Running a Successful Wellness Beverage Brand Featuring Angela Zeng, Karviva

How do you provide wellness through healthy drinks — and run a successful brand?

More people want to consume healthier foods and beverages — and it’s up to entrepreneurs to leverage this. Angela Zeng believes that earth has provided us with an abundance of simple, natural, and nutritious plant-based ingredients — not just to sustain life, but to help it flourish. With this in mind, Angela started her beverage brand to take care of people in a natural way. Now, she’s sharing the challenges and lessons she has learned while running her company.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Angela Zeng, Founder and CEO of Karviva, to discuss her entrepreneurial journey running a successful, healthy beverage brand. Angela explains where the idea for Karviva came from, how to manage food waste, the challenges and lessons she learned maneuvering a young, growing brand in the beverage industry, and the impacts of veganism and plant-based foods on the American diet.

In this episode we learn: 

  • Angela Zeng talks about Karviva and what it stands for
  • Angela explains where the Karviva product idea came from
  • Angela talks about food waste, how to solve this problem, and what people should know about low-carb diets
  • How Angela knew that she was headed in the right direction
  • Angela’s experience maneuvering a young, growing brand within the beverage industry
  • Generational differences in driving innovation and running businesses
  • The impacts of veganism and plant-based foods on the American diet
  • Angela shares a fun fact about postbiotics
Gooder Podcast

Running a Successful Wellness Beverage Brand Featuring Angela Zeng, Karviva

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About Angela Zeng

Angela Zeng is the Founder and CEO of Karviva, a wellness beverage brand. Angela has over 17 years of experience within the functional beverage and juice industry. Her passion for natural healing is rooted in her strong belief in traditional Chinese medicine and herbal sciences. Angela’s heritage and passion for Eastern medicine, combined with her education and experience in modern medical research, motivated her to create something new for consumers.

LinkedIn Leigh Keith : https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelazeng1/

Website : https://karviva.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Transcript:

Intro 0:05 

Welcome to the Gooder Podcast where we talk with powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo. A brand development firm guiding mission-driven consumer brands to attract new and passionate consumer base crushed their categories through growth and innovation and magnify their social and environmental impact. If your brand is in need of brand positioning, package design or marketing activation, we are here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com.

Diana Fryc 0:43 

Hi, Diana Fryc. Here I am the host of the Gooder Podcast where I get to talk with the powerhouse women in the food, beverage and wellness categories about their journeys to success and their insights on the industry. This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo. Retail Voodoo is a brand development firm. Our clients include Starbucks, Kind, Rei, PepsiCo, High Key, and many other market leaders. We provide strategic brand and design services for brands in the food wellness and beverage industries. So if your goal is to crush your competition by driving growth, and disrupting the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call and let’s talk. you can find out more at retail-voodoo.com. Now today I am going to introduce Dr. Angela Zeng, did I say your last name correctly?

Angela Zeng 1:35 

You said it perfectly.

Diana Fryc 1:37 

Okay, today I get to introduce Dr. Angela Zeng who is the founder and owner of Karviva a wellness beverage brand. Dr. Zeng I’m going to call you Angela. Angela has over 17 years of experience within the functional beverage and juice industry. Her passion for natural healing is rooted in her strong belief in traditional Chinese medicine and herbal sciences. Angela’s heritage in and passion for Eastern medicine, combined with her education and experience in modern medical research, motivated her to create something new for consumers that we’re going to learn more about today. Well welcome Angela, how are you?

Angela Zeng 2:24 

I’m doing really well, Diana, really appreciate this opportunity. I always enjoy your podcast and the blog articles I receive every week. Sometimes I would read them. You might add, I love new things. It’s a fun reading. It’s not like those reading which puts you into sleep.

Diana Fryc 2:50 

Well, you are a learner. I think you are a learner.

Angela Zeng 2:54 

Yeah, I love to learn. I’m a lifelong student.

Diana Fryc 2:57 

Yes. Where are you today?

Angela Zeng 3:00 

I’m in St. Louis, Missouri. So the heartland, Midwest.

Diana Fryc 3:07 

And now we originally met on a Bev-net-related event. Has it been two years now? Or is it just been a year? I can’t remember.

Angela Zeng 3:16 

Great question.

Diana Fryc 3:18 

I think it might be two years now.

Angela Zeng 3:20 

Yeah, maybe I think the COVID kind of wiped out our track with time.

Diana Fryc 3:25 

Yeah, I think you’re right, my last two years seems to be a blur. Well, that was a fun experience. And I know that we have many connections out in the industry and your name comes up quite frequently pretty well respected particularly in the functional beverages. So it’s really fun to hear people go, have you met Angela Zeng yet? And I’ll say as a matter of fact, I have. So that’s been fun.

Angela Zeng 3:55 

Thank you. It’s always nice to hear that. One thing I was told is our name travels much farther than we would at least exactly right. So think twice what kind of actions you want to take or legacy you want to leave, right?

