Taste Radio

BevNET.com

BevNET’s Taste Radio podcast explores beverage, food and beer with the industries’ leaders, innovators and rising stars. The Taste Radio audience is filled with fledgling and established brands. They hear stories from founders and pros taking products from dream to shelf with emphasis on actionable tips and inspiration stemming from success and

All Episodes

How does the entrepreneur of an upstart food brand gain over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn in less than 18 months? In a word: positivity. Mark Samuel is the founder and CEO of IWON Organics, a brand of protein-infused snacks, that include puffs and crispy sticks. A serial entrepreneur, Samuel founded several businesses in the fitness and finance industries prior to launching IWON in 2016. The brand is sold in nearly 5,000 locations nationwide, including at Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts and Whole Foods stores. Company revenue grew by 300% from 2018 to 2019 and while the pandemic has impacted growth in 2020, IWON has continued to expand its retail and distribution footprint over the past year.  Samuel has chronicled the company’s wins, losses, opportunities and challenges via LinkedIn, where he has amassed over 20,000 followers. Through his upbeat and motivational posts, Samuel has become an influential voice within the food and beverage community and, in the process, expanded awareness of IWON to industry gatekeepers and amplified its message as a differentiated brand within a crowded protein snack space.  In an interview included in this episode, Samuel spoke about his experience building IWON, what he defines as the brand’s “why” and how he effectively engages with his followers on LinkedIn. He also explained how he incorporates both confidence and vulnerability into his social content and why patience is a virtue, especially after hearing the word “no.”  Show notes:  0:35: Supercharge Your Life, Then Chill -- The episode’s hosts discussed BevNET/NOSH’s upcoming Supercharge D2C event, which is taking place on Sept. 29 and will help entrepreneurs and executives develop, refine and energize their approach to the direct to consumer channel. They also congratulated Ted Fleming and his team at non-alcoholic beer company Partake Brewing which raised $4 million in a Series A led by CircleUp, PepsiCo’s launch of relaxation drink brand Driftwell and how it fits into an emerging set of “Relaxation 2.0” beverages and also shared valuable updates to our Brand Spotlight platform. 15:21 Interview: Mark Samuel, Founder & CEO, IWON Organics -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Samuel who spoke about managing home, work and family life, including the challenges of raising children as a single parent and Zoom learning. Samuel also discussed how his experience working at a hotel enhanced his salesmanship, the influences that shaped his decision to start a food company and the steepest part of the learning curve in launching a packaged brand. Later, he explained why a commitment to consistent and useful content helped him build his LinkedIn following, why he doesn’t shy away from stories about failure in his feed and why posts about mental health and reducing alcohol consumption have been among his most popular. Brands in this episode: Partake Brewing, Driftwell, Dream Water, Recess, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Moment, Droplet, Kokomio, Vive Organic, Sunscoop, Granny Squibb, Karma Water

Sep 18

57 min

CJ Rapp knows a thing or two about being ahead of the curve. A beverage industry veteran who launched his first brand in 1985, Rapp has created several disruptive drink concepts that, while possibly slightly too novel for their time, were predecessors to mainstay categories today. That list includes Jolt Cola, a highly caffeinated soda brand that became a cult hit among software coders and third-shift workers and was a forerunner to the energy drink category. While Jolt, along with some  of Rapp’s other inventions like DNA, an alcohol-spiked spring water, have been discontinued, his latest project, Karma Water, is thriving. Launched in 2011, Karma is a brand of immune-boosting wellness beverages that feature a patented push cap which keeps flavor and functional ingredients separate from the liquid until the point of consumption. Although Karma Water was not the first of its kind, Rapp has drawn upon his decades of experience to build a brand that has outlasted similarly positioned and better capitalized competitors, developed a broad retail footprint and landed a key strategic partner in beverage alcohol giant Constellation Brands.  In an interview included in this episode, Rapp spoke about cutting his teeth in the industry and how lessons learned from his days building Jolt have supported the development of Karma, including the critical importance of distribution partners. He also explained why he defines himself as a “marketer,” and what he believes to be the guiding path for any entrepreneur. Show notes:  0:41: Interview: CJ Rapp, Founder & CEO, Karma Water -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif opened the conversation with Rapp with a discussion about the entrepreneur’s background growing up in upstate New York and how his exposure to the beverage industry at a young age drove his interest in brand building. Rapp also spoke about how Jolt Cola was conceived, the innovative distribution strategy that paved the way for other independent drink brands and the key lesson learned from launching several ahead-of-their-time beverages. Later, Rapp discussed how Karma was influenced by the success of Vitaminwater and how the company sought to create a more efficacious beverage than existing functional products, as well as its measured approach to growth and raising capital, why consumer education has been a consistent challenge and how he attempts to find a balance between work and family life. Brands in this episode: Karma Water, Jolt Cola, Red Bull, Corona Extra, Vitaminwater

Sep 15

44 min

In this episode, we sat down with Dave Colina, the founder and CEO of O2, a brand of natural sports recovery drinks formulated with oxygenated water and electrolytes. Launched in 2014, O2 took a patient growth strategy during its first few years on the market. In recent months, however, O2 has generated record revenue via direct-to-consumer sales along with those at retail partners, including Kroger, Sprouts and Publix. Those sales have helped fuel the brand’s philanthropic initiative to donate 50% of profits to independent gym owners affected by COVID-19. As part of our conversation, Colina explained how O2’s strategic decisions over the past five years have helped the company to meet the challenges and opportunities of the last five months, including how he overcame formulation issues while continuing to incubate the brand and why he was adamant in his support of gym owners despite a steep cut into the brand’s profits. He also explained why he is supremely confident in the ability of his team to plan and execute during unpredictable times and why he believes that entrepreneurship is as much about personal growth as building a successful brand. Show notes:  0:41: We Get A Closeup On Coffee, Co-Ops And Cookie Dough -- The hosts opened the episode with a note about a new mailing address for BevNET HQ -- 65 Chapel St. Newton, MA 02458 -- and discuss the inaugural episodes of our new Category Closeup and Product Showcase video series, which focused on ready-to-drink coffee. They also discussed notable brands they encountered over Labor Day weekend, and how brands attempt to strike a balance between healthy, tasty and approachable. 18:23: Interview: Dave Colina, Founder/CEO, O2 -- Colina spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about why he left a promising career in the corporate world to become a beverage entrepreneur, why he partnered with a physician to develop the brand and how the first the first batch of O2 was made in a fish tank. He also discussed how the company’s motto of “Honesty, Humility, Hustle” has guided the team throughout prior to and during the pandemic, why he has never questioned his decision to launch O2 and why the company has been so successful in converting consumer trial into repeat purchases. Brands in this episode: O2, Montauk Tea, Vitaminwater, Vita Coco, Essentia Water, Bitter Love, Sir Kensignton’s, Hella Cocktail, Moxie, Pure Batch, Sunscoop, Peatos, Cheetos

Sep 11

55 min

A few months before launching Stacy’s Pita Chips, co-founder Stacy Madison was struggling to find quarters to pay for her laundry. That became less of an issue a few years later, when she sold her company to PepsiCo for a reported $250 million.  A social worker by training, Stacy founded Stacy’s Pita Chips with ex-husband Marc Andrus in 1997. By the time the brand was acquired in 2006, its products were distributed nationally and generating $65 million in annual revenue. In an interview included in this episode, Madison explained that the story of how her namesake chips became a grocery staple has little to do with a sophisticated business strategy and was instead driven by a determination to never again scrounge for laundry quarters.  Within our conversation, she shared essential lessons learned from building her company, including those that she’s applying to her latest venture, BeBold, a brand of nut-based refrigerated energy bars, and as an advisor for Stacy’s Rise Project, a grant and mentorship program focused on supporting early-stage female entrepreneurs. Madison discussed her thoughts on the definition of success, why she credits having a “nothing to lose” attitude as key during her early days as an entrepreneur, what she views as the most significant mistake in building Stacy’s Pita Chips and the altruistic reason that she decided to get back into the packaged food industry. Show notes:  0:37: Interview: Stacy Madison, Founder, Stacy’s Pita Chips/BeBold -- Madison sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive interview that began with a discussion about an important morning routine and how she defines success. She also discussed how timing and opportunity factored into her decision to launch thefood cart in Boston that spurred the creation of her pita chip brand, how a lack of personal obligations factors into her company’s growth and when it’s critical to chase down unexpected opportunities. Later, Madison discussed her investment philosophy and why she believes that “sometimes people with big business plans get in the way of themselves,” why in-house production provided Stacy’s Pita Chips with a competitive advantage over other snack brands and why she regrets not hiring in critical roles earlier into the company’s growth She also spoke about the launch and development of BeBold and how she perceives the bars as improving upon existing products in the space and how she advises and mentors participants in Stacy’s Rise Project. Brands in this episode: Stacy’s Pita Chips, BeBold, Chobani, Kind Snacks

Sep 1

46 min

In this week’s episode, we’re joined by Breezy Griffith, co-founder and CEO of SkinnyDipped, a Seattle-based brand of almonds and cashews that are coated with a thin layer of chocolate or yogurt. Launched in 2013, SkinnyDipped is one of the fastest growing food and beverage companies in America; according to Inc magazine’s annual Inc 5000 list, SkinnyDipped’s revenue has grown by 1,550% over the past three years. To keep up with surging demand, the company raised over $10 million in new funding in July which included an investment from pop music star Shakira. As part of our conversation, Griffith spoke about her background as an entrepreneur and how her experience building businesses post-college fueled the launch and development of SkinnyDipped. She also spoke about why persistence was critical to landing the brand’s first retail accounts, how guts and guile got the products into the office pantries of Google and Microsoft, how she orchestrated national distribution of the brand at Target and why she’s turned to an industry veteran to manage day-to-day operations. Show notes:  0:34: We Have So Much For You To See -- The episode opened with a chat about how actor and comedian Craig Ferguson has influenced Ray’s hosting style and a new and incredibly useful calendar that highlights recent and upcoming video content published by BevNET and NOSH. The hosts also discussed tips on how to apply for and land placement in strategic incubators and accelerator programs and how food and beverage brands are supporting “deprived” NYU students. 12:23: Interview: Breezy Griffith, Co-Founder/CEO, SkinnyDipped -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Griffith, who discussed the origins of her unique first name, how selling polished rocks as a child and meal kits in NYC paved the way for a career in entrepreneurship and why she decided to go into business with her mother and two friends to launch SkinnyDipped. She also spoke about what literally cornering a grocery store owner taught her about sales, shared a remarkable story about how SkinnyDipped made its way into the offices of two top tech companies and how she built a lasting partnership with a key buyer at Target. Later, she explained the role that CAVU co-founder and SkinnyDipped investor Rohan Oza has had on the brand’s development and why shedding her role as president of the company has paid significant dividends. Brands in this episode: Nadi, Dabbly, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Spudsy, SkinnyDipped, Tiesta Tea

Aug 28

49 min

During our interview with Dadz co-founders Max Greenfield and Mike Constantiner, each bore the classic signs of dad fatigue: three-day facial scruff, baseball caps pulled over weary eyes and a slightly dazed demeanor.  Managing the day-to-day strains of fatherhood is the reason that Greenfield, an actor known for his roles in the television series “New Girl” and “The Neighborhood,” and Constantiner, a veteran CPG entrepreneur, launched Dadz, a platform company focused on benefiting the lives of modern dads via performance supplements, personal care products and lifestyle tips. Debuted in June, Dadz’ first product is a plant-based and natural energy supplement powder called the Lightning Stick, which promotes optimized mental clarity and focus and is sold direct-to-consumer. The company also formed a strategic partnership with Life of Dad, a popular social platform and online community for dads.  Within our interview, Greenfield and Constantiner spoke about the origins of Dadz and their respective roles in the company, how the brand is resonating with target consumers amid the pandemic and how they are addressing skepticism about the need for a dad-focused brand. Show notes:  0:43: Interview: Max Greenfield and Mike Constantiner, Co-Founders, Dadz -- Greenfield and Constantiner spoke with NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg about how they commercialized the concept for Dadz, why they chose to launch a better-for-you energy drink as the brand’s first product and how they’re attempting to reach a “new generation of dads.” They also discussed the importance of a strong founding team and why it offers a “shortcut” to a fast start, why Constantiner views Greenfield as “the epitome of the modern dad,” lessons from a failed startup, the challenges of launching a DTC  brand and how they are integrating social media into the brand’s marketing plan. Later, they shared takeaways from Dadz’ first few weeks on the market, how the brand is being communicated to the trade and consumer press and the long-term goal for the company. Brands in this episode: Dadz

