (Italian sausage), and El Zapatista (chorizo)—are vegan and made with organic, non-GMO ingredients. Wheat protein is the star; nothing hydrolyzed. “We’re trying to make it as minimally processed as possible,” Sadrah stresses, adding, “I’m a home cook, not a food scientist. So what matters to me as a home cook is simply does it taste good?”
Word is, their products do taste good—really good. They recall a now-vegetarian customer writing to say how thankful he is the Stallion lets him have his grandma’s Italian sausage again. Letters have come from a meat-eating husband in Florida who tried one of their products with his vegetarian wife, expressing amazement at how much he loved it and how happy he is they can finally enjoy a meal together.
In the future, all of No Evil Food’s expanding fan base will have more products to try. After completing Mountain BizWorks’ ScaleUp WNC business growth program earlier this year, No Evil Foods is poised to introduce everything, from pepperoni to jerky, with the goal of meeting their grand mission on the plate while continuing to make an impact around the table.
“It’s wonderful to be able to help families come together,” says Mike. Sadrah echoes, “We’re a big food family, and where we come together and spend the most time is in our kitchen. It’s powerful for us to be able to provide that for others.”
To learn more about No Evil Foods, including the WNC restaurants serving and stores selling their products, visit noevilfoods.com. Maggie Cramer is a local writer, editor, and communications specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.