Diana Fryc 4:15 

Yes, for sure. Well, let’s talk a little bit about your brand. I always like it when a founder-owner especially gets to tell us all the fun parts of their brands. So tell us what is Karviva and what does it stand for?

Angela Zeng 4:34 

Yeah, great question. So Karviva, this is actually the new name of the brand. It used to be Karuna. So Karuna is a real word is a word that means it come from the ancient Indian. is kind of religion. Yes. Right. So it’s one of the four foundation that Buddhists would practice is basically means compassion and the rationale behind is without compassion one would never have happiness, internal peace. I mean, it makes a lot of sense, right? I mean, if you look at a world where you know these days, I mean compassion is one thing were lacking. I mean, unfortunately because I mean we can spend another hour to talk about it any process the food has a big reason to do with it and seriously they are scientific proof that a region of our brand unfortunately got shut down we’re kind of under kind of surprised because process food cause just information and under issues in those area. One of the consequences is as a result the more than human beings like to make decision more like impulsive decisions were more like just add because I’m hungry now I want to do something startled kind of calm down sink a little bit and then take action. But the brand was under Karuna for since 2017 When I started the line and we started to roll out a new line of product does this force recovery juice under Karviva. The reason is people say why you have to brand name back then they of course I didn’t tell them the real reason was not because I don’t like compassion anymore. Because when you try to expand I’m sure you know this better than I do a consumer product like this nationwide you don’t want to infringe on someone else’s trademark. And Karuna is a real word. That means you cannot trademark a real word. It’ll be nice to be my real word that it’s mine. So just out of respect of the law right I had to basically come up with a new name Karviva is the word I made right so I can trademark that is Karuna plus viva. So it’s actually pretty in line with our philosophy, Karuna compassion, it comes from Far East, Viva actually is an Italian word. So probably you have heard Viva Italia, whatever it means long life. Long-life kind of positive sayings lives. So compassion lives long life. So that brand name. So I kind of threw out that this force recovery juice plant and recovery, we just want to see how costumer will react this name. I think most people can pronounce that much better than Karuna because it’s a Indian word. And I got questions from my Indian friends all the times, is this your name nickname?

Diana Fryc 8:01 

Really?

Angela Zeng 8:03 

Yeah, it’s a very popular ladies first name.

Diana Fryc 8:07 

Yes, I interviewed Karuna Rawal actually who is CMO over at what is the name of that company in Chicago? It’s Nature’s Fynd, it’s a mushroom brand actually. I’ll send you the link for that a little bit later that fascinating what they’re doing with that. Basically mushrooms that they found growing within volcanoes that have these amazing health benefits to them. So I’ll send that to you a little bit later. But let’s talk a little bit more about you. So Karuna, Karviva where did this product idea come from?

Angela Zeng 8:07 

Yeah, so basically, it’s not just I’m sitting there, in my kitchen and say, hey, I got this tasty remedy recipe, I need to find a way to make money out of it. It’s not like that. Nothing wrong with that. I know that could be many, many food and beverage entrepreneurs go for your drawing, if that’s what you want. So for me, my past wasn’t even on making food what producing drawings was really, heavily rooted a medical research. But that was the reason I moved to this country back in 1996. I came here to this country to study my PhD in pathology at St. Louis University Medical School here. I spent five years there. My project was mainly focused on endothelial cells so basically is related with cardiovascular disease. I have my research grant from the American Heart Association, unfortunately, and then I After that I went to Northwestern Medical Center I was a postdoc fellow there again study cancer cells how they move at cellular level. So basically is fascinating study them and a superpower microscopes, electronic microscopes and treat them with different things and see what would they do inside their skeleton. So cells like human they also have their own skeleton system fascinate, right? But that was my research topic, but I feel like deep inside I’m always entrepreneur. I don’t know maybe my family gene, my father’s family is always in business. He is an engineer, outlier. And my mom is pretty much the same. So I always want to do some business when I was a little and the other thing is just like a deep liver we’re super passionate about traditional Chinese medicine. I mean basically what happened was when I was about five years old, my mom took me to this herbal shops just to get her herbal remedy prescription fill, it’s like you go to Walgreens or CVS to get your doctor’s prescription field and you start off putting the white pills in your bottle. I saw the herbal pharmacy used to pulling out those little tiny little drawers and use this blurry cube and just kind of scale waiting them and put them like five different bags kind of compelled them together and then just pull my mom go home bottled water in this kind of special clay pot for two to three hours convinced me like when whatever certain kind of volume and you just try and kiss and this sounds like magical. You’re supposed to feel better after five days and I was like all right, this is my toy. Back then I didn’t have any, that was you know old days in mainland China. It was no Barbie doll nothing, that was my toy. I started to collect little herbs in the yard plan up mountains kind of just testing different things really fascinating. I used myself as the guinea pig because of that when seriously don’t try to overdose yourself even with medicinal herbs. Seriously my mom’s side don’t just don’t get a randomly put things together and drink.

Diana Fryc 12:48 

That’s not a good idea.

