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The Evolution of The Natural Products Industry and The Acceleration of Better-For-You Products’ Consumption featuring Cynthia Tice, Lily’s Sweets

Gooder Podcast featuring Cynthia Tice

“Better-for-you Foods was here to stay, and more consumers wanted it, but that required education.” – Cynthia Tice

This week on the Gooder Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Cynthia Tice, the Founder of Lily’s Sweets. We discuss the history of Lily’s Sweets – a leader in the no added sugar movement. We also learn about the history of the naturals industry and some trends that have come up in the natural products industry and Better-For-You brands. Along the way, we learn the extraordinary journey of a passionate leader in finding and building a creative naturals community through Lily’s Sweets. 

In this episode we learn: 

  • The legacy and history of Lily’s Sweets. 
  • Cynthia’s journey of dispelling myths around using naturals products throughout her career. 
  • How the pandemic has given consumers a reset moment to reevaluate health and consumption habits. 
  • The evolvement of the natural products industry and accessibility to naturals/Better-For-You products.
  • About Cynthia’s emphasis on leadership, mentorship, and the importance of creating a collaborative culture.
  • How a do-it-yourself mentality is a strength and (sometimes) a challenge for entrepreneurs.
  • The advice she finds herself consistently giving entrepreneurs who have been approaching a professional transition. 
Gooder Podcast

The Evolution of The Natural Products Industry and The Acceleration of Better-For-You Products’ Consumption featuring Cynthia Tice, Lily’s Sweets

About Cynthia Tice: 

Cynthia Tice got her start in the natural foods industry before green juice was cool. She opened a natural foods grocery store, Center Foods, in Philadelphia in 1978, and owned and operated that store for 20 years. As supermarkets realized the staying power of natural and organic foods, Tice began consulting retailers on how to launch or build out their natural and organic offerings. She also began advising brands looking to launch natural and organic products. While working with a client who wanted to launch a natural soda, Tice became aware of the opportunity for naturally sweetened, no added sugar foods. This trend was emerging because of growing consumer sentiments to limit sugar, along with all time high levels of distrust of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners. 

As a long-time user of stevia, when the ingredient was granted GRAS status in 2008, Tice began experimenting with making chocolate with stevia to satisfy her own need for a no added sugar chocolate (her favorite food) that she could eat daily. In 2011, the recipe was perfected using not only stevia, but also the finest Fair Trade, additive-free, and Non-GMO other ingredients in order to benefit both people and planet. By 2012, Lily’s Sweets was on shelves in Whole Foods stores nationwide. Today, Lily’s Sweets remains a leader in the no added sugar movement through continued innovation, and the company’s chocolates and confections can be found in more than 24,000 stores nationwide. Lily’s Sweets has been recognized by Forbes as a, “mission-driven company reinventing the packaged food industry.” 

Cynthia stepped away from the daily running of Lily’s in 2018, and spends her time working with Non-Profits, and mentoring young entrepreneurs.  She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Dennis, of 30+ years, near her parents, her children, and their spouses/partners, and four family dogs! 

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthia-tice-4a87a648/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LilysSweets/?ref=page_internal 

Website: https://lilys.com/ 

Show Resources: 

Stevia is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, native to Brazil and Paraguay. The active compounds are steviol glycosides, which have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar, are heat-stable, pH-stable, and not fermentable. 

Alar Scare – In early 1989, the NRDC released a report on Alar, a chemical used to harvest apples. The report estimated that Alar caused cancer and children were at greater risk. 

Mothers & Others, a campaign that rallied concerned citizens who supported NRDC in the fight for tougher pesticide residue standards, standards that—thanks to a law passed 10 years later—would protect particularly vulnerable subpopulations such as infants and young children. 

FMI Corporation For over 65 years, FMI has been the leading management consulting and investment banking* firm dedicated exclusively to engineering and construction, infrastructure, and the built environment. 

Campaign to label GMOs: Using the hashtag #ConcealOrReveal, the campaign reached over 28 million people through social media. In addition to mobilizing American consumers around GMO labeling, Just Label It! won support from many food companies it targeted.  

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., is a privately held American supermarket chain; it is headquartered in Gates, New York. As of March 2021, Wegmans has 105 stores in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions.  

Acme Markets Inc. is a supermarket chain operating 163 stores throughout Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and, as of 1999, is a subsidiary of Albertsons, and part of its presence in the Northeast. 

VMG  is an organization comprised of diverse people and points of view, and we are aligned in our mission to challenge the status quo. We encourage everyone in our ecosystem to cultivate a safe space in your communities and to operate with compassion and empathy. 

Maxlove Project is an innovative, parent-driven, volunteer-powered, grassroots nonprofit organization founded to help SuperKids thrive against cancer and related life-threatening illnesses with integrative medicine and “Fierce Foods” anticancer nutrition. 

The Family Thrive delivers strategies, tools, and experts that help families create joyful, meaningful, thriving lives.

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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When Comfort and Innovation Collide featuring Tanu Grewal, ALEN Group

Gooder Podcast featuring Tanu Grewal

“You have to be so progressive to be able to go against the norm.” – Tanu Grewal

This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Tanu Grewal, the Vice President of Marketing, Innovation, and E-commerce for AIEn, USA. We discuss how and why a company that has traditionally targeted a conventional consumer decided to tackle green cleaning by developing the new Art of Green brand. We also learn how the brand’s innovation and marketing will target some trial and conversion issues of many of the most hesitant conventional consumers. Along the way, we learn the story of a feisty and inquisitive leader who brings a contrarian view of leadership, innovation, and life to every opportunity and conversation.

