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The Story Behind Chomps 

By Addie Martanovic on Jun 22, 2022

Tags: Chomps

Chomps was started in 2012 by founders, Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali. With a dream to make the healthiest, on-the-go protein snacks that don’t compromise on taste, Pete pitched the idea to Rashid after they met at a poker-game in Chicago one night.

Chomps isn’t your average beef jerky company. As a minority, family-owned and operated healthy meat snack brand, Chomps is made from the highest-quality, sustainably sourced proteins with no hidden, harmful ingredients. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and fuel our community with accessible, sustainable, real food that doesn't compromise on taste.

All Chomps meat sticks are made from grass-fed and finished beef and venison and antibiotic-free turkey, creating a high-quality flavor profile.. We never use added sugar, wheat, soy, dairy, artificial preservatives or colors, MSG, fillers, binders or artificial nitrates or nitrites. To learn more about our sourcing for our turkey, venison and beef sticks, read about “The Story Behind Our Sourcing Practices”.

When Pete and Rashid came together, they made a commitment to bootstrap the business in its early stages, without relying on outside capital, giving them the freedom to make every decision with the customer in mind. Surprisingly, both Pete and Rashid come from very different backgrounds.

Chomps Co-founders Rashid Ali and Pete Maldonado

The Story Behind the CEO: Meet Pete Maldonado

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Pete traveled to Florida to attend school at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and later to St. Joseph’s College to pursue business management. A natural entrepreneur, he spent the majority of his twenties, during and after college, as a Personal Trainer carefully studying product labels, nutrition facts and ingredients lists to build custom meal plans for his clients.

It was through this experience that he learned how to properly utilize food, with a focus on caloric intake and macronutrients, to create flexible, long-term lifestyle changes. He educated his clients on the importance of organic and non-GMO foods and the unnecessary chemicals that could and should be avoided in one’s diet.

Busy with work and always on-the-go, Maldonado was on the hunt for healthy snacks that were truly “clean”, high in protein, low in calories, and didn’t sacrifice quality for taste. Upon realizing that options were limited and identifying a market need, he was determined to develop his own better-for-you meat snack alternative.

Maldonado currently resides in Naples, Florida where he met his wife and had two children. At the Chomps Florida headquarters, Maldonado spearheads the sales and marketing divisions, assisting his team in trendspotting and scouring the market for future growth opportunities. Maldonado’s strengths include ingenuity, public speaking and big-picture thinking.

The Story Behind the COO: Meet Rashid Ali

Rashid Ali was born in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Iowa State University, College of Business. Diligent and disciplined throughout his college career, he went straight to work for a law firm after graduation where he studied for the LSAT exam and applied for law schools. Ultimately, realizing his interests leaned largely into analytics and numbers, he decided to pivot and pursue a more entrepreneurial path.

Prior to founding Chomps, Rashid worked as an operations consultant for more than 10 years at a variety of companies throughout the Chicago area. In doing so, he faced challenging business problems, dug into the numbers and details, and came up with ways to drive value for his clients. Having worked in numerous industries, he gained valuable insight that he is able to utilize today in his position with Chomps.

Ali was intrigued in treating Chomps as a case study to prove that despite contrary stigma, it is possible to be an entrepreneur and build something to success without need of a business degree.

Ali currently resides in Chicago where he lives with his wife and two children. At the Chomps headquarters, Ali leads all aspects of finance and operations. Ali’s strengths include strategy and data analysis, critical thinking and crisis communication, and problem solving, among others.

How Pete and Rashid continue to thrive

How Pete and Rashid Continue To Thrive

After meeting, Pete and Rashid knew that their coupled knowledge in finance and operations (Rashid) and creativity and entrepreneurial spirit (Pete) would be the perfect match. If Chomps was a truck, Pete would be the one with his foot on the gas, while Rashid would be steering. Together, their two-man team kicked off selling meat sticks direct-to-consumer through Facebook ads out of Pete’s spare apartment bedroom, and were profitable after 30 days and now, 10 years later, Chomps is one of the fastest growing, best meat snacks brands in the country, and the fastest growing natural meat stick brand on the market.