Angela Zeng 12:50 

But because of that, I collected many remedies, not just self-learned, but I even used some of remedies put them in my, doesn’t matter the blood vessel cells culture or what a cancer cells just totally auto periosteum. I never let my mentor or research laboratory boss know. I’m testing secrete herbal stuff. Well, it’s something I love to do. And after my postdoc follow ship, I want to come back to St. Louis. I was in Chicago, I come back to St. Louis. I went to Washington University in St. Louis for MBA training. Crazy enough right lifelong students. After I graduate my husband’s like you got to start work again. You’re like, okay, I got it. I can’t be useful forever. And I went to work at a pharmaceutical company in the business development and pipeline management division for quite a number of years. Through that, I was like, wow, we got so many products in the pipeline, I mean, pharmaceutical product treatment methods. But if you look at different disease, the incidence rate, the prevalence rate, you see this kind of, like in cells you would love to see that right. I’m like, what is going on? We supposed to treat people better, right? You would think people come hills here. It’s totally the opposite. There’s something going on. I’m just a person always curious about whenever I see it is I start to dig deeper into it. And I had a chance again, I’m a person just has a broad range of interests and also friends as well. I had a chance to help train his family that my family knows to help them to take care of their apple juice concentrate business in the States, this helped them a little bit because they want someone who is trustworthy. They don’t want to trust anyone they hired, they just won’t. I was like, I don’t even know I have time. So I help him. I helped them basically, whenever I could. I was like, oh my gosh, when I look at hauled apple juice concentrate were used, I’m like, I got the answer, because I already know, process like sugar when we over-consume that is so bad for us. So the medical research or those training I got, and I’m like, this is just wrong. And then I still remember when I saw the first line of cold-pressed juice come out, I was like, hurray, this is good, much better, healthier. Not so sugary. But one thing is, again, my curiosity, I started looking to how they produce that. Yeah. I think their initial incentive is great is to provide a healthy alternatives compared to the traditional, like apple juice or orange juice, a way of production is so wasteful. The production yield is less than 30%. Again, because of my cultural background, when I was in kindergarten, the kindergarten teacher won’t allow any kids to live the lunch table until you finish whatever in your bowl. Lunch Box, right? So unlike you throw away more than 70% of the fresh produce, to do what I like, do you make another product do you use it for best they could do is donate to some farms as animal feed? Most actually went to the landfill. When those, food waste is actually the numbers, yeah, it’s the third-factor causing pollution, methane pollution. So I’m like, this is so wrong. Can we just improve the process? Right, you won’t have a healthy product. Hurray, we can do it. But can we make the process better? That’s why I started to get curious as far to, I’m thinking, you know, I know so many remedies. The different like, especially using food to improve health, food recipes, drinks recipes, can I commercialize them, finding a way to produce them that’s much more efficient nationally, and make consumers can easily access them. Because basically, when we chatted a little bit, it is true, also food makers don’t want to just pack whole food and sell them because when you’re in business, all you always ask, where is the value-added steps? What have you done to add value to your final product? So if I’m just packing them is not fancy enough. Not exciting enough for investors. If I do this types of chemical pass that this thing becomes super scientific. I can apply IP protection on to premiums, that becomes almost like making a branded drugs now, right? So, again, but it’s not good for our health is not good for our health. It’s not good for our human health, not good for the planet health. So I’m like, there has to be a way what would consumer want instead of just simply packing whole food into a box or into your bottle? How about eyesores the ingredient has proven health benefits, both from users for a few 100 years, as well as backed by research because in research, I learned there are actually lots of study not clinical study, to show why, like eating consuming more green vegetables or blueberries is good for you. I can keep going to the molecular level. There’s a reason behind it scientific speaking. So I source them from different places and put them into a simple recipe. And then I don’t have to use the kitchen sink approach is the sad synergy because they are food synergy among different fruit groups. It is a mindful production use of mindful formulation. That’s why I started the line. Initially, my incentive was really simple is something healthy, something that’s more efficiently, eco-friendly produced because I just hate wasting. That’s it. I mean, to me wasting is ascendant can potentially bring me to what I was told when I was little sorry. Because I was like, why would waste paper? That’s my cutting tree for no reason. It’s the same thing, if you can’t yield, them don’t take it simple. Yeah, anyway, that’s the reason behind Karviva line, the fundamental philosophy never changed, we changed a package and we changed even the brand name now, but the foundation, the philosophy never changed.

Diana Fryc 20:43 

That’s awesome. So such an interesting background. Because I think a lot of people, particularly in the United States, my parents are immigrants and growing up, it was very much ingrained into us around waste. Eating food close to its natural state was pretty much what we did. Being a kid in the 70s and 80s. Our family was the weirdo because we didn’t eat bologna and wonder bread with mayonnaise sandwiches because that was the thing. We ate rye bread made out of an oven and Whole Foods and all that sort of thing. So very, very interesting to kind of remind people that it really wasn’t that long ago, frankly. CPG started really ramping up in the 50s and 60s, postwar. But prior to that, we were eating a lot of these Whole Foods, we weren’t wasting a lot. And it’s really tricky being in the CPG industry, because on one hand, you have to grow your business, which means selling more, on the other hand, how much more becomes just wasteful. And it’s so hard that tension there right is very hard.

