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When Blue Ocean, the Joy of Food and Food Waste Collide featuring Perteet Spencer, AYO Foods

Gooder Podcast Featuring Perteet Spencer

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Perteet Spencer, the co-founder of AYO Foods. Using her spidy SPINS senses and her desire to create a brand that celebrates the ingredients, flavors, and culture of the West African diaspora, Perteet takes us on her journey of transition and joy. Along the way we learn how her Liberian upbringing and heritage inspires her new venture and how this cultural view naturally embraces a more inclusive food production system.

In this episode we learn:

  • A little background about her brand AYO Foods.
  • Why Perteet thinks North American consumers are ready for African flavors, textures, and ingredients.
  • What food trends shape AYO Foods innovation.
  • Why she thinks Chicago has become THE place to watch for food innovation.
  • How to use data as an indicator, and not simply validation, to uncover new innovation platforms and opportunities.
  • Pereet’s thoughts on how to shrink pre-production food waste through product and manufacturing innovation.
Gooder Podcast

When Blue Ocean, the Joy of Food and Food Waste Collide featuring Perteet Spencer, AYO Foods

About Pereet Spencer:

Perteet is thrilled to be able to bring all of her passions into her role as co-founder of AYO Foods. Seeking to build a more inclusive food system that reflected her experience growing up in a Liberian family, Perteet launched AYO with her husband Fred last summer with the vision of creating a platform brand that celebrated the ingredients, flavors, and culture of the West African diaspora.  

Prior launching AYO, Perteet held brand, sales, and consulting leadership roles at LEGO, General Mills, and SPINS.   

When she’s not actively working on AYO, you can usually find Perteet spending time in the kitchen with her two girls or advancing the issues of food equity through her involvement in the Food Recovery Network, a non-profit focused on eliminating food insecurity through food waste recovery.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/perteet-spencer-18b3146/ 

Email: perteet@ayo-foods.com

Website: https://ayo-foods.com/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pmcspence/?hl=en 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/perteets?lang=en 

Show Resources:

Moonboi Project – In Kpelle, “Moonboi” means prosperity. At AYO Foods, we believe that we have a personal responsibility to enrich the communities that inspired our products. 

General Mills, Inc. – is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.

SPINS – transforms trillions of retailer data into performance solutions to accelerate growth, and deepen loyalty with shoppers.

Food Recovery Network – a nonprofit focused on eliminating food insecurity through food waste recovery.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. – is an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.

Girl Power Africa – an organization that was founded a few years back, really in service of women who were victims of civil war and are trying to get back on their feet in Liberia. 

Imperfect Foods – Shop affordable groceries and exclusive items that went from unwanted to wish for. Reducing food and retail product waste, one household at a time.

PepsiCo – is an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo has interests in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products.

Betty Crocker – is a brand and fictional character used in advertising campaigns for food and recipes. The character was originally created by the Washburn-Crosby Company in 1921 following a contest in the Saturday Evening Post.

Lego – is a Danish toy production company based in Billund. It is best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys, consisting mostly of interlocking plastic bricks. The Lego Group has also built several amusement parks around the world, each known as Legoland, and operates numerous retail stores.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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Transitioning from Sundance to the Food and Beverage Industry featuring Emel Shaikh, Sundance Institute

Gooder Podcast Featuring Emel Shaikh

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Emel Shaikh, a PR and communications strategist with more than 10 years of experience leading publicity efforts, both in-house at the renowned Sundance Institute and as well as boutique agencies across multiple disciplines. Join us as we discuss why growing up as an immigrant and a woman of color influenced Emel’s interest in amplifying the untold stories of fellow BIPOC and other minority groups.