Aug 18

27 min

This week, we’re joined by Hannah Crum, the co-founder and president of Kombucha Brewers International (KBI), a trade association whose stated mission is to promote and protect commercial kombucha brewers around the world. For over a decade, Crum, who’s also the founder of homebrew education platform Kombucha Kamp, has been one of the most influential figures in the development of the kombucha industry. A respected voice among her colleagues, Crum’s work has supported the creation of educational initiatives and production standards that have shaped the modern kombucha category.  As part of our conversation, Crum discussed how her passion for kombucha spurred the creation of KBI, how she manages a membership group comprised of “frenemies,” the recent launch of a Code of Practice for brewing kombucha and why she believes it’s important to support the category’s evolution despite the misgivings of some within the space. Show notes:  0:35: We Have A New Mailing Address. Plus, A Camping Hack That Will Change Your Life. -- The episode’s hosts chatted about BevNET HQ’s move down the road to Newton, Mass. (note our new address: BevNET/NOSH 65 Chapel Street, Newton MA 02458), how an unlikely cuisine provided the perfect camping food for brand specialist Melissa Traverse and her family and the potential career of a “condiment magician.” They also discussed news about the sale of a prominent PR firm, how our Brand Spotlight platform provides a critical conduit to industry gatekeepers and professionals amid the pandemic and congratulated an upstart sparkling water brand that recently completed a $1.3 million funding round. 17:11: Interview: Hannah Crum, Co-Founder/President, Kombucha Brewers International (KBI) -- Crum spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how her background in acting and love for fermented foods provided a useful foundation for the establishment of KBI, how she worked with kombucha entrepreneurs to address a category crisis in 2010 and how she sourced guidance and feedback on KBI’s code of practice. She also discussed the impact of new kombucha-based and shelf-stable products on expanding awareness and sales for the category and shared her thoughts on the increasing influence of strategic beverage companies getting involved in the space. Brands in this episode: Brooklyn Delhi, Maya Kaimal, Coconut Bliss, Sir Kensigton’s, Lupii, Moodygirl Chocolate, Sanzo, Dona, Kombucha Kamp

Aug 14

55 min

You might recognize Tony’s Chocolonely by its quirky labels and comic font logo. Behind the Dutch brand’s playful vibe, however, is a profound mission to end the use of child labor within the cocoa industry. Founded in 2005, Tony’s has emerged as a popular international chocolate brand sold throughout Europe and the United States. Led by its purpose-driven strategy, the company is grounded in fair-trade business practices, deep relationships with its sourcing partners and measurable goals for social impact. In an interview included in this episode, Ynzo van Zanten, Tony’s Chief Evangelist, spoke about how the company has navigated the development of a premium brand while staying focused on its overarching social mission, how to build a purpose-driven team and how to attract investors when “money is not a goal.” Show notes:  0:40: Interview: Ynzo van Zanten, Chief Evangelist, Tony’s Chocolonely -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with van Zanten about the genesis of Tony’s, how his work experience led him to the company and why he believes that being financially successful and socially responsible should not be viewed as “two opposite ends of the spectrum.” He also discussed how Tony’s promotes its mission on packaging versus through digital content, how consumers rank the brand’s attributes and how the company evaluates margin and profitability when pricing its products. Later, he explained how the company measures social impact via a proprietary system, how Tony’s won over private equity firms Verlinvest and Jam Jar, the strategy for expanding retail placement and distribution internationally and how other CPG companies can support the brand’s mission. Brands in this episode: Tony’s Chocolonely, Patagonia

Aug 4

31 min

In this episode, we sat down with Simon Sacal, the founder and CEO of innovative food platform Solely. Known for its unique fruit jerky strips, which are sold at Whole Foods locations nationwide, Solely launched in 2018 with the mission to rethink how food is developed, grown, sourced, processed and sold. The brand has invested heavily in agriculture and food technologies to create nutrient dense and differentiated products, including a recently debuted line of spaghetti squash, that appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers.  In an interview included in this episode, Sacal spoke about his background as a food entrepreneur beginning as a teenager and how his career culminated in the development of Solely. He also explained why the company’s strategy and focus is “exactly the opposite of the easy way,” and why Solely doesn't launch a product unless it identifies “a huge advantage” over a competitor. Show notes:  0:22: It’s High Time We Discuss This Subject... And Blueberry Drizzled Popcorn. -- The show opens with a chat about how Jon Landis is managing life without live Phish concerts, Ray’s love for a new line of sweet and savory popcorn and why BevNET’s Brand Spotlight is an attractive and affordable option for developing companies. The hosts also discussed Beth Kaiserman’s article about how the industry can work together to address inconsistencies in how CBD-infused food and beverage products are measured and labeled. 18:59: Interview: Simon Sacal, Founder/CEO, Solely -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Sacal about why Solely’s home market of San Diego has become a hub for innovative food concepts, his foray into food entrepreneurship with the launch of a fat-free potato chip brand and what he learned from the experience and the mission and focus of his family’s company, Fruitex. He also discussed why the term “food technology” is often misunderstood and what it means to Solely, what inspired the idea for a fruit jerky snack and how he negotiated a nationwide deal with Whole Foods. Later, he explained his vision for creating a broad portfolio of indulgent, clean label and affordable products and how the company identifies and works with investors that align with its long-term strategy. Brands in this episode: The Safe + Fair Company, Vive Organic, DEFY, Solely

Jul 31

50 min

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, inventions are created by mothers who identified an unmet necessity. That was the case with Bitsy’s, a brand of organic, vegetable-infused kids' snacks, including cookies and crackers. Launched in 2012 by social entrepreneurs Maggie Patton and Alex Buckley, the company’s mission is to make healthy and nutritious snacks accessible and affordable to all families. In May, Bitsy’s announced that actress Gabrielle Union, who has long been an admirer and customer of the brand, had joined the company as a co-founder and taken an active role in sales, marketing and product development.  In the following interview, Union, Patton and Buckley spoke about the history and evolution of the brand, which recently picked up placement at 1,600 CVS stores nationwide. As part of their conversation, they discussed Gabrielle’s interest in joining the company and alignment with Maggie and Alex, how they communicate the brand’s healthy halo to kids and parents, why asking for help has to be a priority for entrepreneurs and how the food industry can work together to mainstream healthy food for kids. Show notes:  0:40: Interview: Gabrielle Union, Maggie Patton and Alex Buckley, Co-Founders, Bitsy’s — NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg spoke with Union, Patton and Buckley about how their respective backgrounds led to the creation and development of Bitsy’s, why they are wary of demonizing vegetables in how they promote the products and how they speak to consumers via the brand’s packaging. They also discussed how Patton and Buckley’s past work in the non-profit sector led them to Union, why they emphasize making the brand accessible and affordable in mainstream retailers and why leading with transparency and humility is critical to winning support for their vision. Later, they explained Bitsy’s channel strategy, getting retail buyers on their side and how Union is leveraging her massive social media following to build awareness for the brand. Brands in this episode: Bitsy’s

Jul 21

38 min

This week, we’re joined by Greg Fleishman, the co-founder and CEO of clean label baking mix and snack company Foodstirs. A veteran marketing executive with over two decades of experience working with startup brands, including Kashi, Suja and Sambazon, Fleishman is no stranger to the constant challenges that are common to entrepreneurial companies. And he believes that it’s the daily ebbs and flows of running a business that provide entrepreneurs with the capabilities to navigate the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis. As part of our conversation, Fleishman discussed how he’s applied lessons learned from his career into Foodstirs, which, like many companies, had to rethink its business strategy and adapt to a new consumer environment within a matter of weeks. He also explained how to manage and enhance relationships with retail buyers, why it’s critical to leverage every resource at your disposal and why consumer communication is the one thing that keeps him up at night. Show notes:  0:38: Time To Step Into The “Spotlight.” Plus, Puffs, Protein and Pop. -- The episode opens with a discussion about a new feature on BevNET and NOSH called Brand Spotlight, a platform which showcases new, updated and emerging brands. The hosts also spoke about notable products encountered over the past week, including avocado-based puffs, a spirit-sounding plant-based protein bar, a new brand of probiotic sodas and a “special” aperitif. 12:09: Interview: Greg Fleishman, Co-Founder/CEO, Foodstirs -- Fleishman, who previously appeared in Taste Radio episodes 69 and 110, spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about why brands that serve a social purpose and mission are often more successful than others and shared a brief history of Foodstirs as a baking kit brand and the company’s decision to expand into ready-to-eat products. He also discussed how the Covid-19 crisis kickstarted a resurgence in home baking and why he believes it will continue for years to come, why he encourages entrepreneurs to “be a camel, not a unicorn” and the importance of collaborating with retail buyers when formulating an innovation strategy. Later, he explained why ambassadors are key to Foodstirs’ marketing initiatives and how he considers tone when crafting copy for social media and advertising campaigns. Brands in this episode: Mezcla, AvoCrazy, Culture Pop, Health-Ade, Olipop, Poppi, Aura Bora, Foodstirs, Annie’s

Jul 17

58 min

This special episode of Taste Radio features highlights from interviews with six entrepreneurs who joined us on Taste Radio during the first half of 2020. Our guests include Siete Family Foods co-founder and CEO Miguel Garza; Nick & Elyse Oleksak, the co-founders of Bantam Bagels; Miyoko’s founder and CEO Miyoko Schinner; Ben Van Leeuwen, the co-founder and CEO of Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream; Orgain founder and CEO Andrew Abraham; and Gail Becker, the founder and CEO of Caulipower. Show notes: 1:36: Interview: Miguel Garza, Co-Founder/CEO, Siete Family Foods -- We kicked off the show with Miguel Garza who we featured in Ep. 214. Miguel is the co-founder and CEO of fast-growing Mexican-American brand Siete Family Foods, which markets tortillas, taco seasonings, queso dips and enchilada sauces, all of which are plant-based and grain-free. In the following clip, Garza spoke about the importance of family in how the company operates, the hallmarks of its product development and innovation strategies, and why Siete avoids chasing trends. 7:51: Nick & Elyse Oleksek, Co-Founders, Bantam Bagels -- Next up are Nick & Elyse Oleksek, the co-founders of bagel and breakfast bite company Bantam Bagels. Launched as a retail concept in 2013, Bantam Bagels has since evolved into a sprawling platform brand that includes mini stuffed pancakes and egg bites that are sold at Safeway, Target and Costco and also in pastry cases at Starbucks. In this clip, from Ep. 208, the Olekseks explained why investing in PR has been crucial to the brand’s success and how they define the phrase “fake it till you make it.”  14:45: Miyoko Schinner, Founder/CEO, Miyoko’s -- Let’s continue with Miyoko Schinner, the founder and CEO of pioneering plant-based cheese and butter company Miyoko’s Creamery. In a clip from Ep. 198, she spoke about how poor leadership led to past failures and early struggles, and why she describes her business as “a mission with a company.” 18:56: Interview: Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder/CEO, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream -- Next, we featured Ben Van Leeuwen, the co-founder and CEO of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. Launched in 2008, the premium ice cream brand and retailer has evolved into a broad platform with 22 ice cream shops in New York and California and a wholesale pint business with more than 1,500 accounts across the U.S.  In a clip pulled from an interview included Ep. 203, Van Leeuwen discussed launching a business in the midst of a recession and why “running lean was just the default” when building the company. 24:11: Interview: Andrew Abraham, Founder/CEO, Orgain -- We continued with Andrew Abraham, the founder and CEO of protein-centric brand Orgain. Introduced as a first-to-market brand of organic protein beverages, Orgain has since grown into a thriving platform for protein drinks, powders and bars. In this clip, pulled from Ep. 197, Abraham discussed learning the ropes of the food and beverage industry, why entrepreneurs that are not well-capitalized from the outset might be in for a bumpy ride, how he convinced his family that, despite significant losses, the brand was on a positive trajectory and why he believes that “the best defense is a super aggressive offense.”  29:57: Interview: Gail Becker, Founder/CEO, Caulipower -- Last, but certainly not least, we have Gail Becker, the founder and CEO of Caulipower the vegetable-forward brand, best known for its gluten-free, cauliflower crust pizzas. Last year, after just three years on the market, the company generated an estimated $100 million. As part of an interview featured in Ep. 196, Becker discussed the value of taking risks, breaking traditional “rules” for packaging and retailing of a food brand and what she learned about the food business from working at her father’s store as a five-year-old. Brands in this episode: Siete Family Foods, Bantam Bagels, Starbucks, Miyoko’s, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Orgain, Caulipower