Angela Zeng 22:06 

It is, it is there’s always intrinsic conflict there. I mean, when you grow nationwide, one issue I cannot avoid is you start to have more carbon footprint emission, because your transportation just goes beyond even regional level. On the other side, you also have to think about, I think it’s a balance, if I do this, can I do something else to write that constant negative consequences, but if you only thinking about business as haul, I improve the profit line, nothing wrong with that public trade company, that’s their top number one priority. However, you may fall into the old pattern, you will never jump out the box and think differently, because, well, that’s the proven track record I shall follow if I do those, therefore, I will see my dollars improve by 10%. Right. I always say what is your ROI, what is your weeks, but how do you do a forecast, ideally, someone else already done that?

Diana Fryc 23:21 

You and me, sister, I’m the same boat. Somebody else’s got to have done for me.

Angela Zeng 23:26 

Maybe it’s risky, maybe 90% chance it won’t work. 90% it won’t work. But if 10% chance work you made it way. Who is willing to take that 10%? Well, even less than 10% for a small group of people, but we need those people to make the whole thing better. It is true. So I will say this industry is still think a little bit I will say stillwater traditionally run Yeah, compared to High Tech or human the medical field, right. But on the other side, I do see that because of consumer, people’s desire to have healthier food, food that’s better for everyone on the planet. I see more small brand jumping into the water and start to try to find different ways, that’s the way to go.

Diana Fryc 23:26

Yeah, I got to say that you were so kind and you sent me a sample set of products and I’ve got this one here, this immunity one I really liked the flavor. I drink all of the ones for those of you that listen on a regular basis would not be surprised. There’s a version that has a wine flavor influence to it. And I think I got two or three of those. Those are all gone. So I’m now moving on to the next flavor. And this one is you wouldn’t even guess how the just it’s got this prebiotic fiber and antioxidants, and quite frankly, the sugar content is pretty low. It’s pretty great. I mean, considering, you know, the fact that it is a fruit-based.

Angela Zeng 25:17

Yep. Okay. And I think one thing you just mentioned about fruits, I personally love fruits, I love vegetables. I’m not a vegan per se, I’m mainly plant-based, but I do eat some animal Whole Foods. And I think one thing about the recent trend about low carbs make lots of consumers scared, or they kind of misunderstood what exactly the low carb diet means. It doesn’t mean you should totally deprive yourself from food contain carbohydrate. Because vegetables contains a lot of carbohydrates, fruits contains a lot of carbohydrates fiber is a type of carbohydrate. And then the natural sugar bonded in those fruits are very different than processed sugar. So what happened is because they are bonded and kind of trapped because the sugar and natural sugar or glucose, fructose are trapped in kind of mash of matrix like those natural fibers, things Marco molecules, you take some your body much longer time to digest that. If you just use cane sugar-coated in your water or coffee is a word that was. Yeah, is difference. So deprive yourself on carb, I always mentioned to my friends don’t do the low carb diet unless I mean, because the keto diet was developed in the medical field for epilepsy patients that had no other medical treatment, way to improve their symptoms, and a physician, back in the 70s, tried to keto kind of high fat diet and saw some improvements and become one of alternative treatment methods. excitation. But again, our body especially our heart cells, brain cells, fuel to burn glucose. So when you deprive your body from those, they are some consequences. I mean you can try it out for a week or two just to see how your body reacts with curiosity, but not for the long run. The otter senior ball complex carbs is so rich in beings, lagoons, whole grains, it contains lots of natural vitamins, minerals, in addition to fibers and fibers, we have fibers, just lumps on group of many, many different molecules. prebiotics are one grouping in those prebiotics essential for our lie. So that’s the reason I focus on prebiotic for me again, back then I want to do something. It’s almost like initiate a spherical fire so other people can see it. I was hoping people would copy me. And I’m glad there are more and more prebiotic trends and food out there. Because it’s one important nutrients that has been neglected for so long in the consumer field, and is causing so much health problems.

Diana Fryc 28:32 

Yeah, I agree. Well, so when you first started this brand, or it might be even more recent than just the beginning. How did you know you were headed in the right direction?

