This Vegan Deli Meat Featured on Shark Tank is Coming to Costco

|Updated May 26, 2022
Instagram / @unrealdeli

So long, sad hummus sandwich! Unreal Deli is ensuring that your sandwich still feels complete with fully plant-based meat options. The vegan meat brand – financially backed by Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban – will begin rolling out its selection of impressive deli meats at Costco locations in Southern California and Hawaii.

Now, shoppers will have the ability to customize their favorite subs with corned beef, roasted turkey, and steak slices made from plants. Unreal Deli will initially distribute its selection at 40 locations in California and Hawaii before further expansion. The deli meats will be sold in 1.5-pound packs for $14.69 each. The package, which contains 8 ounces of each variation, will be sold at Costco’s deli meat section.

“It’s now going to be easier than ever to stay stocked up on delicious and nutritious deli slices to satisfy those Reuben, Cheesesteak, and Turkey Club cravings with our biggest and most Unreal Costco-sized combo pack,” Founder of Unreal Deli Jenny Goldfarb told VegNews.

To celebrate the retail expansion, Unreal Deli will host a pop-up at all 40 Costco locations. The deli meats will be available to customers with Vevan Foods' vegan cheeses. Costco will host these pop-ups on June 6, 10, and 11 to advertise the vegan brand’s launch. The Southern California and Hawaii locations will serve as a trial, and depending on how the bulk packs sell, Unreal Deli may expand into other regions.

“As a busy working parent of three adorable and energetic young kids, I know how hard it is to keep everyone fed with healthy, nutritious, and cruelty-free food,” Goldfarb said. “Whether your family includes kids, roommates, or fur babies, this expansion into Costco, with our brand new (and best value) family-size combo pack, is super exciting — we’re now making even bigger deli dreams come true.”

Unreal Deli is Bringing Plant-Based Sandwiches Nationwide

As a New York City native, Goldfarb desperately missed classic bodega deli counters when she transitioned to a plant-based diet. But instead of just reminiscing, Goldfarb decided to launch Unreal Deli to satisfy her craving. In 2019, Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli – known then as Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli – managed to secure a $250,000 investment from Mark Cuban. Since then, the food startup has expanded into the retail and restaurant sectors as the demand for vegan meat continues to rise.

Unreal Deli is expanding using the ghost kitchen model – a restaurant that operates out of a “virtual” kitchen for take-out and delivery service. Now, the vegan deli operates ghost kitchens in Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, and Raleigh. This April, the company partnered with ghost kitchen managing firm Acelerate to begin a rapid expansion across the United States. The ghost kitchen also features Only Plant-Based!’s vegan mayo and Violife’s vegan cheeses.

To add to its retail expansion, Unreal Deli teamed up with Vejii to optimize both companies’ eCommerce platforms. The partnership will allow Vejii to sell Unreal Deli meats directly to consumers (D2C). This distribution expansion will provide millions of Americans with access to healthier versions of their beloved deli meats.

"We are so excited to partner with Vejii to expand and streamline our D2C capabilities as Unreal continues to build its dominance in the premium plant-based deli category,”  Goldfarb. said. Vejii has already been a great partner, and we are excited to deepen our relationship.”

Costco Helps Make Vegan Eating Affordable

Unreal Deli joins a long list of companies working with Costco to make plant-based foods affordable to customers. Other companies including Violife and Field Roast have rolled out bulk packages of their signature products to bring plant-based options to American shoppers.

Costco’s bulk packaging also appeals to families, who for the most part shop on a budget. One report notes that vegan meat alternatives might reach price parity with conventional beef as soon as 2023. Fueled by consumer interest and retailers including Costco, the last remaining expensive vegan products are becoming cheaper. Otherwise, shoppers can save at least 30 percent on groceries by switching to a plant-based diet. Now, Unreal Deli is joining the ranks of companies working to make it even cheaper to follow a healthier, sustainable diet.

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Top 10 Sources of Plant-Based Protein According to a Nutritionist

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1. Seitan

Protein: 21 grams in ⅓ cup (1 ounce) Seitan isn’t as popular as other proteins, but it should be! Made from wheat gluten, its texture resembles ground meat. It’s often used in pre-made veggie burgers or meatless nuggets. Seitan has a savory taste, like mushrooms or chicken, so it works well in dishes that call for an umami flavor. With a hearty texture, seitan can be the star of practically any vegan main dish. Add it to stir-fries, sandwiches, burritos, burgers, or stews. Like tofu, seitan will take on the flavor of any marinade or sauce.


