Bentonville company lands Sam’s Club deal

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 12,087 views 

Jeff Ferrell and Benn Manning co-founded Counter, a content creator-led frozen foods brand.

Bentonville-based Counter looks to turn viral videos of recipes into foods one can buy online or in-store. The content creator-led frozen foods brand recently launched a website and landed a deal to sell its products at Sam’s Club after raising $1.2 million in a seed round that was completed in December 2021.

The company’s recipes were produced by social media influencers and adapted into 16 products. It works with manufacturers to produce the high-protein, low-calorie foods, including protein tortillas, chicken bites, burritos, bowls and protein waffles. The tortillas will soon be available on its website, eatcounter.com.

Jeff Ferrell, co-founder and CEO of Counter, said its taco mac and cheese will be sold at Sam’s Club starting in June. It’ll be available in 400 stores, or about two-thirds of Sam’s Club stores nationwide.

Ferrell and chief operating officer Benn Manning co-founded Counter in July 2021. Ferrell joined the company full-time in December 2021 and previously worked for Sam’s Club and Walmart. Manning also previously worked for Walmart.

Before Counter was established, Ferrell said he struggled to find ready-to-eat meals that would help him hit the macronutrient targets for his nutrition plan. He found the meals online, but they were expensive.

His solution was to use recipes already made popular by social media influencers and create frozen foods sold by retailers “at a more affordable price point.”

“Up to this point, this style of eating primarily lived online on social media platforms from content creators both on TikTok and Instagram who create short-form content videos of these recipes — very quick, 30-second clips with the recipes posted in the caption,” said Ferrell, noting that the videos have more than 15 million views and thousands of comments. “There’s zero representation of that in retail.”

Top investors include existing or former executives of high-protein food companies, such as Utah-based Built Bar and Kodiak Cakes along with Walmart and other industry execs. Counter’s 24 social media creators also are investors.