Angela Zeng 28:47 

By talking to I listen to the people I serve. It’s not about what I learned. Of course, experts like you, I enjoy talking. Because not I’m not saying oh, we see folks are bad. But their incentive is worried that I mean they can be consumers too. Right? I love consumers of healthy food and drinks. However, it’s not about talking to those folks and say hey, I might on the right track, right? It’s talking to the average people I serve. I want my product to be used and see a difference in their day-to-day life. So when I first started to two years I lost count how many US Dollars something people joke about your you could resell a product. Yes, I’m eager to sell a product, of course, I wanted to. On the other side. Every conversation I had there was basically a data point over my own market research. Is I basically asked them what frustrates you when you pick food you. Depends on a person, I have a standard of questions I asked, I want to collect certain kind of info and that info can change depends on the stage of my business, I want to make sure that what I’m doing is in line with what they want. If I’m doing something they don’t want, why should they pay for my product? Sometimes I get free samples of skincare or whatever, I store them away. I’m like, I don’t care if it is free or not free, right? That’s something I need, right? I mean, again, is I think when you roll out a product, it’s not because or so and so will make tons of money out of it. That’s not your reason. Because so and so make tons of money by doing a sparkling functional drink. That doesn’t mean you’re going to do a sparkling functional drink, and you’re going to make tons of money. There’s tons of them. Unfortunately, people always like to do that. Oh, because someone else did. Therefore, I have this better remedy. Everyone thinks they have the best recipe. Just like we have moms right, where we’re saying we have the best kids in the block.

Diana Fryc 36:00

No, but I really do have the best kids.

Angela Zeng 36:09

I know, me too. The moms, whatever. We need that to keep our days going.

Diana Fryc 36:17

We need this. Yes, absolutely.

Angela Zeng 36:19

Yeah.

Diana Fryc 36:20

Well, I’m curious what it’s like for you in maneuvering kind of a younger growing brand within the beverage industry. The industry itself is pretty homogenous. Still kind of male-dominated for the most part. And I’m curious how it’s been navigating. Are you able to find people opening doors for you? Or are you finding mentors through this process? Or has it been a little bit more of a slog?

Angela Zeng 37:03

Great question. Lots of challenges along the way, but I think I was blessed to have people and most of them I know turning into friends like someone like you, who is willing to share it with some with me. I mean, I love to hear criticism, because that’s the things to keep me kind of improve myself. I don’t view them as unnecessary negative things that upsets me but on the other side, like you said, this industry what I learned very hard to differentiate your brand and your products because there not many things you can do right? All the low-hanging fruits are gone. But again, life is never easy. Like as a mom, I always tell my kids, life is not easy, you always want, well if I do a little bit this therefore I’m going to get out and saris it doesn’t happen that way. On the other side, that doesn’t mean things cannot be done. Again, you have to listen to the people, the consumer you serve, right, understand who you’re serving is the number one thing, you’re not serving everyone. We cannot serve everyone. So it’s okay, when you started online products with a very niche target groups, but listen to them carefully, what they want, what frustrates them, what they’re happy with products they are already purchasing, what they are not happy that they are willing to see a new product come out. And as you said, that’s how you find differentiation that matters. You don’t want to do differentiation that doesn’t matter. And then the other thing is you mentioned about this industry’s has still heavily managed and driven by girl it is too, and that’s not even, I will say that’s pretty common across many other industry, but in this industry in particular I find very interesting is I can give you example. We are certified women-owned also minority-owned that those certification can serve both way Depends on the buyer you talk to you. Let me give you one example. So my business also certified by the as Asian American kind of minority group-owned. A buyer a may say wonderful, I need to diversify my product offering for my shoppers to try where I will consider, at least, set up a call. I was samples, some buyer will say, oh, are you serving the Asian shoppers only? It’s almost like a glass of water, someone would view it half glass full. So it may not like that directly, right. But you can feel that pretty much. You will be pigeonholed because you are women business owner. So, that happens in politics too, right? A large corporation, people will just think women has a scattered mind. We like to save many sayings, and will sometimes can be a little bit emotional. That is definitely pigeonhole stereotypes, you know what I mean? Yeah, and supposed to be like making a firm decision, good decision, because they are pressured to do so. Women can be pressured to do make many decisions too. But we do have to consider many things, we do consider, I will say that emotional intelligence is probably, for most women business owner much higher than the male owner, right? Because something is not about how much you will pay the staff to keep them stay away as a team is how they feel. It’s how they feel working for this brand. Again, I think is through constant education and then finding the buyers or give them the peace, you have to try every single, doesn’t matter. You can say, well, sorry, you guys, your corporate had asked you to have a diversified program, you have to consider a women-owned brand, where you have to have seen a minority-owned brand, right? Can you give it a try? Or I mean, you just have to find all kinds of way. But the real statistics data, I do know about a consumer product. There are several data I saw in the past, one was in the past when I was in business school, and that picture hasn’t changed is 95% of the business they see investors. I’m not saying they see only in food and beverage across all the industry 95% are white males. They wouldn’t invest in white male business startups versus female or minority. That data is shocking, because you know why? They say it’s a human psychology. It’s almost like psychology, because all those businesses or whatever they are right by those type of people, and they have more confidence when trust someone look like them, think like them in similar culture background to run a business. It is true. Well, obviously, if you look at the business success rate or startup race, I will say more than half of the business in the States has started by women. However, we contribute less than 10% of the sales overall. I mean, that’s just a huge I mean, you can say I mean it’s probably because most of the women-owned business are small, right? Small maybe you can say like a flower shop or hair salon, a little restaurant cafe, a business but owned by a woman, whatever. But obviously compared to Fortune 500 at large, how many female? Yeah, you can count them with your fingers. So I think that’s why but again, this is the stereotype is just like, school also girls feel like what I’m afraid of mass. No, you should not be afraid of maths, you can do exceptionally well in maths, have confidence in yourself. Don’t feel like maths is not for girls.

