Bullion has come a long way since your grandmother added it to her soups or your dad (or let's say my dad at least) sipped it piping hot from a thermos, to stay warm in a frigid stadium while watching long, losing football games. Today the new bouillon brand BOU is the modern plant-based cook's secret weapon for adding flavor and nutrients to any meal.

Think of BOU as your kitchen hack that helps you make any meal into a feast since sometimes the only thing you can think to add to your veggies is salt. But now you can choose from a lineup of flavor-filled cubes to throw into the pan with some water for any time you want to add flavor to a dish or meal, pump up the micro-nutrients and transform an "eh" soup into a "wow" supper.


"Part of what we are doing is educating consumers," said BOU founder and former Barclay's Bank analyst Robert Jakobi, who started the company because he and a partner saw a need for an updated version of the classic bouillon flavor cubes. His previous endeavor was a successful venture, Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn, a London-based company that grew 200 percent in revenue from 2011 to 2014. Jakobi and co-founder Julian Metcalfe sold the company to Kettle Chips and it is now owned by Campbell's. He and his partner Kunal Kohli decided to launch a healthier version of traditional bouillon in 2017 and closed a round of financing in 2018 of just under $5 million, betting on the promise of healthier cubes with "no artificial ingredients" to appeal to a generation of health-minded eaters to drive sales.

BOU is a new kind of food company, offering flavor with benefits

The latest entry into the healthy plant-leaning food sector–that has seen 23 percent of Americans choosing to eat more plant-based foods for their health and the planet–BOU cubes are marketed to anyone who wants to cook healthy meals full of flavor and healthy nutrients, but without all the bad stuff. Choose their plant-based options like their real mushroom gravy cubes, or the Indian curry spice cubes, or roasted garlic flavor cubes, or vegetable broth cubes. Keep them on hand for when you need to win at dinner, and be the hero in the kitchen.

You can find these little plastic-jarred wonders on the shelves at most major retailers, from Whole Foods to Wegmans, Krogers to Stop & Shop, nestled next to the traditional bouillon cubes that contain animal products like chicken or beef. But skip those since these have all the flavor and no artificial ingredients. You're getting a caloric bargain for the taste, since most  BOU cubes only contain less than 20 calories, slim to no fat, and deliver micronutrients like folic acid (in the mushroom gravy cubes) and calcium and potassium (in the roasted garlic and Indian curry cubes) and just the right amount of sodium to make vegetable-based meals taste like a delectable, savory feast.

Bouillon has come a long way, baby

Boullion started during the latter half of the 18th century when, like all things innovative, there was a shortage of meat and nutritious ingredients to feed soldiers. Count Rumford (1753-1814) an American born physicist, invented and mass-produced a fully nutritious, solidified stock of bones, meat by-products, and other inexpensive yet flavorful ingredients to feed to the Duke’s army. This is what eventually became the bouillon cube, popular for generations.

Bouillon, from the French word to boil, was added to soups to make them taste better, and then expanded from beef to chicken stock, to keep easy stock on hand for seasoning soup and stews. Today, they are still used this way, but now you can find bouillon for every type of chef-- meat-eating and vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian--that is designed to make it easier than ever to spice up dinner and bring your stews, soups, pasta, rice stir-fries and burgers to next level tasty.

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