Jul 7

42 min

In this week’s episode, we sat down with Emily Kanter, co-owner and CEO of Boston-area natural products retailer Cambridge Naturals. A family-owned business that operates two stores focused on nutritional supplements, body care products and organic foods and beverages, Cambridge Naturals has cultivated a loyal customer base within the Boston area and has been recognized for its unique and constantly rotating product selection.  As part of our conversation, Kanter spoke about the history and evolution of the retailer and the factors that determine its selection. She also discussed how she develops relationships with brand owners and evaluates emerging trends and why Cambridge Naturals was one of the first area stores to carry CBD-infused products. Show notes:  0:38: Naturally, We Talked About Erewhon, Elevator Talk, Carlton and Odwalla -- The hosts chatted about their experiences shopping at Cambridge Naturals, encouraged entrepreneurs to continue sending news to BevNET and NOSH throughout the summer and also to apply for our Elevator Talk Livestream series. Later, they chatted about a star-making turn for actor Alfonso Ribeiro, Mike’s strange database of 80’s trivia and reflected on the recent decision by the Coca-Cola Co. to discontinue Odwalla. 11:48: Interview: Emily Kanter, Co-Owner/CEO, Cambridge Naturals -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Kanter about the recent reopening of Cambridge Naturals’ locations for in-store shopping, her decision to take the reins of her family’s business six years ago, why the retailer stopped selling groceries in the 1990’s and why it resumed a few years later. She also explained what she looks for in a brand’s backstory and what would make her less inclined to stock a new product, why Cambridge Naturals is consistently rotating its selection and why the company tries to be on “the cutting edge, but not bleeding edge” of emerging trends. Later, she expressed optimism that the FDA would provide concrete guidance about CBD-infused foods and beverages and how entrepreneurs interested in partnering with  the retailer can connect with her team. Brands in this episode: Odwalla, Pepsi, Califia Farms, Naked Juice, Patagonia, The Coconut Cult, GT’s Kombucha, Waku

Jul 3

45 min

We first featured  Jim, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, the brothers and co-founders of Kitu Life Super Coffee, on Taste Radio back in May 2018. At the time, their two-year-old brand, originally known as Sunniva Super Coffee, was on track to generate $3.5 million in annual revenue. In the 24 months since, the company has been on a torrid pace, having built a national distribution network and retail presence that includes Kroger, Publix, Target and Walmart. The brand is expected to pull in $70 million in sales by the end of this year. Earlier this month, Kitu Life announced a distribution agreement with beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), which will carry the brand’s products on its trucks nationwide. ABI also acquired a stake in the company via its investment arm, Zx Ventures, as part of a new funding round which is reported to be in the $25 million range. Growing up fast? It’s an understatement for the DeCicco brothers, who we sat down with for an interview featured in this episode of Taste Radio.  As part of our conversation, they opened up about riding the wave of growth and why their success has been as much about avoiding the wrong moves as it is about making the right decisions. They also discussed the role that mentors and advisors have played in steering company strategy, how they’ve adjusted their management style to meet the needs of an evolving workforce, why they’ve simplified communication about the beverages and their perspective on raising capital and aligning with strategic investors. Show notes:  0:42: Interview: Jim, Jake & Jordan DeCicco, Co-Founders, Kitu Life Super Coffee -- The DeCicco brothers sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that began with a chat about their living situation and thoughts on whether “Shark Tank” judges regret not investing in the brand. They also discussed the evolution of Kitu Life’s distribution strategy, why they initially turned down opportunities for placement in Walmart and Kroger, the importance of “looking like a billion dollar brand,” and why they believe that the company’s team “is our barrier to entry.” Later, the brothers explained why they dialed down messaging about the beverages’ functional benefits and instead focused on the products’ taste and lack of added sugar, engaging ABI long before their recent deal with the company and what, if any, concerns they have about equity dilution. Brands in this episode: Kitu Life, Honest Tea, Bai, Bang, Vitaminwater

Jun 30

45 min

This edition of Taste Radio Insider features highlights from interviews with six entrepreneurs and experts who joined us during the first half of 2020, including TRUFF hot sauce founders Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni; Anouck Gotlib, CEO of Belgian Boys; Nona Lim, founder/CEO of Nona Lim; GT’s Living Foods founder/CEO GT Dave; Ashley Thompson, co-founder/CEO of MUSH; and Lee Robinson, director of dairy and beverage for Whole Foods Market. Show notes:  0:53: The Answer Was Always Landis; No FOMO For Subscribers -- The episode’s hosts opened the show with a chat about a new macaroni and cheese dispensing system called “Mac on Tap.” They also spoke about notable presentations and panel discussions from the recently held BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live conference and how subscribers have exclusive access to over 40 sessions from the event. 10:49: Interview: Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni, Co-Founders, TRUFF -- We kicked things off with Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni, founders of TRUFF, a fast-growing brand of upscale, truffle-infused hot sauces. In the following clip, pulled from Ep. 70 of Taste Radio Insider, Guillen and Ajluni discussed their approach to product development, working with influencers, and the importance of community management and exceptional customer service.   15:44: Interview: Anouck Gotlib, CEO, Belgian Boys -- Next we featured Anouck Gotlib, the CEO of European breakfast and snack food brand Belgian Boys. Within our interview from Ep. 73, Anouck explained how she’s cultivated strong relationships with retail buyers,  why she believes there’s a big opportunity for breakfast foods and how Belgian Boys is expanding its presence in Walmart. 20:41: Interview: Nona Lim, Founder/CEO, Nona Lim -- We continued with Nona Lim the founder of namesake brand Nona Lim, which markets a variety of better-for-you and convenient Asian-inspired foods, including broths, sippable soups and noodle bowls. In Ep. 71, Nona explained why she describes venture capital as a “double-edged sword” and why she jokes that a partnership with an investor is “worse than getting married.” 26:15: Interview: GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods -- Next up was GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods, the maker of GT’s Kombucha. In an interview from episode 86, GT spoke about why founders should celebrate their idiosyncrasies to better connect with consumers, why he’s embraced a more public persona and how he steered a positive outcome following the publication of a provocative profile of him in “Forbes.” 33:20: Interview: Ashley Thompson, Co-Founder/CEO, MUSH -- We continued with Ashley Thompson, co-founder and CEO of MUSH, an innovative brand of ready-to-eat oatmeal. We spoke with Ashley in Ep. 81 and in this clip, she explains why she set out to create a “best for you” product, why she likes having a “polarizing” brand name and how she prepared for her first meeting at Whole Foods. 37:59: Interview: Lee Robinson, Director – Dairy & Beverage, Whole Foods Market -- Wrapping up the episode is Lee Robinson, the director of dairy and beverage for Whole Foods Market. In our clip, pulled from an interview featured in Ep. 82, Lee discussed best practices for engaging with retail buyers, why vulnerability is key when navigating the terms of a successful relationship and how he evaluates disruptive concepts. Brands in this episode: Stouffers, Health-Ade Kombucha, Kohr Brothers, Recess, TRUFF, Ciroc, Belgian Boys, GT’s Kombucha, Nona Lim, MUSH, Whole Foods

Jun 26

49 min

The centerpiece of a fast-growing snack and beverage platform, ALO Drink pioneered the premium aloe beverage market in the U.S. and is the country’s top-selling brand in the category. Launched in 2009, ALO Drink is owned by SPI West Port, a multi-faceted distributor, import, exporter and manufacturer of premium products that also markets ALO Snacks, Jen Collagen and Woodridge Snacks. In an interview featured in this episode, SPI West Port founder and CEO Henry Chen spoke about how he’s steered the development of ALO Drink and aligned brands by staying true to the company’s core focus on natural and better-for-you products, while thoughtfully incorporating functional ingredients and global flavors into its products. He also discussed his decision to expand from beverages into snacks and his perspective on the most impactful business relationships, and also shared poignant advice for early-stage brand owners gleaned from his experience as an entrepreneur. Show notes:  0:42: Interview: Henry Chen, Founder/CEO, SPI West Port -- Chen spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how his background as an importer led him to create ALO Drink, maintaining aloe’s cache as a superfood ingredient and who he views as the ultimate industry gatekeeper. He also discussed how SPI West Port strategizes around retail placement, why hiring salespeople with established buyer relationships has been critical and why beverage entrepreneurs can’t overlook the capital requirements necessary to launch and scale. Brands in this episode: ALO Drink, ALO Snacks, Jen Collagen Water, Woodridge Snacks

Jun 23

26 min

How do distributors evaluate emerging brands? And how can those brands best position themselves to succeed once they’re part of a distributor's route? We explore both questions with Chuck Casano, the founder of Pitaya Foods, a brand of superfruit-based frozen smoothie packs, and HiTouch Distribution, a Southern California-based direct store distributor focused on healthy refrigerated brands.   In a conversation focused on how Casano has navigated the food industry on two fronts, first on the brand side and later as a distributor, he discussed how a social mission guided his foray into the food and beverage industry, the evolution of Pitaya Foods from dragon fruit-based beverages into a superfruit brand platform and how the failure of a key distribution partner propelled his decision to launch HiTouch. He also offered his take on disruptive concepts, the elements of successful brand relationships and what it’s like to be on the front lines of food distribution during the pandemic. Show notes:  0:43: We Need A Moment To Savor These Wins; A “Top Chef” At #BNVL; We’re Ready To Drink Cocktails -- The hosts spoke about the winning brands of BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH’s Pitch Slam 8 and how the judges evaluated the presentations in both competitions, along with discussing some of the unique opportunities for brands and Tom Colicchio presenting at the upcoming BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live event. They also chatted about why BevNET is now reviewing RTD cocktail products and a few notable products sent to the office in recent weeks, including snack bars, ethnic foods and adaptogenic hard teas. 14:50: Interview: Chuck Casano, Founder/CEO, Pitaya Foods & HiTouch Distribution -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Casano about his experience first as a contestant in the BevNET’s inaugural New Beverage Showdown and, nine years later, as a judge in New Beverage Showdown 19. He also discussed how the 2008 recession altered his career path, how a visit to Nicaragua spurred the idea for Pitaya Foods, the discontinuation of the brand’s beverage line and the careful balance of direct-to-consumer and retail distribution. Later, he explained why investing in now-defunct DSD distributor Greenshoots Distribution was about hedging his bets, incorporating lessons learned from working with other distributors into HiTouch and what makes for successful brand relationships versus unsuccessful ones. Finally, Casano shared vivid experiences of working during Los Angeles’ initial quarantine orders, the impact of delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Prime on the future of in-store shopping and why he believes there is massive upside for frozen brands in the years to come. Brands in this episode: Pitaya Foods, DRNXMYTH, Tip Top Cocktails, KEHO, MasQ, Yolélé, Oorja Nutrition Bars, Odwalla, Vive Organic, KOR Shots, Sun Noodle, GT’s Living Foods, Koia, REBBL