Diana Fryc 39:05 

Yeah, I think a little bit that, I feel like there’s some training going on. When I look at the younger generations. I think there’s a blending. I think the stereotypes are starting to go away. And a lot of what we feel is been trained into us culturally, through education and just through being in business. I’m hoping I’m really hoping I’m looking at my kids who all fit neatly in Gen Z. I see a different language and a different way of relating with other humans than I’ve seen in all of us previous generations Millennials.

Angela Zeng 39:59 

You said it so well. I mean, the topics my kids are learning in school, becomes a thinker that really consider other people’s feelings. So it really, diversify cultural background. I mean people always say well because a lot of corporations are doing that just because it looks good on paper against whether it looks good on paper or indeed it adds benefits. I can tell you indeed it adds benefits because think about the culture we’re seeing now these days. Worry multi-phase people, we have a society of freedom. That means people have showed supposed to have the freedom wash up whatever different religion they believe, whatever the culture or the music or arts they love, and supposed to start a business day all day long. If you wear a uniform, you actually surprising although that’s what happened. I don’t mean to criticize the communist system. That’s exactly if you study the Chinese history why the period that has the most innovation flourished period was many crash so 1000s of years ago because the society was worried open embrace different groups different like, last a minority will buy in certain way, and then once that power become centralized by the king, emperor, they start to surprise everyone that doesn’t say that didn’t think like that. He’s like no, you should only listen to me. I’m the God. And that’s the problem was communist system too, it kills innovation. I’m not saying kill productivity can be super high. Innovation super low because people are afraid. Yeah, if you’re doing something different, you’re like, I’m killing you. You could initiate a whatever rebellion against the mainstream. So what is your definition of mainstream? It mean same thing with who and we always say eat a rainbow how our food union plays because our body and people don’t think you know why we need different color food. Simple because you want to feed the probiotics, those little good bacteria’s even buyers, because they do certain way they’re like little creature living inside are why they’re good ones you know what once means they produce all those seller sync knows that I should go to our brain and tell us what to do what to say, how to think those kinds of things. And when they are so diversifies not about only 10 strings of probiotics those that don’t one have we studied, supplements, right? There’s so many of them in our body, they each have their own patterns and on top of the food they want they all want fibers though, remember that. That’s why he’s called prebiotic, and then prebiotic class. Probiotic becomes post-biotic. What is posed by is like, group of the metabolites side products generated by those good bacteria’s. Yeah, it serve as messengers. It helps our body to function normally. So when you are like for kids, we’re a picky eater. we try to encourage them, don’t be picky eater, and there’s a good reason for it. Same with the culture, you don’t want just hear one voice is it becomes extremely dangerous in the long run. Initially, you may see some benefits because you say something, and we say yes, yes, yes. You have lots of Yes, men around you.

Diana Fryc 39:59 

Oh my gosh, that is a whole other. You and I will have to start our own podcast to talk about that. Oh, my goodness. This is awesome. Now. I’m wondering, we have this really fascinating dialogue before we started chat, before we started recording about this concept of plant-based diet versus veganism and animal protein analogues. And how it’s impacted American diets kind of not in the way that we’ve kind of been led to believe. And it’s kind of in along the line of this probiotic prebiotic and now this post biotic that I’ve never heard of before, I have to investigate that. Can you just, I don’t know if you can just kind of give us your high level on this concept of, what have we done with food by coming up with these food kind of diets or diet plans and then turning the CPG industry? So focused on like, what are we doing to the American diet or to the world diet by thinking vegan or plant-based is going to be the only way to live our lives?