2. Tempeh

Protein: 16 grams in 3 ounces If you like a protein with a bit of bite, add tempeh to your list. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh has a slightly nutty flavor and is pressed into a block. Most varieties include some sort of grains, such as barley or millet. Not only is tempeh a plant-based source of protein, but the fermentation process also creates good-for-your-gut probiotics. You can cut tempeh right off the block and use it as the base for a sandwich or pan-fry it with some sauce. Or, crumble, heat, and make it the star of your next taco night.

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3. Lentils

Protein: 13 grams in ½ cup cooked Lentils come in multiple varieties--red, yellow, green, brown, black. Regardless of the type lentils are small but mighty nutritional powerhouses. They pack a good amount of protein as well as iron, folate, and fiber. When cooked, brown lentils retain their texture and can be the base for a grain bowl or make a hearty substitute for ground meat in meatballs, lasagna, tacos or Bolognese. Red lentils are a bit softer and make a nice add-in for a hearty soup, chili, or stew.

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4. Hemp Seeds

Protein: 10 grams in 3 tablespoons Hemp seeds are a tender and nutty seed, derived from the hemp plant. They contain good amounts of omega-3s, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. They are also a solid source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to keep your digestive tract healthy and humming. Because they pack a double whammy of protein and healthy fats, hemp seeds can help satisfy hunger, preventing those embarrassing stomach growls as you slog your way to your lunch break. Add them to your morning smoothie or sprinkle them on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or even a salad.

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5. Tofu

Protein: 9 grams in 3 ounces (⅕ of a block) Made from coagulated soybeans, tofu is the most popular plant-based protein. Soy is one of the only meatless "complete" proteins, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body can’t make but needs for muscle and immune function. With 15% of your daily calcium needs, tofu is also a good replacement for dairy.

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6. Edamame

Protein: 9 grams of protein in ½ cup This sushi appetizer is a nutrient powerhouse, so eat it anytime. Edamame is really just another name for soybeans in their pods. Let’s list off some stats--a small ½-cup serving of edamame has 9 grams of protein, 15% of your daily vitamin C, 10% of your daily iron and 16% of your daily fiber. Keep a bag of edamame in your freezer to serve as a fun-to-eat side dish or opt for the shelled variety to toss into salads or a grain bowl.

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7. Quinoa

Protein: 8 grams per cup (cooked) Quinoa is an ancient grain and since it's gluten-free a great choice for anyone avoiding gluten. Add it to your burger recipe to create filling texture, or instead of meat in your taco or burrito. Quinoa is among the healthiest foods on the planet, delivering phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory qualities, so keep it in your pantry for any meal that needs a filling grain. Just remember to soak it and rinse before cooking to get rid of any bitter taste.

8. Black Beans

Protein: 7 grams in ½ cup (canned) Eating beans on the regular might as well be a prerequisite for a plant-based diet. Not only are canned black beans inexpensive, but they also contribute 10% of your daily iron and 25% of your daily fiber to your diet. For less than $1 a can, beans can be the star of tacos, quesadillas, salads, soups, burgers, or dips.


9. Amaranth

Protein: 6 grams in ⅔ cup (cooked) Chances are you’ve never cooked amaranth. But you should, since this tiny, gluten- free grain is packed with almost 30% of your daily fiber and 20% of your daily iron. Cook it like a traditional grain to yield a soft, porridge-like texture. Many people add amaranth to other a hot breakfast cereal mixture, like oats and quinoa. It also pops like popcorn. Toss it in a pot with some oil and wait for it to pop up into a nutritious snack.

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10. Peas

Protein: 5 grams in ⅔ cup If peas were one of your most hated veggies as a kid, it’s time to give them another chance. These green beans are a great low-calorie protein to keep in your freezer. Sure, they don’t always taste great when steamed or microwaved (who wants to eat mushy, overcooked peas?), but they do blend well into a yummy puree that can be slathered on toast. To amp up the flavor, add some lemon juice or mint to your mix before you blend.