Interview with David Lee, owner of Field Roast

As many vegetarians are thinking about what to cook for their Thanksgiving Dinner at this time of year, we asked David Lee, owner of Field Roast, to give us some insight into how he started and developed Field Roast, the company famous for its all-vegetarian deli slices, sausages, meatloaf and celebration roast products.

When and why did you found Field Roast? What was your vision for the company?

It was in 1996 that I founded Field Roast.  I wanted to make a living that also supported compassion and peace, so I decided to make a product good enough go up against animal meat, something that was fully flavored.  I wanted to make it less of a leap to eat vegetarian.

How is Field Roast different from other meat-substitute products?

 We use fresh vegetables, grains, and bold spices to create our products, and use the simple tenets of good cooking that anyone uses in their home cooking.  We are taking a unique approach to the veggie meat category – real not fake.  We aren’t trying to imitate the sinew and flavor of animal meats.

How has Field Roast grown over the years? Where are you now?

We’ve grown organically, we’ve allowed the market to invite us in, and have continued to grow with the market.  In 2006 we had 11 employees; now, in 2012 we have 55.  It’s pretty exciting.

What’s your vision for the future? Are you optimistic about the future of Field Roast in particular and vegetarianism in general?

We are very optimistic.  The vegetarian and vegan market/customer base is growing and deepening.  We are seeing crossover customers as many people eat a more plant-based diet.  We are happy to be a part of this shift in eating habits. It inspires our work of making food every day.