Angela Zeng 45:33 

Wow, that topic deserves a whole session to talk about it because the consequences is huge. The consequences, not just means you it means health, right, every consumers health. And I mean, seriously, what we put in our body, has the biggest impact on our health, on how we feel on our emotions as well. It also has a huge consequences on the environments, and the onset of kind of social disability where I mean, social stability, kind of I always say no, because you don’t again, same thing, you don’t want to have only one voice in a society. And this society becomes, maybe very stable for a very short time, but then the ender pressure is going to grow and it’s going to explode and then you have this chaotic social role, the things like, kind of where you this period. Well, I will say it kind of now, because I don’t know what to say, because the kind of shift of different minority foods, the percentage and a different culture voice, it is true. It’s very natural that what we see nowadays, but on the other side, I always say why want to be vegan? First, ask yourself, my friends always say are you vegan? And I’m saying I’m not, but you the one who do plant-based. I emphasize on whole plant-based because whatever Mother Nature gives us, okay, personally, I do believe there’s superpower in the universe. And you can say you also someone that Jesus or someone is now God. I mean, yes, because we have so many things, research in the lab, I couldn’t explain and they are lots of top scientists would believe that too. I don’t know when does, again, totally different topic. But again, whatever Mother Nature gave us, that’s the superpower we need to respect. Don’t think our human being a God, were recreating the food, Mother Nature already gave us we should utilize the gifts from Mother Nature, utilize it wisely efficiently. Thats all. Don’t over-touch it. The more hands we put on the more human process to stop goes on, we actually introduce more harms, not just to our body, but also to the nature of wellness. So same thing applies to not just apply to animal-based food, like how we trade animals how we farm for all those animals. The same thing, whether we should do men made need, again, men made means the same as men made food, right? It’s the same like lentils, right? Lentils is a beautiful, healthy Lagoon that if you talk to any that I mean, medical doctors who believe Nutrition has an impact on your health, would agree, would encourage you to get it. But on the other side, you see lots of mental chips. If you look at an ingredient, only a very small portion public comfort lentils are probably fillers. So that again, becomes very heavily processed. It’s a Vegan food buys a healthy for you. Is that good for the environment? You need to put a question mark there. I would always encourage look at the real research data, not just Google say someone said that. Or a celebrity said that. Yeah, I’m sorry, celebrities. They are great. They look awesome. But have they done real research work? Probably not. So I would just say again, if you choose to be a vegan for health reason, then choose whole plant-based foods, so either means you have to be really careful choosing the food that has minimal process or you just have to be hardware, do a lot of cooking yourself. What more you can just be smart and you choose the right food from the store and you can still be a healthy vegan. On the other side, if you want to be a vegan, all those the respect of animal rights or save the barn, and I have tons of respect to those, my friends and I personally love animals. One of the reasons I left research is I was getting a little bit just too much for me to handle animals to do experiments. And so I will say again, but when you do this, what’s your way to convince the message is not to do the damage or force your friends to convert to vegan? Because what you believe, again, everyone’s needs is different. You may have friends who don’t want to have heart disease, because they have their family history, who doesn’t want to develop diabetes? Because they see their relatives or their parents have that issue, or Alzheimer with dementia becomes super common nowadays days, mainly due to food again, then you can come and stand by that approach, or you basically, for your animal level, we want to kill less animal is consumed less meat. Why simple. That’s it. If you look at a statistic data, how many turkeys raised and killed just for the thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be amazed, like I couldn’t even believe that data when my kids was doing that kind of fun fact, for thanksgiving, and many, many years ago. Almost like cheese. So many Turkey got raised and killed and so into the trash. I mean, because we want to commercialize everything, we want to make money, right? We want to make money with overproduce them. And then it doesn’t matter. I mean, we only have so many mouths, we can only eat so many turkey. I mean, gosh, it doesn’t matter if thanksgiving or not. And you cannot store them forever. They are big to trash. It is sad. I mean, if we can be very mindful in terms of how we produce things, how we formulate things, we can actually solve how many animal farm animals may not necessarily needs to be produced. It’s not the more the better. If you don’t need to eat the whole chicken don’t eat the whole chicken. I think that’s the key is not just to say, I’m going to force you to switch from a meat lover to a vegan. That’s not going to work for most people, that’s not going to work. There has to be a strategy behind and I think produced a fake me. I mean, the initial kind of, I would say rationale behind it, it’s good. However, now becomes a process that’s very, I wouldn’t say just use a lot of, again, kind of the food science kind of the traditional food science things now. Now in the games, again, that means heavily processed, lots of chemicals, because you want it make it taste and look like a meat I’m sorry, plant-based food world is like a meat. Because just like soy milk, our traditional soy milk would never taste like a milk. It’s different.

Diana Fryc 53:49 

It should be different. I mean, for me, I feel like I’m okay with it being different. I understand the rationale. Like if you make it look and taste and smell like real meat, then you can’t…

Angela Zeng 54:04 

That’s not a reason for you to eat it. The real reason you want to go vegan or plant-based because for your own health and environment. Then forget about the food has to look and taste like a meat.

Diana Fryc 54:17 

Yeah, I think part of that is there wanting to encourage people who are currently not eating a heavily plant-based diet to go that route, but it feels I don’t know, it’s a little tricky for me. It’s a little bait and switching. And how processed can these isolates get before they’re not even a functional for the body? They just become something that goes through the system.

Angela Zeng 54:48 

Again, the problem was processed food, people always say processed food is bad. Most people would agree not as they, the reason is, it’s the same thing. It costs the same you immunoreaction our body would respond to COVID is inflammation. I mean, acute inflammation in COVID is you feel sick right away after you get contract. Here’s the different, you putting those chemicals in your body every day well, even though it might be small dose, it will build up, your body’s constantly have this baseline information. So that’s why over the long time we have diabetes we have obesity is also a disease it’s actually type of cancer now these days, because the fat cells when they overgrow, it’s like cancer cells keep proliferating, and then they start to release that’s the way they were studying the obese patient have more severe reaction to COVID because those cells release those things that cause your body not reacting well. You’re sad, but it is what it is. So I will say last process the food and putting your body in a better. On the other hand, the industry like you said, they want to do something to justify why I want to charge this kind of price why I’m selling it right. Because nobody just wants to sell a bunch of like lentils or beans whatever.