In this episode we learn:

  • How the pandemic has affected PR, what brands are doing differently that they weren’t doing before and how they are planning for the change. 
  • About what it means to be an outsider, especially within PR and strategic brand communication and how that “outsider” status becomes a super power.
  • Why she’s not a fan of cancel culture and explains how she thinks it doesn’t hold people accountable for their behaviors.
  • What made Emel decide to start her own firm on her own and work with minority owned brands rather than bigger ones and the challenges that these brands are facing.
  • Which women leaders she has her eyes on that she’d like to elevate or want people to see.
Gooder Podcast

Transitioning from Sundance to the Food and Beverage Industry featuring Emel Shaikh, Sundance Institute

About Emel Shaikh:

Prior to starting her freelance journey, Emel worked in various PR roles, developing campaigns for Better-for-You food and beverage, wellness and lifestyle startups and CPG brands. The experience gave her a firsthand look into what it takes to launch and grow an innovative product and ignited a passion for mission driven brands. Emel did four years in-house, where she led the charge on publicity efforts around the annual Sundance Film Festival in Utah, built awareness of Sundance NEXT FEST, a new film and music festival in Los Angeles to reach a new demographic, and introduce tastemakers to the Sundance brand and pitched stories surrounding the institute’s year round artists support labs and programs.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emelshaikh/ 

Website: http://www.sundance.org/ 

Personal website: http://littlecakeshop.tumblr.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emelshaikh/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emelshaikh 

Show Resources:

Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization founded by Robert Redford committed to the growth of independent artists. The institute is driven by its programs that discover and support independent filmmakers, theatre artists and composers from all over the world. 

BIPAC is a bi-partisan, membership-supported, mission-driven, organization working to improve the political climate in America for the business community and help employers and employees play a more active role in public policy and the political process.

Fast-moving consumer goods, also known as consumer packaged goods, are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. 

Clubhouse is an invitation-only audio-chat social networking app launched in April 2020 by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Alpha Exploration Co. In May 2020, it was valued at nearly $100 million. On January 21, 2021, the valuation reached $1 billion. 

Tik Tok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, that have a duration from fifteen seconds to one minute.

One Stripe Chai: Hand-crafted chai that actually tastes like chai. Black tea brewed with organic spices and made with love in Portland.

Wayne Enterprises, Inc., also known as WayneCorp, is a fictional company appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. 

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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Driving a Mission in Plant Based Meat Products featuring Christie Lagally, Rebellyous Foods

Gooder Podcast featuring Christie Lagally

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Christie Lagally, the founder and CEO of Rebellyous Foods, a food production technology company working to make plant based meat price competitive with traditional chicken products. 

In this episode we discuss how Christie’s development of “Meatless Mondays” while working as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry at Boeing, helped her understand the barriers to plant based meat in offices and institutions. Join us as we discuss how Christie has parlayed this information into building her own company to bypass those barriers by catapulting meat alternative production toward price parity and convenience with animal-based meat.

In this episode we learn:

  • The history of Christie’s brand Rebellyous, how it was started, and reasons for its existence. 
  • How Christie is using the pricing method to make her products accessible to everyone and why that’s important.
  • How Covid impacted their company, the opportunities that came up, and how it affected their market, and how they responded. 
  • The importance of why brand owners should understand the purpose of their brand’s existence before they focus on the income. 
  • About the process of enrolling investors and partners.
  • Christie’s vision she has for Rebellyous and what people should expect in the near future.
Gooder Podcast

Driving a Mission in Plant Based Meat Products featuring Christie Lagally, Rebellyous Foods

About Christie Legally:

Christie is the founder and CEO of Rebellyous Foods and a mechanical engineer who holds multiple patents in manufacturing technology. She spent much of her career in the aerospace industry working at Boeing. Previously Christie served as senior scientist for the Good Food Institute and covering the technical barriers in the development of plant-based meat and clean meat. 

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christie-lagally-875b9a4/

Email: info@rebellyous.com

Website: https://rebellyous.com/about-rebellyous-foods/christie-lagally-founder-ceo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagallyc?lang=en 

Blog: http://christielagally.wordpress.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqLQI4MjHif/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading 

Show Resources:

The Good Food Institute is an international 501 nonprofit that promotes plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs as well as cultivated meat.

Rebellyous Foods is a food manufacturing technology and production company defined solely to catapult meat alternative production toward price parity with animal-based meat.

Humane Society is a movement leader when it comes to farm animal advocacy in The United States.

Food Equality Initiative in Kansas City Improves health and end hunger in individuals diagnosed with food allergies and celiac disease through access, education, and advocacy.

Seattle Food Tech​​ is a food manufacturing technology and production company on a mission to “catapult meat alternative production toward price parity with animal-based meat.”