Jun 19

64 min

One of the most dominant running backs of his generation, Terrell Davis helped lead the NFL’s Denver Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl championships in 1998 and 1999 and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. Following a career cut short by injuries, Davis, who is a lifelong sufferer of migraines, spent years searching for natural remedies, an exploration that led him to CBD.  His journey culminated in the creation of DEFY, a CBD-infused, zero-THC performance drink that he co-founded with business partners Beau Wehrle and Megan Bushell. Launched in 2018, the drinks are promoted to eliminate aches and pains for consumers during and post-workouts.  In an interview included in this episode, we spoke with Davis and Bushell about their foray into the CBD business and how their respective paths led them to create DEFY. They also discussed how the company is navigating a murky regulatory environment for CBD, DEFY’s communication and consumer education strategies and how Terrell is advising current NFL players about incorporating hemp- and cannabis-based products into their lifestyles. Show notes: 1:07: Interview: Terrell Davis and Megan Bushell, Co-Founders, DEFY -- Davis and Bushell joined Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that included the former NFL star’s involvement with food and beverage brands, how his health and nutrition regimen has evolved since retiring and how he educated himself about CBD. They also spoke about why they chose beverages as the primary focus for DEFY, which also markets oil and balm products, developing short- and long-term strategies for the brand amid uncertainty in how CBD is regulated and why they avoid making functional claims about the ingredient. Later, Davis discussed DEFY’s positioning as a “performance drink,” the level of interest in and use of CBD among professional athletes and how DEFY is communicating differences between the ingredient and THC. Brands in this episode: DEFY, Campbell Soup

Jun 16

33 min

How do you build a top-selling brand on Amazon? For Bizzy Coffee, the answer is with a simple and consistent formula: adapt, evolve and repeat. Launched in 2015, the cold brew coffee brand, which markets bottled cold brew concentrates, bagged coffee and multiserve ready-to-drink beverages, has followed a strategy of constant modification and improvement throughout its development. That focus has supported the growth of Bizzy’s bagged coffee, which has been the top-selling cold brew product on Amazon for two years running, as well as the creation of its recently launched multiserve drinks, which are sold at Target and Hy-Vee and expanding into a range of other retail chains later this year.  In an interview included in this episode, Bizzy co-founder and CEO Alex French spoke about how his experience at 301INC, the venture arm of General Mills, impacted the creation of the brand and learnings from the failure of its shots line. He also explained why buyer presentations are as important as the product itself and the dangers of being underfunded, as well as shared valuable tips about how to stand out on Amazon. Show notes:  0:37: “Competing” Agendas, Stress Relief and #BNVL -- The episode’s hosts chatted about the semifinal rounds of BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH’s Pitch Slam 8 and how brands in the competitions applied timely trends and functional ingredients to their innovative concepts. They also spoke about growing interest in stress relief as a functional benefit, “blockbuster” launches of 2019 and shared an update on the upcoming BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live show, which will include more than 30 sessions over the two days of the event. 11:43: Interview: Alex French, Co-Founder & CEO, Bizzy Coffee -- French spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about why he saw himself as a “rogue” at 301INC, how researching online data sparked the launch of Bizzy and how the company has identified its core consumer. He also discussed how Bizzy sourced data from its retail partners and customers via its packaging, how a lack of funding led to humbling experiences in his personal life, as well as why the company got into the shots business and why, despite significant retailer and investor interest, the products were discontinued. Later, he explained how Bizzy identified white space for a multi-serve cold brew product and how he sold the concept to retailers, and why he’s cautious about revenue derived from Amazon. Brands in this episode: Bizzy Coffee, 5-hour Energy

Jun 12

52 min

In this episode, we’re joined by Jon Taffer, host of popular reality TV show “Bar Rescue” and the creator of Taffer’s Mixologist, a brand of handcrafted cocktail mixes and hard seltzers. Known for his opinionated and often bombastic on-screen personality, Taffer was instead reserved and thoughtful in discussing several timely topics, including how bar owners can persevere in the Covid era and what he views as the elements of a successful brand. He also chronicled the genesis and growth of Taffer’s Mixologist, sales of which have surged during the pandemic. Taffer also spoke about the importance of authenticity in leveraging his fame and celebrity and why he’s personally involved in buyer meetings and sales visits. Show notes:  1:07: Interview: Jon Taffer, Host/Producer, “Bar Rescue”; Founder, Taffer’s Mixologist -- Taffer spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about advice for bar owners and bartenders about how to navigate the Covid-19 crisis and what changes the industry the industry will face in the long-term.  He also spoke about the competitive landscape for mixers and hard seltzers and how he set out to differentiate his products via formulation, ingredients and flavors. Later, he explained what he believes to be the best use of his time and resources in building Taffer’s Mixologist and how he plans to extend the brand to other categories. Brands in this episode: Taffer’s Mixologist

Jun 9

28 min

In this week’s episode, we’re joined by Ashley Rogers, the founder and CEO of Spudsy, a fast-growing brand of sweet potato-based snacks. A serial entrepreneur, Rogers cut her teeth in the food business as the founder of an ahead-of-its-time meal kit company and is also the co-founder of protein-centric food brand Buff Bake.  As part of our conversation, Rogers discussed how she has applied lessons from her first two businesses to the development of Spudsy, and spoke about the critical importance of velocity, thoughtful distribution, co-packer relationships and reliable business partners. Show notes:  0:38: The Wind Up And The Pitch, A Coffee Break And Why Trix Are Not For Mike -- The show opened with a reminder about next week’s Pitch Slam 8 and New Beverage Showdown 19 competitions and praise for the nearly 200 brands combined that applied. The hosts also discussed elements of the upcoming BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live events, including “investor speed dating,” breakout sessions and more. Later, BevNET staff reporter Brad Avery discussed his recent article about how some coffee brands are pivoting during the pandemic and Mike shared some quirky stories about his childhood. 14:06: Interview: Ashley Rogers, Founder/CEO, Spudsy -- Rogers spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about growing up in an entrepreneurial household, how cocktail waitressing in Las Vegas led to the launch of her first company and how identifying white space in the nut butter category led to the  development of her second brand, Buff Bake. She also explained why she should have turned down distribution and retail placement for the products, why she has some regret about the brand’s name and the dangers of an unreliable production partner. Later, she discussed the inspiration behind Spudsy, the remarkable story about how she found and partnered with a co-packer, why she is more thoughtful about retailer relationships than she had been with Buff Bake and how outsourced staff has supported Spudsy’s rapid growth. Brands in this episode: Spudsy, Joyride Coffee, Lean Box LV, Buff Bake, Nuts ‘N More, Snowing in Space, Trix

Jun 5

47 min

It may sound odd that Justin Baldwin, the founder of the eponymous Justin Winery, once fired himself as its winemaker. But despite being the creator of one of the most lauded wineries in the world, he will be the first to tell you that success isn’t about ego. Launched in 1981, the winery has evolved from an undeveloped plot in Paso Robles, Calif. into a global, highly acclaimed brand known for its commitment to premium, food-friendly and accessible wines. A former investment banker, Baldwin built the business literally from the ground up and has worn nearly every hat in the company, from tractor driver to salesman and CEO to brand ambassador. Of course, he had help along the way which he credits , along with a healthy dose of planning and discipline, as a major reason for the company’s growth. In an interview included in this episode, Baldwin chronicled the development of his winery and spoke about the importance of leveraging one’s skill sets and admitting their weaknesses, mitigating risk through financial discipline and how entrepreneurs can best position their companies for success in good times and bad. Show notes:  1:07: Justin Baldwin, Founder, Justin Winery -- Baldwin spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about the importance of setting goals and establishing metrics for achieving them, what inspired his transition from international banker to winery owner and how he evaluated the opportunity to launch Justin in an area that was unheralded for its wine. He also discussed the number one rule in wine, early missteps, why it’s important to accept what you don’t know and what you’re not good at and what spurs passion in employees. He also explained how he established Justin’s core values and why it was important to maintain them throughout the brand’s development, achieving necessary margins while maintaining quality and standards, how to please critics (particularly in the wine business), getting through the recession of 2008 and why he decided to sell the company in 2010 and  remain with Justin post-sale. Brands in this episode: Justin Wines

Jun 2

53 min

If you’re a regular BevNET reader, you might recognize Allison and Stephen Ellsworth, co-founders of prebiotic soda brand Poppi, who triumphed in BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 12 competition. Or you might recall them from their 2018 appearance on the reality TV show “Shark Tank,” in which they received a $400,000 investment from beverage industry luminary Rohan Oza. In both appearances, the brand was known as Mother Beverage and positioned as a line of sparkling apple cider vinegar drinks. The “Shark Tank” deal elicited additional funding via CAVU Venture Partners, the private equity firm co-founded by Oza, an investment that contributed to the brand revamp. In an interview included in this episode, the Ellsworths spoke about their foray into the beverage industry and lessons learned from their first year in business, one that included the launch and eventual shuttering of a production facility, and how they navigated the revamp. They also discussed how consumer awareness about Poppi’s key ingredient has evolved over the years, and how they’ve maintained their independence and vision for the brand while aligned with influential and experienced strategic partners. Show notes:  0:38: The Answers You’re Looking For Might Be Here -- The episode hosts encouraged early-stage entrepreneurs to apply to the upcoming BevNET New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH Pitch Slam 8 competitions (deadline is May 29) and spoke about how content in BevNET and NOSH’s education platform can help brand owners make informed decisions about their businesses (access is free to subscribers). They also discussed the launch of a new brand of chickpea chips and our Virtually Live event, which will be held on June 23 and 24. 10:49: Allison & Stephen Ellsworth, Co-Founders, Poppi -- The Ellsworths spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how they first encountered apple cider vinegar and their motivation to leave lucrative careers and launch a beverage brand. They also discussed a gradual shift in how consumers perceive apple cider vinegar, why operating a manufacturing facility provided important lessons on how to manage co-packer relationships, preparing for their appearance on “Shark Tank” and how to tactfully decline advice or recommendations from investors. Later, they explained why they hired a CEO in 2019 and why Stephen reassumed the role earlier this year and how they are navigating an expanding market for better-for-you soda. Brands in this episode: Poppi, Coconut Cartel, Revive Kombucha, Aqua ViTea Kombucha, Ugly Drinks, GT’s Kombucha, Humm Kombucha, Peacasa Snacks, Hu Kitchen

May 29

40 min

In recent years, few trends have impacted the landscape of food and beverage as significantly as that of plant-centric diets. Things were certainly different in 2004, when there were just a handful of brands that focused on and promoted plant-based products. One of those was Vega, an ahead-of-its time brand of protein powders made with vegetable-based ingredients. Brendan Brazier, an endurance athlete and expert in plant-based nutrition, co-founded Vega and was the original formulator of its products.  Amid a surge in plant-focused eating habits, Vega became one of the leading brands in the fast-growing business of nutritional powders and bars, and in 2015 the company was acquired by Whitewave Foods for $550 million. Last year, Brazier rekindled his entrepreneurial spirit as the co-founder of Pulp Culture, a first-of-its-kind brand of fermented cold-pressed juices anchored in the emerging business of “better-for-you booze.”  In an interview included in this episode, Brazier spoke about the roots of his passion for plant-based foods and how it culminated in Vega, why the brand’s heavy investment in consumer education paid off, the reason he launched Pulp Culture despite avoiding alcohol for 14 years, how he’s drawing upon lessons from building Vega to support the brand’s development and his perspective on the evolution of plant-based foods. Show notes:  0:43: Brendan Brazier, Co-Founder, Vega & Pulp Culture --  Brazier sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for a conversation that explored his background as a professional endurance athlete and why he incorporated plant-based nutrition into his training regimen. He also explained why a flavorful and good tasting product was not an initial focus of Vega, why the company embraced the saying “ignorance is our only competition,” and why private equity firm VMG was the right partner for its first round of outside capital. Later, he discussed the creation of Pulp Culture and how he assessed the opportunity for a better-for-you alcoholic beverage, why he implores entrepreneurs to find a co-founder and what he views as the keys to a successful plant-based food brand. Brands in this episode: Vega, Pulp Culture