Diana Fryc 56:25 

Well, and I’ll be honest, I like myself a Cheeto. I eat organic food. I eat close to the original food state, but I got to have myself a Cheeto every once in a while. Might be the death of me but I love it.

Angela Zeng 56:44 

Exactly. It’s a balanced life balance. So you cannot deprive yourself from everything you love on the other side cannot be over kind of indulged in candies. When I was little I love candies. But, we couldn’t get candies.

Diana Fryc 57:06 

Right. It’s probably good. Oh my goodness, Angela. I am so enjoying our conversation. Our time is wrapping up. So I want to ask you a couple of last questions that I like to ask everybody and you’ve given us so much information. The first one that I like to ask is Is there kind of like a call at a happy hour fact or tidbit? Something that people can know about like I don’t know that post biotic like what is the post biotic? And why should we care about it? Maybe that’s what you can tell us.

Angela Zeng 57:44 

That’s a great question. Great question. You are way ahead of the wave now curve now right, maybe someone listened to the hogging the r&d hope that will be my new project, post biotic is basically I have to say, think about food. Food is again gifts from Mother Nature. And whenever we feel healthy we feel good after eating is how our bodies react to the food you’re putting is not just food itself is the interaction between your body and the food. So what happened is the post-biotic it basically is the product after probiotic interact or feed on prebiotic. So like I already said prebiotic is a group of fibers that they serve as the only food source for probiotics. So the probiotics is like us they need to eat, those materials needs to eat, what do they eat, they eat certain types of fibers, nastier food that our human cell cannot utilize, their food they love it. They are like when you feed yourself with like lots of fruits and vegetables. Hurray. I have a big face now. I know what they do is when they choose the metabolite product they release because like us we poop. They also poop. But their poops are good for us think about this way, it’s massagers short-chain fatty acids are one of their and that’s essential for many cellular function. It can balance our hormone can impact our mood can basically balance your insulin that will, it does many things. For certain cells function we cannot function without those short-chain fatty acids. The other thing is certain kinds of vitamins, our body won’t be able to produce what they absorb. Only after the probiotic digests the food they love. So you absolutely need that, then you will say how about the bad bacteria? The bad bacteria love processed food. On the other hand, they like sugar for example. And when they released the product, unfortunately when they released whatever your nasty words, right, poop, they are harming your body and not doing your favor, they cost more food craving, because they’re smart. They’re telling you oh, those are the food I like go get another soda. Go get another big burger for me. Get another whatever the deep-fried whatever things chicken or whatever. So fast a post-biotic is the product that I’m interested in to prebiotic or the stuff they like they listed things which are essential for our physiological function.

Diana Fryc 1:00:58 

Oh, my goodness. Okay. Postbiotics, everybody, go check it out. All right. Now, I always like to know. Are there any other women leaders or women rising stars out there in our industry or not that you would like to elevate or simply just give them a shout-out for the work that they’re doing right now?

Angela Zeng 1:01:18 

Oh, gosh, I will see. There should be many. I think there are many food and beverage product line initially started by women. I mean, locally. I know a couple. I think one of them are doing like elderberry-based products. Another one they’ll probably still local. The other one is Vegan cheese maker. Couple of friends female, ladies, and then nationwide, there are so many. I mean, this just amazed me that I’m supporting carnage. I think we need more women going into the food and beverage business, healthy food and beverage business consumer product business. Because think about who does a lot of purchase in grocery store. Moms. You become the potential husband. You already have a shopping list and based on what you tell them, right? We care about our families a lot, care about our kids, care about their health. One day I saw a little kid I love it. He was wearing this t-shirt saying if you love me, don’t feed me junk food. I’m like, hurray, where did you get that t-shirt?

Diana Fryc 1:02:35 

That’s awesome. I love it.

Angela Zeng 1:02:38 

If you love me, don’t feed me junk food.

Diana Fryc 1:02:40 

Yes, you might need to make that T-shirt.

Angela Zeng 1:02:44 

I know we all need that.

Diana Fryc 1:02:46 

Yes. Well, we have been talking with Angela Zeng, founder, and owner of Karviva. Angela, where can people learn more about you and your company?

Angela Zeng 1:02:58 

Our website karviva.com Super easy.

Diana Fryc 1:03:05 

Great. Excellent. Well, I want to thank you so much for your time, Angela. And I’m happy to once again spend some more time with you. I always enjoy our chats and now other people can hear us and how we banter about pretty fun. And I want to thank all of you listeners for your time today. If you really liked this episode, please share it with a friend. Otherwise, have a great rest of your day and we’ll catch you next time on the Gooder Podcast.

Angela Zeng 1:03:36 

Thank you again Diana for the opportunity. I so enjoy my conversation with you, always like chatting with old friends. Seriously.

Diana Fryc 1:03:45 

Oh, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Angela Zeng 1:03:47 

Thank you.

Outro 1:03:55 

We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you haven’t already, be sure to click subscribe and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do gooder.

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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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