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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Leaders, Brands and the Hawaiian Value of Kuleana featuring Danielle Laubenstein, Godiva Chocolatier

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Danielle Laubenstein, The Director of Global Marketing for Mauna Loa. Danielle is overseeing the future and legacy of the company’s direction into becoming Hawaii’s wellness brand. She believes product development and holistic marketing looks at beauty as a combination of qualities of paradise, creating brand culture and products that empower the mind, nourishes the body, spirit, and evokes emotional health. Join us as we take a deep dive into the health and wellness industry and explore how brands should strive to serve their customers with healthy products.   

“If you’re Hawaii brand, then you’re a brand from Hawaii.” -Danielle Laubenstein

In this episode we learn:

  • About creating a brand community and how to make it be authentic.
  • The difference between a Hawaiian brand and a Hawaii brand or Hawaii owned brand.
  • How Mauna Loa is leading the naturals industry in staying true to its purpose of caring for everyone’s needs.
  • The concept of giving back and social responsibility or reciprocal responsibilities, where that comes from, and how it affects Danielle’s leadership style. 
  • About how Danielle is mentoring women, especially women of color, and why it’s important for her.
  • What the word Kuleana means and the importance it has within the Hawaiian culture.
Gooder Podcast

Leaders, Brands and the Hawaiian Value of Kuleana featuring Danielle Laubenstein, Godiva Chocolatier

About Danielle Laubenstein:

Danielle has worked in CPG Health and Wellness, as well as in the global travel luxury confectionery space for over a decade for companies such as Chocolove, Godiva and DFS. 

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellelaubenstein/

Websitehttps://www.maunaloa.com/ 

Show Resources:

Godiva Chocolatier is a Turkish-owned chocolate maker that is jointly owned by Turkish conglomerate Yıldız Holding and MBK Partners. Founded in 1926, it was purchased by the Turkish Yıldız Holding in November 2007; then MBK Partners bought a stake in 2019. 

Chocolove is a chocolate manufacturer with headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Timothy Moley. The company produces all-natural and organic chocolate bars. Chocolove imports chocolate and cocoa butter from Belgium to produce its chocolate.

DFS Group is part of the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), and a pioneer in luxury travel retail.

Hawaiian Host is the original chocolate-covered macadamia. Hawaiian Host is also the largest manufacturer of chocolate-covered macadamias in the world, as millions of boxes of our treats are shared all over the globe.

The Hershey Company, commonly known as Hershey’s, is an American multinational company and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world.

Project Potluck is a professional community founded by People of Color with a singular mission: to help people of color build successful companies and careers.

Lei Day is a state-wide celebration in Hawaii. The celebration begins in the morning of May first every year and continues into the next day. Lei day was established as a holiday in 1929. Each Hawaiian island has a different type of lei for its people to wear in the celebration.

Siete is a Mexican-American food brand, rooted in family that makes delicious grain-free products.

Books Mentioned:

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Inspiration Built From Grit featuring Ayeshah Abuelhiga, Mason Dixie Foods

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Ayeshah Abuelhiga, The CEO and founding partner of Mason Dixie Foods, the fastest-growing frozen baked goods company in the US. Ayeshah has thrown out the rule book, to excel in a male-dominated industry. Through sheer grit and tenacity, Ayeshah is pursuing her vision of flipping the comfort food industry on its head. In this episode we talk about how growing up in a multi-culture family influenced Ayeshah’s view on the importance of healthy food and inspired her to start her own company.  She also discusses the history of Mason Dixie Foods, why she built the company, and how she’s grown it into a wildly successful brand. 

“When you’re an emerging brand, you’re a startup and you’re creating an identity for yourself, it’s important to really think functionally about who you’re trying to be.”  – Ayeshah Abuelhiga 

In this episode we learn:

  • The origin story of Ayeshah and Mason Dixie Foods and how she landed on the name. 
  • Why immigrants have the fire to achieve their purpose, and how immigrant culture gives them strength.
  • How powerful it can be when men and women work together, rather than being set against each other.  
  • The importance of choosing the right partnerships, customers, and agencies for her business.
  • About the hurdles that women, people of color, and other minorities often face in business and how to overcome them.
  • Some fun facts about bread, and advice for the customers.
Gooder Podcast

Inspiration Built From Grit featuring Ayeshah Abuelhiga, Mason Dixie Foods

About Ayeshah Abuelhiga:

She is the CEO and founding partner of Mason Dixie Foods, the fastest-growing frozen baked goods company in the US. She was voted one of Entrepreneurs Magazine’s 100 powerful women in 2020, as well as one of the top 100 women in grocery 2020 by Progressive Grocer and a top 10 D.C. innovator in 2017. She has worked front of the house positions for major fine dining restaurants and hotels, while also consulting and managing, marketing and business development projects for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Toshiba, and Audi. One of her biggest professional accomplishments is hiring an incredibly diverse team of 15, each of whom shares her commitment to providing the best frozen baked goods in the world.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajabuelhiga/ 

Website: http://www.masondixiebiscuits.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ayeshahabuelhiga/?hl=en 

Show Resources:

Mason Dixie Foods: makes the most buttery, crumbly, gooey baked goods by taking the highest quality natural ingredients out there and mixing them with ice-cold butter and fresh-from-the-cow buttermilk. There’s nothing artificial in the biscuits, scones, or sweet roles and zero prep. 

Project Potluck: is a nonprofit leadership and mentoring program founded by people of color with a mission to help people of color build successful companies and careers in the CPG Industry.

Progressive Grocer: is the voice of the retail food industry for nearly 100 years by providing the latest news, consumer trends, data and insight.  

Better For You Foods: is the creator or award-winning natural food products for retail and private label consumers. 

Partake Foods: creates delicious, real and healthy snacks, free of the 8 most common allergens. 

Females in Food: helps foodpreneurs experience exceptional business and financial growth.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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The RIGHT Strategic Partner for your Naturals Brand

There are times when even the smallest business decision feels like life or death. When, despite your experience, smarts, and leadership position you hear that voice that says: What if I get this wrong?

Happens all the time. We’ve seen companies delay (often for years) committing to an initiative or innovation because executives can’t make up their minds or fear making the wrong choice. The same goes for beginning a branding project or even choosing an expert partner to help with the work.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you’re in charge of a brand and it’s clear that you and the company need to make some changes. But you’re not exactly sure what the problem is, and so you’re challenged to choose the right team. You might delay getting started, or break a big project into small chunks that don’t effectively tackle the larger issue you need to resolve. (We understand; we’ve coached marketing leaders in your chair before.)

Recognize What’s Giving You Pause

If you’re hesitant to engage a strategic partner or commit to a project, it might be helpful to first understand why. A few insights:

Some organizations are built for comfort, not for speed. Even if your brand was founded on passion, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the growth of the organization may have dampened those early risk-taking tendencies. As the company has added staffers, won fans among consumers, built retail partnerships, and grown revenue, decision making becomes more difficult. The stakes feel higher. Your butt’s on the line, and you’re afraid of making the wrong choice.

Two, growth tends to throw even upstart brands out of alignment. When your organization isn’t aligned to a common cause, personal agendas overwrite the brand’s mission and purpose. Decision making is tainted by individuals’ preferences and interests. The more people you ask for input, the harder and more confusing it is to make the right decision.

Let’s also acknowledge the immense anxiety that’s pervading society and, by extension, business right now. Uncertainty breeds fear and indecision.

What to Expect When You Engage the Right Strategic Partner

Which marketing strategist is the right group for us to partner with? Do we even need outside help? What should we hire them to do? What if we make the wrong choice?

If uncertainty is in the way of your decision, then knowing what to expect may help sweep that aside.

Imagine what is possible when the brand is surrounded by a team of internal and external experts who are passionately committed to the cause. When you bring to the table expertise that your bench doesn’t currently have and an objective point of view that your internal folks can’t possibly possess.

An outside partner — the right outside partner — will help you see the opportunities right under your nose that you’re too in the weeds to see. They’ll walk alongside your team, sharing expertise and experience, helping you make the decisions with confidence and bravery. They’ll give you tough news gently and cheer your wins enthusiastically.

When you build a team that includes both internal and external experts, you establish a think tank around you that elevates your own expertise. You have weapons and systems at your fingertips that you didn’t have before.

A strategic partner can also help you undertake challenges that your team has been struggling with for years. They can diagnose problems and prescribe solutions quickly so the organization can spring into action. In our experience, any hesitation that marketers feel about letting outside experts in the door evaporates as they see the big picture, understand what they need to do, and become hopeful instead of skeptical about the future.