May 26

48 min

Let’s say that you’ve created an iconic brand that essentially launched a category and is beloved by millions of loyal consumers. Why would you change anything? That’s the question we explored in our interview with GT Dave, the founder and CEO of GT’s Living Foods, the maker of GT’s Kombucha.  The top-selling kombucha brand recently underwent a packaging refresh that tweaked a few elements of its label design and renamed two product sublines as a way to better delineate its offerings. In a conversation included in this episode, Dave spoke about the reasoning behind each change and how his perspective as a category creator impacted the moves. He also spoke about why he’s embraced a more public persona and why he’s adamant that kombucha should avoid comparisons to soda. Show notes:  0:37: Mike’s Quill of Judgment, Tracking Snacking & A Love Letter To Costco -- The episode’s hosts spoke about the upcoming BevNET New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH Pitch Slam 8 competitions and how interested brands can apply, how some snack brands are adapting to changing times and palates and the elements of a successful virtual sampling event. They also riffed on Melissa’s passion for a certain club retailer and a few delectable ice cream and latte products consumed over the past week. 15:05: GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods -- BevNET CMO Mike Schneider spoke with Dave about the timing of his brand’s packaging refresh and what he viewed as significant problems in how consumers perceived and understood each of GT’s product lines, along with other brands in the kombucha set. Dave also discussed why he sees parallels in the evolution of the kombucha and craft beer categories, how he originally conceived the naming and design of his products, including the meaning of GT’s Synergy line, and why the new look beverages are more deliberate in their description of what’s inside the bottle. Later, he explained why he sees himself as “an overprotective parent” when it comes to his brand, incorporating consumer feedback into the refresh and how he’s become more comfortable interacting with his customers and the trade, reacting to the provocative “Forbes” profile of him and the educational component of rolling out a new look.  Brands in this episode: GT’s Kombucha, Health-Ade, MALK, Know Brainer, Beckon Ice Cream, Chosen Foods, Virginia Distilling Co., DiNoci Dairy-Free, Pop & Bottle, Yasso, Vita Coco, Snapple, SoBe, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, White Claw

May 22

69 min

It’s remarkable to hear Miguel Garza, co-founder and CEO of Siete Family Foods, discuss the brand’s innovation strategy and how it fits into the company’s mission and ethos. Since Siete’s launch in 2014, Garza has presided over a sprawling and ever-widening platform of products, including tortillas, taco seasonings, queso dips and enchilada sauces, all of which are plant-based and grain-free. Despite Siete’s alignment with two impactful food trends, Garza says that new product development is focused on creating heritage-inspired food that can appeal to a broad range of consumers. That commitment is a cornerstone of Siete’s ambitious goal to become a billion-dollar brand, an objective that, given surging sales and a $90 million dollar infusion of capital in 2019, is getting closer to fruition. In an interview included in this episode, Garza expounded upon the principles upon which Siete was founded, including the importance of family in how the company operates and plans for the future and why love is a critical component for any business. Show notes:  0:37: Miguel Garza, Co-Founder & CEO, Siete Family Foods -- Garza joined Taste Radio producer and host Ray Latif for an expansive conversation exploring the Siete CEO’s penchant for startling people, how the family-run company embraces its staff, the meaning of the brand name and logo and how he and his siblings work through business disagreements. He also discussed the hallmarks of Siete’s product development and innovation strategies, why certain products don’t make it to market and how brands can effectively  collaborate with retailers on extensions. Later, he explained why revenue isn’t the defining metric for Siete to become an iconic brand, how he and Siete shareholders determined that The Stripes Group was the right long-term financial partner and shared his advice for young entrepreneurs and CEOs. Brands in this episode: Siete Family Foods, Annie’s, Chobani, Califia Farms, Honest Tea

May 19

51 min

Joining us in this episode is Jessica Weiss Levison, founder and CEO of Peekaboo Organics, a maker of indulgent organic ice cream infused with “hidden” vegetables. Launched in 2018, Peekaboo drew immediate interest from several national retailers who saw value in the brand’s better-for-you positioning. The products, which include chocolate ice cream with hidden cauliflower and a strawberry variety made with carrots, are carried nationwide at Kroger, along with hundreds of Safeway, Whole Foods, and Target locations in select regions. In our conversation, Levison spoke about how she transitioned from a career in law to the ice cream business, addressed the often-asked question about why consumers needs vegetables in their dessert, why building a community around the brand is critical to its retail and funding strategies, and why winning over kids is not as challenging as she expected it to be. Also, a can’t miss discussion about how to avoid slotting fees. Show notes:  0:33: Investing In Immunity, Dr. Bunson Honeycraven & A Groundwork For Today -- The hosts encouraged listeners to tune in (and submit questions) to “Office Hours,” BevNET’s interactive livestream program that is produced on Tuesdays at 3 PM, and spoke about topics from a recent episode including immunity-focused innovation. They also riffed on a couple sparkling water products, why John and Mike could be in a remake of “The Muppet Show,” discussed an interesting update with a super-premium coffee brand and reminded folks about the benefits of subscribing to BevNET and NOSH. 13:08: Jessica Weiss Levison, Founder/CEO, Peekaboo Organics -- Levison spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how getting fired from her job propelled her into entrepreneurship, lessons from her first foray into the ice cream business and the massive benefit from certifying her business as woman-owned. She also discussed her unconventional way of meeting a Target buyer, the challenges formulating Peekaboo products, initial reception to the brand, why a specific demographic “gets” the concept better than others and why she undertook a packaging revamp. Later, she shared her process for fundraising and the big difference between investors that offered capital and those that didn’t. Brands in this episode: Peekaboo Organics, Seasons Sparkling, LifeAid, Intent Brands, Ugly Drinks, Cure Hydration, Reese’s, Dr Pepper, Simply 7 Snacks, Groundwork Coffee, Halo Top

May 15

46 min

Despite sustained consumer interest in better-for-you beverages drink options, few companies in the energy space have been able to achieve meaningful scale in a category dominated by a handful of massive brands, such as Red Bull and Monster.  A notable exception, however, is GURU, which launched in 1999 and markets a first-of-its-kind organic energy drink. Based in Montreal, GURU is the third best selling energy brand in Quebec, Canada, according to the company. The brand has also established a consistent presence in natural retailers in the U.S., along with a growing business in convenience stores. In an interview included in this episode, GURU CEO Carl Goyette spoke about how a disciplined business strategy has paved the way for sustainable growth, why the company “says no to a lot” of opportunities, and why he believes that having both experience in a corporate environment and a thirst for entrepreneurship have been key to his ability to manage and build the brand. Show notes:  0:38: Carl Goyette, CEO, GURU Organic Energy -- Goyette spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about his family’s background in the apple business and how it contributed to his success as a sales leader, and shared advice to those starting at the bottom of the ladder or in middle management about how to get ahead. He also discussed the impact of being first-to-market in the organic energy segment, the reasons that the brand is profitable and cash flow positive, and how the product’s positioning has evolved over the years. Later, he explained his belief that GURU can replicate its success in Canada south of the border, why the company has maintained a relatively low marketing and advertising spend and why he’s not afraid of taking on the biggest players in the energy category. Brands in this episode: GURU Organic Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar Energy

May 12

32 min

This week, we’re joined by Jamba Dunn, the founder and CEO of Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha. Founded in 2013, Rowdy Mermaid has emerged as the fastest growing brand in the kombucha category, according to SPINS data sourced by the company, and achieved national distribution in 2019. Despite its rapid growth, Rowdy Mermaid, which has deep roots in its backyard of the Rocky Mountains, has long embraced a patient and thoughtful approach to expansion, and, until recently, avoided venture capital funding in favor of independent management and oversight.  As part of our conversation, Dunn spoke about how he’s reconciled the duality of Rowdy Mermaid’s current trajectory and its long-term business strategy, the brand’s function-forward approach to formulation and new product development, why he eventually decided to align with a private equity firm and how his role as and definition of CEO has changed over the years. Show notes:  0:34: The Bundesliga Is Coming Back. Brands Are Giving Back. Hardcore Music Never Left. -- The episode opens with most of the hosts expressing excitement at the impending return of German soccer and praise for food and beverage brands lending support to those in need during the crisis. They also chatted about how a heavy metal-themed canned water brand has taken a non-traditional approach to music production and why it’s promoting skateboarding in the kitchen.  13:08: Jamba Dunn, Founder/CEO, Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha -- Within an expansive interview with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Dunn spoke about the inspiration behind Rowdy Mermaid, the company’s shift from a taproom business to a focus on packaged products and how his interest in New Nordic cuisine formed the basis for the brand’s ingredient strategy. He also discussed Rowdy Mermaid’s gradual expansion beyond the Rocky Mountain region, whether he had to reevaluate the company’s mission and value system in the shift from a small to a large company and why he was impressed with investment partner Allen Karp’s choice of attire in their first meeting. Later, he spoke about challenges in scaling capacity and output, his clever acronym for “CEO” and his belief that “an entrepreneur is the only person who would work 80 hours a week to keep from working 40.” Brands in this episode: Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, Liquid Death, Upwell Beverages, Little West, Vybes, Better Booch, Vive Organic, Dona, Good Mylk, MUSH, Joolies, Chromatic Coffee, Partners Coffee, Elm Coffee Roasters, Humblemaker Coffee Co., Groundwork Coffee, Harvst, Stonewall Kitchen, TCHO, Fine & Raw, Peekaboo Organics, Argania Butter

May 8

51 min

Individually, Kyle Busch and Jeff Church have highly accomplished resumes within their respective fields. Busch is a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and has been one of the top drivers in the sport for nearly two decades, while Church is a seasoned business executive and beverage entrepreneur, best known for his work as the co-founder and former CEO of cold-pressed juice leader Suja.  Together, they comprise a formidable team as the co-founders of Rowdy Energy, an energy drink brand formulated with natural ingredients that launched earlier this year. Named after Busch’s sobriquet, Rowdy is attempting to capitalize on a thriving, albeit consolidated, market for energy drinks and growing consumer demand for better-for-you options.  In an interview included in this episode, Busch and Church spoke about their decision to launch a challenger brand in the energy category and the timing of Rowdy’s debut, leveraging Busch’s fame and fan base in a way that’s authentic to the brand and its positioning, managing conflict in their personalities and ways of doing business and how Church is incorporating lessons from the Suja playbook into Rowdy’s business strategy. Show notes:  0:40: Kyle Busch & Jeff Church, Co-Founders, Rowdy Energy -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Busch and Church for a conversation that explored the two-time NASCAR champion’s race preparation, his longstanding ties to the energy drink category, how his interest in launching Rowdy led him to Church and why neither was turned off by the naysayers. They also explained why they’re embracing a long-term view of success, why Rowdy is targeting millennial and female consumers, the decision to focus on building a brand that’s not reliant on Busch’s fame and how they collaborate on company strategy. Brands in this episode: Rowdy Energy, Monster Energy, NOS Energy, BodyArmor, AQUAhydrate, Once Upon A Farm

May 5

37 min

Amid a confluence of demand for healthy, sustainably sourced food and surging interest in e-commerce, online marketplace Bubble finds itself at the center of the bullseye. Launched in January 2019, Bubble promotes itself as “The Most Transparent Food Marketplace.” The e-tailer currently represents over 180 brands and over 1,000 products that undergo the “Bubble Approval Process,” a rigorous set of standards to ensure that food and beverages sold on the site are made with responsibly sourced and clean ingredients. In an interview included in this episode, Bubble founder and CEO Jessica Young spoke about how she drew upon her experience as a chef and product developer to launch the site, how she assessed opportunities and challenges for the company and thoughtfully communicated each to investors, how Bubble is enhancing visibility and sales for small brands via the platform and what she anticipates as the next evolution of e-commerce. Show notes:  0:36: Retailer And Sampling Strategies For New Brands & New Products -- The episode’s hosts opened the show with some banter about intentionally less than tasty jelly beans before discussing top-of-mind topics for entrepreneurs including review cycles for new products and brands amid the current crisis and ways that companies are shifting field marketing resources online. 12:02: Jessica Young, Founder/CEO, Bubble -- Young sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that chronicled of her early work experience, which included roles at Daily Harvest and Chobani Incubator, and spoke about why she chose to launch a retail company as her first foray into entrepreneurship and how she prepared a SWOT analysis for the company. Later, she discussed Bubble’s target consumer, the most effective ways to market and promote the site, how the company is keeping up with COVID-19-driven demand and how perishable products will play into its future. Brands in this episode: Jelly Belly, Drink Simple, Lily’s, Haven’s Kitchen, Cleveland Kitchen,  High Brew Coffee, Revive Kombucha, Better Booch, Spudsy, Soylent, Hu Kitchen, Daily Harvest, Sky High Farm