When prospects make the decision to enlist our brand strategy help, they become lighthearted, relieved, open to change — frankly, they’re jacked out of their gourds. (To be clear, we’re not for everyone, and that’s okay.)

As a sign-off, I’ll share a bit of reassurance: The risk isn’t choosing the wrong outside partner. Because even if it’s not the right fit, you’ll still gain a ton of valuable insight. The risk is to not engage at all.

So …

Trust your instincts.

Reduce the number of people you’re talking to about this initiative to your mentors or closest business partners. The more you shop around a decision like this, the more conflicting opinion you’ll hear.

Be afraid and do it anyway. Any fear lies in the decision-making process, not the decision itself; you just need to get over the hump.

Understand the reality of what you can and can’t do. When you hold off making a bigger commitment to a strategic partner, you may instead try to chip away at your business problems piecemeal.

Know that in any engagement with outside expertise you’ll gain intelligence and insight, change the way you think as an organization, and start to see your blind spots. You can’t really blow this decision.

Ready? Give us a call.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Mentoring the Next Generation of Leadership featuring Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Creamery

Meet the Tesla of the natural foods industry, the queen of vegan cheese, epicurean activist, and mentor of entrepreneurial rock stars .

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Miyoko Shinner, Founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. She’s on a mission to empower aspiring and established food and beverage entrepreneurs alike to manifest their dreams, think outside of the box and simple – get out of their own way on their road to success. We discuss her own personal journey of exploration, changes she’d like to see in the naturals industry, and the overall need for mentoring and professional support communities for all levels of entrepreneurs.

“ The biggest obstacle to success can be ourselves.” – Miyoko Schinner

In this episode we learn:

  • Why it is important for entrepreneurs to understand corporate leadership behavior.
  • How the lack of diversity of leadership in the Naturals Industry impacts our ability to deliver on the needs of consumers.
  • The importance of balance in diversifying leadership.
  • Tips on how to create company cultures that allow women to openly express ideas.
  • Common missteps women make while climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Miyoko’s wish for women leaders as they embrace their professional journey.
Gooder Podcast

Mentoring the Next Generation of Leadership featuring Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Creamery

About Miyoko Schinner:

Miyoko Schinner is founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. An epicurean activist and leading voice in the future of food, Schinner is known as “the Tesla of the natural foods industry”. Guided by her principles of compassion and justice for all living beings, Schinner pioneered the plant-based dairy revolution by leveraging her vast experience as a chef, former restauranteur, best-selling cookbook author, and a founding board member of the Plant-Based Foods Association. An animal rights advocate, Schinner co-founded Rancho Compasión, a nonprofit animal sanctuary in California that provides home to over 70 rescued farm animals.

Guests Social Media Links:

Website: https://miyokos.com/pages/story

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miyoko-schinner-6a47204

Twitter: https://twitter.com/miyokoschinner?lang=en

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miyokoschinner/?hl=en

Show Resources:

Miyoko’s Creamery – Miyoko’s Creamery is the leading organic plant dairy creamery that’s reinventing the dairy industry. Led by epicurean activist Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s has cracked the code to plant dairy by combining old-world cheesemaking artistry and traditions with whole food technology to craft world-changing cheese and butter from plant milk, not cows. Today, Miyoko’s products can be found in more than 15,000 retailers nationwide and in Canada, including Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Kroger and Safeway.

The Plant Based Foods Association: is the single most important trade organization representing the interests of plantbased food companies. We are proud to partner with PBFA in creating a more level playing field for plantbased food companies.

SWEET EARTH Foods: it’s their mission to inspire a modern culinary movement powered by food that’s good in every sense of the word.

Rancho Compasión: they provide a home to previously neglected, exploited, and abused farm animals.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Brand Slam Episode 5 – featuring Plant Works

Brand Slam 5 – Finding Your True Audience and Standing Out in a Crowded Category

Download now to watch this fun and informative webinar where we audit Plant Works’ brand ecosystem and identify gaps, highlight opportunities and help the team understand where to focus her marketing spend.