May 1

49 min

Pat LaFrieda, the CEO of renowned meat brand Pat LaFrieda’s, wasn’t supposed to be in this position. Growing up, his father, Patrick, Sr., forbade him from joining the family’s decades old meat packing business and urged his son to be anything but a butcher. Following an unsatisfying stint in investment banking, LaFrieda eventually convinced his dad to let him join the company as a partner in 1994.  Since taking the reins, he’s built Pat LaFrieda’s into a sprawling empire that supplies meat to some of the country’s most revered restaurants, venues and chains, including Shake Shake, whose burger patty was developed by LaFrieda himself. The company pulls in a reported $200 million in annual sales and in recent years has developed fast-growing retail and e-commerce businesses, both of which have helped it weather a massive downturn in the restaurant industry caused by the COVID-19 crisis.  In an interview included in this episode, LaFrieda spoke about how he grew a small business with five employees and 40 customers into one that now boasts over 1,000 foodservice and retail customers. As part of our conversation, he discussed his definition of quality and how it fits into the company’s evolution, why “relationships are everything” in business, his vision for the future of Pat LaFrieda’s and his surprising opinion about plant-based meat products. Show notes:  0:36: Pat LaFrieda, CEO, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors -- LaFrieda spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about the history of his family’s company, his desire to work for the business, maintaining the company’s tradition of supplying high quality meat to its customers, how the brand’s processing methods separate it from competitors and how he developed the company’s relationship with Shake Shack. He also discussed how featuring the brand’s name on restaurant menus helped Pat LaFrieda’s become a household name, the development of the company’s retail business, the most important aspects of his long standing relationships with chefs and restaurants, why rebuilding the restaurant industry is of primary importance for the future of Pat LaFrieda’s and why he’s a been a proponent and distributor of plant-based meat for years. Brands in this episode: Pat LaFrieda’s, Shake Shack, Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat

Apr 28

38 min

Lee Robinson, the director of dairy and beverage for Whole Foods Market, joined us this week for an expansive and highly informative interview focused on how entrepreneurs can build strong and long-lasting relationships with retail buyers. A longtime veteran and key decision maker at the natural retail giant, Robinson held a variety of positions at Whole Foods before taking on his current role in September 2017.  Within our conversation, Robinson discussed best practices for engaging with retail buyers, why he urges entrepreneurs to be transparent about their business and innovation strategies and how he evaluates disruptive concepts. He also offered his perspective on the future of plant-based food and shared advice on how new brand owners should set expectations for buyer communication and meetings amid the current crisis.  Show notes:  0:33: “Office Hours” Debuts Next Week. Plus, We Have Advice on Advisors -- The episode’s host riffed on the relative value of household paper, discussed the upcoming launch of BevNET’s new “Office Hours” call-in program and shared their perspectives on how to build an advisory team. They also chatted about new lines of protein and keto bars, Mike’s new food crush and a line of functional shots that are keeping Ray elevated. 20:05: Lee Robinson, Director - Dairy & Beverage, Whole Foods Market -- Robinson opened up with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about his career with Whole Foods and how a stint working with sporting goods chain ? expanded his perspective on business and marketing. He also discussed Whole Foods’ process for reviewing new brands and products, how to tactfully decline a retailer request and why vulnerability is key when navigating the terms of a successful relationship. Robinson also offered advice on how brands can take advantage of local retail programs and formulate their channel strategy and why some branding and packaging missteps are more forgivable than others. Brands in this episode: Over Easy, Battle Bars, Farmhouse Culture, Buddha Brands, Biena, Athletic Brewing Co., Z&Z, Honey Mama’s, Teaonic, Oatly 

Apr 24

66 min

Once bitten, the entrepreneurial bug is hard to shake. That was the case for Annie Chun and Steve Broad, who after together building one of the most successful ethnic food brands in America, set their sights on disrupting the snack category.  As the co-founders of Annie Chun’s, a brand of Asian-inspired noodle bowls, soup bowls, sauces and snacks, Chun and Broad grew sales to $15 million annually before selling the company in 2009 to South Korea-based CJ Foods. Three years later, they saw an opportunity to adapt a traditional Korean snack for an American audience and launched gimMe, a brand of dried organic seaweed snacks. Committed to sourcing sustainably grown organic seaweed, gimMe helped pioneer a new segment of Asian-centric better-for-you brands in the snack aisle and has established itself as the leading company in the burgeoning space.  In an interview included in this episode, Chun and Broad spoke about the origins of Annie Chun’s and its evolution from selling at farmer’s market to gaining national distribution at grocery stores. They also discussed how they have incorporated lessons from their past experience into gimMe and why they continually evaluate the brand’s positioning. Show notes:  0:49: Annie Chun & Steve Broad, Co-Founders, Annie Chun’s/gimMe Snacks -- In a call with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Chun and Broad chronicled the development of Annie Chun’s from concept to brand, how a focus on familiar flavors supported the products on shelf and why the brand benefited from a confluence of consumer demand for natural and specialty food. They also explained why many of the company’s early decisions were “driven by survival,” their approach to innovation and evolution of the brand’s product line and why operational efficiency is critical to achieve sustainable margins. Later, they discussed the origins of gimMe Snacks, why they launched with seaweed snacks, why they believed they were “too confident,” how they communicate the key selling points of the brand and the importance of “discovering new experiences for the consumer.” Brands in this episode: Annie Chun’s, gimMe Snacks, Smartwater, Vitaminwater

Apr 21

30 min

In this episode, we sat down with Ashley Thompson, co-founder and CEO of MUSH, an innovative brand of ready-to-eat oats. Soaked overnight in dairy-free milk and packaged in single-serve containers with a built-in spoon, MUSH launched at Whole Foods in 2015 and has since expanded distribution to natural, conventional and club retailers nationwide. Just five years since its debut, MUSH pulls in over $20 million in sales annually, according to the company. As part of our conversation, Thompson spoke about her background prior to launching MUSH and what motivated her and co-founder Kat Thomas to innovate within the oatmeal category. She also discussed why she set out to create a “best for you” product, why she likes having a “polarizing” brand name, how she prepared for her first meeting at Whole Foods and why the company has pivoted from being “product first” to “team first.” Show notes:  1:04: Subscribe, #Schwarzeneggerstyle & PR Strategy -- The episode opens with a discussion about BevNET’s new model, which provides subscribers with access to exceptional content and benefits -- learn more and sign up here -- and a recap of our recent edition of Elevator Talk Livestream, which featured actor, investor and advisor Patrick Schwarzenegger as a guest host. The show’s hosts also explored ways that entrepreneurs and brand executives can enhance their relationships with public relations firms. 14:57: Ashley Thompson, Co-Founder/CEO, MUSH -- Thompson spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about her transition from the financial service industry to CPG, why she set out to “reinvent the way people think about oatmeal,” and how the company addresses challenges in marketing and merchandising an innovative concept. She also discussed how MUSH is evolving its pricing and packaging to meet the needs of more consumers, why she struggled initially with handing over the reins to certain aspects of the business and why she’s “a firm believer that what got us here won’t get us there.” Brands in this episode: MUSH, Kitu Life, MALK, Blaze Pizza, Battle Bars, Cloud Water, Fronun, PathWater, Bantam Bagels, Ramona, Califia Farms

Apr 17

49 min

It’s one of the world’s most respected whiskey brands, but early into the development of Jefferson’s Bourbon, founder Trey Zoeller could hardly give away his products.  Launched in 1997, Jefferson’s was one of just a handful of super premium bourbon brands on the market. Although it would take years before consumers began to embrace high quality, small-batch whiskey, Zoeller gradually emerged as one of the industry's most innovative and forward thinking entrepreneurs, having introduced novel and highly experimental methods for maturing bourbon. A prime example is Jefferson’s flagship expression, which is aged at sea and exposed to temperature fluctuations, producing a complex flavor profile. In 2006, Jefferson’s was acquired by sales and marketing firm Castle Brands, which in turn was acquired by spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard last year. Today, the brand sells over 100,000 cases annually of its small batch bourbon and rye whiskey and Zoeller maintains his stewardship as the label’s Chief Strategist. In an interview featured in this episode, Zoeller spoke about navigating an evolving whiskey category, initial criticism of Jefferson’s approach to innovation, balancing consumer demand for diversity and predictably and whether he has any regrets about selling the company prior to the bourbon boom of the past decade. Show notes:  1:09: Trey Zoeller, Founder, Jefferson’s Bourbon -- Zoeller spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how time away from his home state of Kentucky framed the initial vision for Jefferson’s, how consumer appreciation and demand for bourbon has evolved over the past two decades, how he determined his highest value in the company and why he doesn’t consider himself a distiller. He also explained why he’ll “never create a brand or an expression out of a boardroom,” why he’s encouraged about the future of Jefferson’s under the Pernod Ricard umbrella and whether he plans to launch another bourbon or spirit company. Brands in this episode: Jefferson’s Bourbon, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark, Jack Daniel’s, Macallan

Apr 14

31 min

In this episode, we’re joined by Jordan Salcito, founder of Ramona, a fast-growing brand of canned wine and wine spritzes. Following high-profile roles as the sommelier at acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park and as the wine director at David Chang’s Momofuku, Salcito launched Ramona in September 2016. Lauded by critics and consumers for its striking package design and commitment to high quality organic ingredients and sustainable production methods, Ramona is distributed nationwide at Whole Foods along with independent retail chains and restaurants across the U.S.  As part of our interview, Salcito spoke about the origins of her passion for wine and the inspiration for Ramona, why she identified cans as the ideal package type, why she’s not prescriptive about how and when people should drink the products and how cultivating industry relationships prior to the brand’s launch was critical to its fast start. Show notes:  0:33: Cupcakes, Meal Kits & What To Ask Consumers Post-Sale -- The show opened with Ray discussing a sweeter than usual start to his mornings, and Mike and Melissa praising two better-for-you snack brands. The episode’s hosts also responded to three questions posed by listeners this week, including ones about crafting consumer surveys for post-DTC sales and how brands can align with corporate gift programs and meal kit companies. 12:27: Jordan Salcito, Founder/CEO, Ramona -- Taste Radio editor/producer Ray Latif spoke with Salcito about why she named the brand Ramona, how she fell in love with fine dining and parlayed her experience into a career in wine and how restaurateur David Chang played a pivotal role in the decision to launch her own brand. She also discussed why “the vision for Ramona was never the can” even though that’s how the brand is visually defined, understanding the reasons that consumers buy the products, communicating values on packaging and what’s next for the company. Brands in this episode: Ramona, Belgian Boys, Pillsbury, Project 7, Quinn’s Snacks, Al Chapino, Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, Sunday Provisions, ButcherBox, Starbucks

Apr 10

46 min

Bagels and cream cheese is a classic pairing. Bantam Bagels co-founders Nick and Elyse Oleksek created an innovative way for folks to skip the prep work: a mini ball-shaped bagel filled with the traditional accoutrement.  Launched as a retail concept in 2013, Bantam Bagels has since evolved into a sprawling platform brand that includes mini stuffed pancakes and egg bites. The products are sold at major retailers, including Safeway, Target and Costco, and are also available in Starbucks pastry cases nationwide. Despite selling their company to Lancaster Colony subsidiary T. Marzetti for $34 million in October 2018. the Oleksaks remain at the helm of day-to-day operations and say their passion and commitment to the brand is as strong as ever. In an interview included in this episode, the Olekseks spoke about their transition from Wall Street analysts to bagel entrepreneurs, the role that the TV pitch competition “Shark Tank” had on the brand’s genesis and its development, how they assessed opportunities to scale the brand and why they said “yes” to everything. They also explained why cold-emailing works and how to do it effectively, why investing in PR has been crucial to the brand’s success and why the timing was right to sell the company.  Show notes:  0:44: Nick & Elyse Oleksak, Co-Founders, Bantam Bagels -- The Oleksaks spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif and offered an eye-popping estimate of how many mini bagels they’ve produced over the years, discussed the notion that entrepreneurs only work for themselves, how they validated the concept and why scaling beyond their home market of New York City required a significant investment in marketing and PR. They also discussed their process for finding a co-manufacturer, how QVC became Bantam Bagels first wholesale partner, why “fake it till you make it” doesn’t hold water “unless you deliver on what you’re promising,” the remarkable story about how they initially connected with a Starbucks buyer and how they proved their value and commitment to the coffee giant. Later, the Oleksaks explained why they have no regrets about selling 25% of the company to “Shark Tank” judge Lori Greiner and how they identified T. Marzetti as the right acquisition partner. Brands in this episode: Bantam Bagels