Brand Slam was created by Retail Voodoo to help CPG entrepreneurs in food, beverage, and wellness reduce their struggle with brand growth in the face of Covid-19. Using the auditing process models created by Retail Voodoo to develop Brand Ecosystems, (which we’ve used for some of the world’s most beloved brand and featured in the book Beloved & Dominant Brands,) we will benchmark Plant Works and provide strategies to help Anna, Trever and the rest of their team regain brand traction.

More About Plant Works: Being workout and protein fanatics, trying to maintain a better-for-you, more plant-centric diet, they made the switch from whey protein powders to plant protein powders. They soon grew tired of drinking terrible tasting shakes, made with low-quality proteins that lacked the right ratio of essential amino acids to help our bodies recover, so they decided to make their own. 18 months and many failed attempts later, they finally built a formula that met their goals. They combined a blend of high-quality plant proteins with super herbs, adaptogens, added BCAA’s and a few other natural ingredients to create a great tasting plant-based performance protein powder that helps the body recover, rebuild, and repeat.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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Never Give Up featuring Denise Woodard, Partake

Gooder Podcast featuring Denise Woodard

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Denise Woodard, CEO and Founder of Partake Foods: a brand of allergy-friendly snacks inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies.

Denise takes us on a journey of discovery as she tells us the story of tackling her daughters’ dietary restrictions while meeting her sweet tooth “demands”. With a little tough love from her daughter’s childcare provider “Your daughters’ diet is boring.”- Denise embarked on a journey of discovery and perseverance learning to bake, develop product, start-up and run a company and developing it into a beloved industry darling. Along the way we hear about the 86 investment rejections, road trips selling product out of her car, to becoming the first black woman to raise a million dollars in seed capital for a packaged food brand.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis and inspiration of Partake.
  • What is driving the demand for allergen-free foods.
  • How Denise plans to support the growing needs of the allergen-free consumer.
  • How food and beverage brands can improve their listening of consumer needs – beyond product development.
  • How Denise is supporting other BIOPIC women in the industry.
  • The ways Denise stayed inspired during the early days of fundraising and growing Partake.
  • The advice that Denise gives new food and beverage entrepreneurs.

“Successful people are just regular people who want to solve a problem and are very passionate about it.” – Denise Woodard

Gooder Podcast

Never Give Up featuring Denise Woodard, Partake

About Denise Woodard:

Denise Woodard is the Founder/CEO of Partake, a line of allergy-friendly snacks inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies. Since launching in July 2017, Partakes first product – delicious, nutritious, allergy-friendly cookies – can be found in over 2,500 retailers including Target, Sprouts, and Whole Foods Market. The company has been featured by People, Black Enterprise and Entrepreneur and, in June 2019 closed a seed round of funding led by JAY-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners.

Prior to launching Partake, Denise spent a decade in consumer-packaged-goods at various Fortune 100 companies. Most recently, she held the title of Director, National Sales in Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands division. Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an MBA from Arizona State University. She lives in Jersey City, NJ with her husband, Jeremy, and their 5-year-old daughter, Vivienne.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisegwoodard/

Website:  https://partakefoods.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PartakeFoods/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/partakefoods/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/partakefoods

Show Resources:

Partake: Our products give delicious peace of mind to those with dietary restrictions… and “how is this so good?” enjoyment to everyone else.

Marcy Venture Partners: Co-Founded by Shawn Carter (JAY-Z), Jay Brown and Larry Marcus. The firm has a passion for building game-changing consumer businesses and mass-market brands that resonate with culture across products and services, media and technology. We combine unique access, instincts, deep networks, operating and venture capital expertise to be long term partners in growth.

Whole Foods Market : An American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.

Honest Tea: A bottled organic tea company based in Bethesda, Maryland. It was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. The name is a pun on the word “honesty”.

Food Equality Initiative: Improving the health and ending hunger in individuals diagnosed with food allergies and celiac disease through access, education and advocacy.

Frito-Lay: An American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato ships and other snack foods.

Stacy’s Rise Project: Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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all Insights

When and Where are the Most Powerful Times to Use Consumer Insights

Our experience with clients has shown us that when it comes to consumer data, there are two camps. Some organizations can’t make the simplest decision without tons of research to back it up; some disregard research entirely and go with gut instinct.

Of course, the reality is that Beloved & Dominant naturals brands make the best decisions with the right combination of data and “feels.” Research without analysis is just a bunch of statistics. And decisions without data are just guesses.

To use research properly—whether it’s a Usage & Attitude studytrend research, syndicated retail sales data (SPINS), or focus groups—you need to overlay the findings with your brand’s mission and vision. Analyze the data through your brand lens—that’s where you’ll find actionable, “decisionable” insight to guide everything from channel expansion to product development to messaging.

When to Lean into Consumer Data

One of the greatest decision-making vulnerabilities in our naturals category is our collective tendency to assume that our consumers are just like us. Especially in brands led by a creative founder who innovated a special product and grew a business around it, leadership believes that the brand’s tribe consists of like-minded and like-lived fans. Practically speaking, consumer insight can be a daily reality check against our biases.

Brands often don’t seek insight without a pain point. When one of these challenges starts to emerge or there’s a pattern, you should seek it out:

  • You’re not getting the velocity you predicted, want, or used to have.
  • You’re losing ground to competitors that are more trend aware and innovative.
  • Retail partners are less enthusiastic about your offering and are shelving your products less prominently.
  • Store brands are eroding your traction.
  • You’re seeking to widen your audience beyond the consumers you currently serve.

Major disruptions like the current pandemic are also ideal times to procure consumer insight. For example, The Hartman Group is publishing research on how Covid-19 is affecting grocery shopping habits.

What Data Can Tell You—and Can’t

Generally, we don’t conduct focus groups with our clients. There’s a time and place for them, but they’re not relevant for developing the big brand strategy that we work on. Focus groups and other primary consumer research yield a small sample size of opinions that can help you make tactical moves like line extension or packaging design messaging hierarchy:

  • the general look and feel (e.g., I like that photo, logotype, colorway)
  • I would tell my friends about this product
  • I may prefer vanilla vs. chocolate
  • the benefits claims would influence my decision to buy the product

Consumer feedback and syndicated data can’t offer wisdom about how people connect with your brand on a deeper level:

  • how your brand fits into their lives in a cultural context
  • how they behave when your product is one of many in a consideration set
  • where they would expect to see your brand
  • what is the best sequence for your innovation pipeline and channel strategy

When you’re developing a brand strategy, it’s essential to bring intuition and expertise to shopper research; often, that takes outside consultation. You can ask consumers all the questions you want, but they can’t do the critical thinking for you.

How to Manage Data

If you’re a data-driven organization, your opportunity is not to gather more, but to organize and rationalize what you have so it’s useful. Often, brand teams have so much information that they’re paralyzed. To better manage existing consumer research:

Get it organized. Take inventory of the consumer data you have, and in what format it exists. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business and see if your IT team can build a dashboard that aggregates multiple reports.

Keep it current. As we like to say, data is like in-laws and fish—really good fresh, not so much after a week. Consumer research generally has a 12-month shelf life before it becomes outdated. If you’re relying on three-year-old data to make decisions, you’re immediately behind the curve.

Spread it around. Your sales team has data, your marketing team has data, your retail partners have data. Share it across the organization and take key decisions out of business silos.

Consumer Data Plus Brand Insight

Beloved & Dominant naturals brands combine information with insight to make the right decisions. It takes overlaying the brand mission and vision to create analysis in order to inform those “gut” decisions. Without the strategy, the understanding of the consumers, the point of view—you can’t prioritize options and make decisions.

Research alone is just a set of numbers; its power emerges when you gain clusters of nuance within the data that takes a strategist and marketing team to translate and respond to. Ignoring data would be foolish—but to know what to do with it, that’s the magic.

Think of those “hidden picture” games you had as a kid, where you’d have to lay a sheet of red acetate over the page to see the full image. Analysis—ideally from an outside advisor with tons of expertise and zero bias—is the red acetate that reveals your brand’s path. If you are ready for that external eye – or maybe just thinking about it – drop us a line and let’s talk.

David Lemley

David was two decades into a design career with a wall full of shiny awards and a portfolio of clients including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nintendo, and REI. His rocket trajectory veered when his oldest child faced a health challenge of indeterminate origin. Hundreds of research hours later, David identified food allergy as the issue and convinced skeptical medical professionals caring for his child. Since that experience, David and Retail Voodoo have been on a mission to create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable food system for all.

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