Apr 7

43 min

This week, we’re joined by Ethan Hirshberg, the founder and CEO of Ethan’s, a brand of organic wellness shots formulated with functional ingredients, including apple cider vinegar, MCT oil and green tea. Launched in 2017, the brand debuted at Whole Foods locations nationwide and has since added distribution at chain retailers in a variety of channels, including Wegmans, Walmart and Sprouts. In an interview included in this episode, Hirshberg, whose father is Stonyfield Farm co-founder Gary Hirshberg, spoke about why launching Ethan’s was about “solving a program,” the importance of “being nimble responsibly” and why the company is “maniacally obsessed with customer feedback.” He also discussed how core values are incorporated into the brand’s products and communicated to consumers and what he views as Ethan’s biggest advantage over larger and more established competitors. Show notes:  0:37: Ray Needs A Flowbee. Perhaps It Will Arrive In His Virtual Mailbag? -- The hosts riffed on Ray’s tousled hair and review and respond to questions posed by listeners over the past week, including ones about funding, CBD, ingredient suppliers and field marketing. They also reflected on an old AT&T ad, chatted about a few upstart brands, including a zaatar company and encouraged the audience to continue sending in questions and suggestions for content. 10:51: Ethan Hirshberg, Founder/CEO, Ethan’s -- Hirshberg spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about  growing up in the food and beverage industry, lessons learned from father and other mentors and his experience working at coconut-based food and beverage company Harmless Harvest. He also discussed the company’s relationship with Whole Foods, why the company decided to focus on shots and how the past two years have been primarily about frequent and fast iteration and tweaking. Later, he explained the importance and hierarchy of its core values of organic, glass and functionality, how Ethan’s educates consumers about usage and drinking occasions and how the company evaluates opportunities to innovate. Brands in this episode: Ethan’s, G&Juice, Brewpub Jerky, Wake Up Water, Z&Z

Apr 3

43 min

Ben Goodwin and David Lester admit that they’ve taken on a massive challenge. And that’s just the way they wanted it. The founders of Olipop, a brand of sparkling beverages made with prebiotics, botanicals and plant fiber and featuring classic flavors like root beer and cola, Goodwin and Lester promote the products as “the healthy alternative to soda,” a tagline that takes direct aim at legacy carbonated soft drinks. “For better or worse, we do seek out those challenges,” Lester said in an interview featured in this episode. “It often feels like the most meaningful or impactful thing we can do.” Goodwin added: “If there's something worth doing from a scientific or consumer health perspective, it’s worth doing at scale.” Olipop is the second beverage venture founded by Goodwin and Lester, who previously co-founded Obi, a probiotic-infused soda brand designed to appeal to mainstream consumers; Obi was acquired in 2017. Amid growing distribution along both coasts, Olipop has caught the attention of investors who have fueled its development via a $2.5 million seed round in 2019 and a $10 million Series A round in January.  As part of our conversation, Goodwin and Lester spoke about how Olipop was conceived, how they communicate functional ingredients to consumers, why the brand is resonating beyond natural channel retailers and how lessons from their experience with Obi are incorporated into their current business strategy. Show notes:  0:44: David Lester & Ben Goodwin, Co-Founders, OLIPOP -- In a call with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Goodwin and Lester spoke about the history of their partnership, the complementary nature of their skill sets and the mission and development of their first brand, Obi. They also discussed the importance of “adaptive, hungry thinking and action,” why they describe the beverage industry as “business on expert mode,” and their belief that soda offers the broadest opportunity to deliver digestive health benefits to  consumers. Later, they explained their approach to branding, how Olipop’s package design has fueled trial, why educating consumers about the products’ health benefits is not a priority, why they’re not interested in non-soda drinkers and why who you’re working with is as important as what you’re working on. Brands in this episode: Olipop, Halo Top, Beyond Meat

Mar 31

33 min

Hilary McCain, founder and CEO of CBD-infused sparkling water brand Sweet Reason, describes the  nascent market for legal cannabis-centric products as “a once in a generation opportunity” for entrepreneurs. As part of an interview included in this episode, McCain noted that while the surge in consumer interest for CBD will benefit many early-stage companies in the space, the long-term success of her brand will be rooted in its resonance with consumers. “We are really focused on building a brand around being ‘curators of calm,’ she said. “It’s never been more relevant than in today’s day and age. In my mind, CBD is in the same trend as meditation, mindfulness, self-care; that’s the lane we’re playing in.” Launched in 2018, Sweet Reason is aligned with New York-based distribution heavyweight Big Geyser and sold in hundreds of chain and independent retail locations in the metro market and Los Angeles. The company has also attracted a number of influential investors and advisors; in July 2019, Sweet Reason raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau and recently brought on veteran beverage executive Hal Kravitz to support its continued development.  As part of our interview, McCain spoke about early roadblocks in the development of Sweet Reason, her perspective that beverages are the best delivery format for CBD and how she communicates functional claims. She also discussed strategizing for the future in an unclear regulatory environment and how she’s curated her pitch to investors. Show notes:  0:33: WFH? Good Thing We Have National Cocktail (Every) Day. #Goals -- The episode’s hosts discussed how they stayed focused while working from home, setting up a “virtual water cooler” for your organization and why it’s important for brands to create meaningful content that’s authentic to their values. They also noted conversations with a few entrepreneurs about how their respective businesses are  doing amid the current situation. 10:51: Hilary McCain, Founder/CEO, Sweet Reason -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with McCain about her career experience prior to launching Sweet Reason, why she became “obsessed with CBD beverages” and why the company is spending significant resources to teach consumers about the ingredient. She also discussed how the brand is attempting to own a distinct message about the benefits of CBD, her involvement in lobbying efforts to achieve GRAS status for CBD in food and beverages and how she convinced Lerer Hippeau, an early-stage venture capital fund notable for early investments in Warby Parker and Casper, to invest in the brand.  Brands in this episode: Sweet Reason, Campari, Tip Top Cocktails, Cocchi Americano, Luxardo, Cece's Veggie Co., Core Foods, O2, Smooth Pops, Baaz Bites

Mar 27

39 min

If you’ve ever seen an episode of ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” chances are that John Brenkus is a familiar face. The Emmy award-winning host and producer of “Sport Science,” a series that examines exceptional athletic performance through the lens of data and scientific research, Brenkus was recently announced as the Chief Brand Officer of natural energy drink brand Kill Cliff. According to the company, the role “will build upon the science in its products and elevate the brand among athletes and consumers.”   In an interview included in this episode, Brenkus, who is also the author of The New York Times bestselling book “The Perfection Point,” spoke about the origins of his work and why after dozens of offers to partner with other drink brands he chose to align with Kill Cliff. He also discussed his process for evaluating functional ingredients, in particular CBD, navigating potential pitfalls in consumer education and addressing gaps in sports nutrition.   Show notes:  1:17: John Brenkus, Creator, “Sport Science” & Chief Brand Officer, Kill Cliff -- Brenkus spoke with BevNET managing editor Martín Caballero about growing up in the Washington D.C. area and how he merged his passion for sports with science, leading into his foray into television and the development of his career.  He also discussed the evolution of athletic performance in amateur and professional sports, what inspired him to align with Kill Cliff and why he describes the brand as a “game changer,” how humans process natural versus artificial ingredients and his perspective on competition in the energy drink space. Later, he explained why the ideal Kill Cliff consumer is someone who can make “better decisions,” why he believes that CBD has “a really bright future” and how the company is gathering data and research about the ingredient. He also spoke about how he evaluates claims of “rapid hydration” and those associated with MCT oil and the importance of consistent sleep for everyday health. Brands in this episode: Kill Cliff, Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy, Hydrant, Liquid I.V., SOS Hydration

Mar 24

31 min

This week’s episode focuses on ways that the BevNET and NOSH teams are working with entrepreneurs to support their businesses during these uncertain times, and also includes an interview with Candice Crane, founder/CEO of botanical drink brand Petal Beverage, who spoke about how she is navigating a challenging environment for small food and beverage companies. Founded in 2017, Petal has won plaudits for its organic sparkling beverages which are formulated with a range of botanical essences, including rose water, lychee and elderberry, among others. The brand is distributed in 1,000 locations, including at Gelson’s, Jimbo’s, Albertsons and Cost Plus World Market. As part of our interview, Crane spoke about her foray into the beverage industry, identifying the brand’s core consumer and how the company is leaning into its digital marketing strategy amid an evolving retail landscape. Show notes:  1:07: Let’s “Hangout” For A Beer Or Coffee -- The episode’s hosts spoke about how some brands are managing their businesses during the current and also encouraged entrepreneurs and brand executives to reach out to the BevNET and NOSH teams for a virtual meeting to discuss business strategies and planning or just to check in for a beer or coffee. They also offered suggestions on how to pitch news, ways to amplify trade communication (email us at strategy@bevnet.com), how to enjoy cocktails with your kids and a few notable snack and beverages brands that helped keep the team nourished over the past week. 15:34: Candice Crane, Founder/CEO, Petal Beverage -- Crane spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about her family’s history of entrepreneurship, her inspiration for launching Petal and key takeaways from the brand’s initial test in the Chicagoland market. She also discussed how the company incorporates influencer content into its digital marketing, how Petal is adjusting its 2020 retail strategy and why she believes that food and beverage companies have “an obligation to do well.” Brands in this episode: Petal Beverage, Herb & Lou’s, Unite Food, The Naked Baker, Simply 7, Whisps, Brewer’s Crackers, Lyre’s, Better Booch, Maple Mama, Shroom Shot

Mar 20

26 min

There’s an inherent connection between the last name Musk and Tesla. And while Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon Musk, is a founding board member of the electric car company, his focus is firmly on the future of food.  Musk is the co-founder and chairman of three companies -- The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Big Green and Square Roots -- each designed to support his overarching mission of “real food for everyone.” The ambitious goal is anchored in urban farming, food literacy projects for children and a restaurant chain focused on accessible, healthy meals and snacks.  In an interview included in this episode, Musk spoke about the roots of his mission and how each of his ventures is contributing to the advancement of the food system. Show notes:  1:07: Kimbal Musk, Co-Founder & Chairman, The Kitchen Restaurant Group/Big Green/Square Roots -- In a call with Taste Radio editor/producer Ray Latif, Musk discussed how a life-changing accident shaped his perspective on food culture, why he designed his restaurant chain Next Door American Eatery to be “everyman’s joyful restaurant” and how the company incorporates trust and authenticity into its menu. He also spoke about the critical role of taste in convincing consumers to eat healthier food, educating children about “real food” through schoolyard “learning gardens,” and how “Plant A Seed Day” is at the core of his overarching mission. Later, he explained the origins and focus of his urban farm company Square Roots, why he believes in a future where all people can access produce grown within a few miles of their homes and his involvement with electric car manufacturer Tesla and private rocket company SpaceX. Brands in this episode: Square Roots, Impossible Foods, Gotham Greens, Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats

Mar 17

44 min

When assessing the long-term potential for trendy product concepts, Mark Alexander, the CEO of fast-growing skyr brand Icelandic Provisions, uses a “warm” analogy.  “Paper fire burns really bright, and then it’s out before you know it,” Alexander said in an interview included in this episode. “A wood fire is going to last and burn for a while. That’s how we look at things: is this [trend] a paper fire or a wood fire?” Following a nearly 30-year career at the Campbell Soup Company, Alexander joined Icelandic Provisions in February 2019. A brand of traditional Icelandic skyr, Icelandic Provisions launched in 2016 and has tapped into growing demand for high-protein, low sugar cultured dairy. The company’s products, known for rich flavor and velvety texture, are sold in over 10,000 locations nationwide, including Whole Foods, Wegmans and ShopRite.  As part of our conversation, Alexander spoke about his transition from Campbell to Icelandic Provisions, lessons and takeaways from working at a CPG conglomerate that he’s incorporated into his current role and how the skyr company navigates consumer demand for premium and affordable offerings. Show notes:  1:05: Elevators In Studios, Major Raises & Vegan Pork Rinds -- The episode’s hosts opened the show with a chat about BevNET’s Elevator Talk Livestream, which gave brand founders and CEOs and opportunity to be interviewed live via remote video and discuss new products and brand updates that they would have been featuring at Expo West 2020. They also spoke about recently completed funding rounds for sparkling water brand Spindrift and non-alcoholic beer company Athletic Brewing and munched on a new line of vegan pork rinds. 8:40: Mark Alexander, CEO, Icelandic Provisions -- In a call with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Alexander discussed his ambition to become the CEO of a company, the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working at a food conglomerate and what drew him to Icelandic Provisions. He also spoke about the steepest part of the learning curve in leading an entrepreneurial brand, why the industry is seeing greater numbers of big company CPG executives migrating to entrepreneurial brands, how hype affects emerging trends and how Icelandic Provisions responds to consumer backlash to added sugar. Brands in this episode: Icelandic Provisions, TeaRiot, Bobo’s, Sol-ti, Ayoba-Yo, Greenbelt Craft Kombucha, The Good Bean, Spindrift, Athletic Brewing Co., Beanfield’s, Snacklins, Clif Bar, Pepsi, Campbell’s

Mar 13

34 min

Following a recent evolution in its branding, Dang Foods co-founder/CEO Vincent Kitirattragarn says his company is well-positioned to tap into what he believes is one of the most overlooked and influential demographics in the U.S.: Asian-Americans. Best known for its sweet and savory coconut chips, Dang Foods was launched in 2012 by Kitirattragarn and his brother Andrew . Since its debut, the company has expanded its product portfolio to include rice chips and a fast-growing line of keto-certified snack bars made with Asian-inspired flavors. The brand is represented in over 13,000 retail locations nationwide, including at Kroger, Target and Whole Foods, where its bars are the top-selling brand in its category, according to Dang. Earlier this year, the company repositioned itself as an “Asian-American snack brand,” a move that Kitirattragarn said will enhance sales and help it attract new consumers from a community that he described as “perfect when designing a brand.”  “It’s the highest income consumer, it’s the consumer with the highest levels of education, most likely to be organic eaters, most likely to be vegetarians, and nobody’s speaking to that consumer,” Kitirattragarn said in an interview included in this episode. “This positioning is something that we can fully, authentically own.” In our conversation, Kitirattragarn spoke further about the company’s origins and how Dang communicates its brand story across product lines. He also explained why he keeps a tight grip on the company’s innovation strategy and discussed its relationship with investment firm Sonoma Brands. Show notes:  2:00 Vincent Kitirattragarn, Co-Founder/CEO, Dang Foods -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Kitirattragarn about how college classmates spurred his foray into entrepreneurship, the history behind the name, the evolution in its branding and whether its current positioning could have existed when it first launched. He also discussed Dang’s product mix and why entrepreneurs have to be “excited by [their] own innovation,” why “category size is super important” in new product development, how investors were skeptical about his decision to launch a line of snack bars and how he proved them wrong. Later, he spoke about what Sonoma Brands and Krave Jerky founder Jon Sebastiani brings to the table as an investor, how his leadership style has changed over the years, building company culture through core values and his work with the JEDI Collaborative, a non-profit group that promotes diversity and equality within the CPG industry.  Brands in this episode: Dang Foods, Krave Jerky, Smashmallow

Mar 10

29 min

In this episode, we’re joined by William Siff, founder and CEO of Goldthread, an innovative brand of plant-based tonics formulated with herbs, spices and adaptogens. A clinical herbalist, ethnobotanist and licensed acupuncturist, Siff launched the company in 2016 as an extension of his apothecary and herb farm in Western Massachusetts.  A pioneer in the emerging category of adaptogenic beverages, Goldthread’s products are designed to  “restore, refresh and invigorate our mind, body and soul.” The brand is distributed at natural and conventional retailers nationwide, including Target which recently added Goldthread to 970 of its locations.  In an interview included in this episode, Siff spoke about his background as a natural health practitioner and how his experience led to the creation of Goldthread. He also discussed why building the brand was akin to “inventing the category,”  effective methods for driving consumer education and brand awareness, defining metrics for success and how the company incorporates ingredient trends into its innovation strategy. Show notes:  0:50: Thoughts On An Expo-Less Week (At Least We Have Churro Ice Cream) -- The hosts reflected on the postponement of Natural Products Expo West 2020 and how exhibitors that planned to feature new products and brand updates at the annual event can share the news with BevNET and NOSH. They also chatted about how texting has become a useful tool for communicating with the editorial team, chomped on plant-based ice cream and reiterated that sharing snacks is always welcome. 10:25: William Siff, Founder/CEO, Goldthread -- Siff spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about his foray into the beverage industry and why he viewed packaged drinks as “a model that could scale our overall efforts” to “get as many herbs, spices and adaptogens into as many people’s bodies as possible.” He also discussed key benchmarks that the company has reached, why demos and its “Plant Venture” events have been essential to the brand’s development and how he works with retailers to add more adaptogenic drinks to their shelves. Later, he explained why refreshment is a key selling point for Goldthread and why he believes that schizandra berry will emerge as the next “big” functional ingredient. Brands in this episode: Goldthread, Fuze, Nos, BodyArmor, Core, Adrenaline Shoc, Cali’flour Foods, Ripple Foods, Van Leeuwen, Halo Top, UnReal, From The Ground Up

Mar 6

36 min

Twelve years ago, Ben Van Leeuwen launched his small-batch ice cream brand in the midst of a recession. An economic downturn is perhaps not the ideal time to start a company, yet the circumstances helped establish one of the core elements of his business strategy: a thorough examination of every cost. “Dig into every single expense, and ask yourself: ‘Is this really serving our customer?’ Van Leeuwen said in an interview included in this episode. “That’s the most important thing. If it’s not serving the customer, then don’t do it.” That principle has been essential to running a lean and profitable company and key to its growth. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has evolved into a sprawling brand with 22 ice cream shops in New York and California and a wholesale pint business with more than 1,500 accounts across the U.S.  As part of our conversation, Van Leeuwen spoke about why he started an ice cream brand alongside his brother and future wife, how New York City’s culture impacted its development and why the company didn’t raise money for its first 11 years. He also shared his perspective on how Van Leeuwen has bucked the trend toward healthy eating, promoting brand pillars through packaging, the synergistic relationship between its stores and wholesale business and whether he’s open to selling the company down the road. Show notes:  2:04: Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder/CEO, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with Van Leeuwen in New York City where he spoke about how a summer job in his teens and traveling around the world led to and influenced the creation of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, as well as the upside to working with his family and why he rejected advice to use inferior ingredients in his products. He also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of operating in New York City, why the company stopped co-manufacturing early on and built its own production facility, why ‘running lean was just the default” and the reason that he and his co-founders decided to accept outside capital. Later, he explained why minimalism was the goal in its package design, the keys to the brand’s popular vegan varieties and how he stays in shape despite being the CEO of an indulgent ice cream brand. Brands in this episode: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Michel Cluizel

Mar 3

44 min

This week, we’re joined by Tommy Kelly and Salim Najjar, the co-founders of Sound Brands, a fast-growing company that markets carbonated, unsweetened iced teas and tea-infused sparkling waters made with herbal and botanical ingredients. Launched in 2015, Sound has been at the forefront of an emerging market for sparkling teas. Hailed by Bon Appetit magazine as “The New LaCroix,” Sound products are primarily distributed in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and also available at several chain and independent retailers across the U.S.  During our interview, Kelly and Najjar explained that while they’ve made several costly mistakes over the years, their perspective that “a failure is really a lesson if looked at properly” has been essential to the brand’s development. “The first year, I’d probably classify it as a bunch of failures, from spending way too much money on an initial product, to spending way too much money on an outsourced sales team,” Najjar said. “They all led us to where we are… and our current strategy, in terms of spending money and how lean we are.” Also within our conversation, Kelly and Najjar discussed Sound’s origins and overarching mission, how complementary skill sets have supported their working relationship, why getting up to speed on industry terminology is critical for early-stage entrepreneurs, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how corporate sales have been a boon for the brand. Show notes:  0:40: It’s All About Popcorn & Pickle Salsa, #CBDMike and Eating Your Veggies at Expo -- The episode began with a chat about John Craven’s West Coast extravaganza and Mike Schneider’s kombucha-soaked visit to London, and discussion about recent office visits from fresh pickle and CBD snack entrepreneurs. The hosts also riffed on a few products sent to the office, including premium popcorn, non-alcoholic spirits and cocktail mixers, and shared tips for a successful experience at Expo West 2020. 18:00: Tommy Kelly and Salim Najjar, Co-Founders, Sound Brands -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with Kelly and Najjar at Sound HQ in Manhattan for a conversation that began with their transition from nuclear power plant engineers to beverage entrepreneurs, how they identified white space for a sparkling tea brand, why they eschewed added natural flavors and sweeteners and a critical error in the company’s original name. They also spoke about the trials and tribulations of their first year in business and why it was costly to hire retail consultants without having a clear go-to-market strategy, the importance of defining brand positioning, why it took years to make their first hire and how their retail strategy has evolved, particularly in Sound’s home market of New York City. Later, Kelly and Najjar explained how corporate sales have become a key component of the company’s overall business strategy and why they regret being hard on themselves during challenging times for the brand. Brands in this episode: Sound Brands, Nora’s Snacks, Belgian Boys, From The Ground Up, Maya Kaimal, Jarr Kombucha, Pip & Nut, Grillo’s Pickles, Farmhouse Culture, Big Swig, Alta Goods, [Popped] Artesian Popcorn, Lyre’s, Seedlip, GT’s Kombucha, WithCo Cocktails, Sir Kensington’s

Feb 28

56 min

When Marco Canora opened the first Brodo location, a takeout window housed within his acclaimed New York City restaurant Hearth, he believed he was at the forefront of a new category of sippable bone broths. He was on to something: the launch of Brodo sparked broad interest in bone broth, positioned to consumers as a comforting drink and a convenient source of nutrition.  In the following months, new bone broth cafes and packaged brands began appearing across the U.S. Yet while emerging categories often benefit from an expanding shelf set, Canora, an award-winning chef who’s helmed some of New York’s most admired eateries and been featured on several popular cooking shows including “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” has some misgivings about product quality. There’s a right way to make bone broth, he believes, one that involves patience, care and premium ingredients. It may cost more to produce at scale, but Brodo lives and dies by its high standards. “I’ve always been the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ kind of guy,” Canora said in an interview included in this episode. “And as long as I’m enjoying the process, I think the most critical and the most important thing about the path is that we each pop out of bed every day and we’re excited and proud about what we’re making.”  That principle has guided Brodo’s development since its launch in 2014. The company has expanded to six retail storefronts in New York City -- all profitable, according to Canora -- and distributes frozen bone broth in quarts and pints to independent and chain retailers, including Whole Foods, across metro New York. As part of our conversation, Canora and Brodo CEO Andrew Garner discussed the origins of the brand, how timing and location played into its early success and the company’s foray into packaged products. They also spoke about Brodo’s consumer education strategy and why Marco believes that the steepest part of the learning curve in the business of consumer packaged goods is also its most frustrating. Show notes:  2:04: Marco Canora, Founder & Andrew Garner, CEO, Brodo -- Canora and Garner sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that began with Canora’s background as a chef, how his unhealthy lifestyle led him to bone broth and how Garner, a former health care and Coca-Cola executive, joined Brodo as its CEO. Canora also explained why he describes Brodo products as “beverages” and not “soup,” how the company communicates its value proposition to consumers, determining the right format and package size for the brand and how he attempts to use his influence as to support the development of better-for-you food brands. Later, Canora and Garner discussed the role of Brodo’s storefronts as a gateway to its packaged products, the challenge of merchandising in the frozen food aisle, why Canora laments traditional routes to market, the impact of growing interest in  plant-based diets on Brodo’s business model and the dream scenario for the company’s future. Brands in this episode: Brodo, Rind Snacks, Health-Ade, Starbucks, Knorr, Shake Shack

Feb 25

48 min

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