In this episode we learn:

– A little background about the newest green cleaning brand called Art of Green.
– About assumptions and missed opportunities that the green cleaning industry
should be tapping into related to consumer adoption.
– How the years of working in a parallel industry allows her to approach the
category and production innovation in a new way.
– Why aroma is a big driver of category success.
– How to extend the life of your job title beyond the magic 18-month timeframe.

Gooder Podcast

When Comfort and Innovation Collide featuring Tanu Grewal, ALEN Group

About Tanu Grewal:

Tanu is a global brand builder and strategic marketer with over 15 years of experience working in mature and emerging markets like US, EMEA, and India with companies in the CPG, durables, luxury, and hospitality industries. She is passionate about using brand purpose to help drive innovation and marketing that creates real value and emotional engagement with consumers.

Reporting to the CEO, Tanu is currently the Vice President of Marketing & Innovation at AlEn USA, a growth stage division of the global ALEN Group. One of her top achievements in this role has been the launch of a natural, green cleaning brand called ‘Art of Green’ that just won the prestigious Product of the Year award. Prior to this, Tanu has worked on iconic brands like Kohler, Maytag, and Whirlpool where she elevated commodity categories to lifestyle brands through a combination of award-winning
product design, disruptive innovation, and experiential marketing.

Starting her career with Whirlpool North America, Tanu held a variety of marketing and product development positions over 8 years including an ex-pat stint in Italy. Tanu holds an MBA degree from Rice University in Houston.

Outside of work, Tanu is passionate about creating communities that enable people to thrive. Currently, she serves on the International Student Advisory Board at Rice University and as a board member for the South Asian Women’s Professional Network.

As a public speaker, Tanu’s topics include launching and scaling a challenger brand and standing out in a crowded market through creative marketing. As an Indian woman, living in the US and working for a Mexican company (AlEn), she also speaks on navigating multicultural work and market landscapes. Tanu has been interviewed by Forbes and delivered the keynote address for Coke FEMSA’s Annual D&I conference in
Mexico City, Women’s Masters Network’s Annual Meetup 2020 and the Houston AMA’s Quarterly Luncheon.

An avid traveler and consummate foodie, Tanu lives in Houston with her husband and son.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanugrewal/
Website: http://www.alenusa.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tanu_Grewal
Personal Website: http://tanugrewal.com/

Books Mentioned:

Unfinished: A Memoir by Priyanka Chopra – From her dual-continent twenty-year-long career as an actor and producer to her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, from losing her beloved father to cancer to marrying Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s story will inspire a generation around the world to gather their courage, embrace their ambition, and commit to the hard work of following their dreams.

Show Resources:

The Art of Green –  product line offers consumers an affordable and high-performing natural cleaning alternative that is priced for everyday use.

Kohler Co. – founded in 1873 by John Michael Kohler, is an American manufacturing company based in Kohler, Wisconsin. Kohler is best known for its plumbing products, but the company also manufactures furniture, cabinetry, tile, engines, and generators.

The Maytag Corporation –  is an American home and commercial appliance brand owned by Whirlpool Corporation after the April 2006 acquisition of Maytag.

The Whirlpool Corporation–  is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances, headquartered in Benton Charter Township, Michigan, United States.

South Asian Women’s Professional Network (SAWPN) – SAWPN was created to bring together and engage women across various industries, nationally. Our goal is to build a strong networking base to support, mentor, and celebrate successful, strong, and vibrant women across the country and within our communities.

HINT – an American beverage company based in San Francisco, California, as an alternative to soda and sugar beverages. It was started by former AOL employee Kara Goldin.

Amazon.com, Inc. – 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.

Connect with Diana
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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.

Connect with Diana
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You Can’t Do Good In The World By Yourself featuring RaeJean Wilson, GloryBee

Gooder Podcast with RaeJean Wilson

In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with RaeJean Wilson, Director of HR/Communications of GloryBee – a supplier of natural and organic ingredients to manufacturers, bakeries and consumers for decades. We discuss the how the naturals industry has changed (and stayed the same) since the company’s founding in the 1970’s as well as how the brand has evolved from a simple expression of love to one of stewardship for the greater good. Along the way we discuss the efforts GloryBee is making to ensure the future of honeybees, and to make sure the brand continues to stand as a leader and information source for farming practices as they relate to pollination, general food production and the overall health of our planet.

“It isn’t about one business or one company; it’s about all of us doing things together to make this world better.” – RaeJean Wilson

In this episode we learn:

  • The challenges and joys of leading a brand through the evolving naturals industry.
  • How farming practices have evolved and how the introduction of food science has affected the honey and sweetner industry.
  • How RaeJean and her family have managed transitional leadership change.
  • Why food is considered a love language.
  • How bee propagation is instrumental in the success of an industry that is leaning more and more heavily into plant-based diets and products.
  • Why leadership doesn’t need to be heavy-handed to be effective.
Gooder Podcast

You Can’t Do Good In The World By Yourself featuring RaeJean Wilson, GloryBee

About RaeJean Wilson:

RaeJean Wilson is the daughter of GloryBee Founders Dick and Pat Turanski. RaeJean has served in the family business in several capacities for 25+  years. After earning a BA in Public Health at the University of Oregon, her focus was on sales and building GloryBee’s customer base. RaeJean now serves as GloryBee’s Director of HR and Communications, overseeing marketing, human resources, safety, sustainability, and community outreach.

RaeJean is married with two adult sons and a daughter. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, wine, and travel.

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raejean-wilson-9154221ab/

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

Instagram: https://instagram.com/glorybeefoods/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GloryBeeFoods/

Show Resources:

GloryBee – With over 45 years of experience in the natural foods industry, we have been supplying natural and organic ingredients to Pacific Northwest natural food manufacturers, bakeries, and shops for decades. It’s likely that you’ve enjoyed our ingredients in your favorite natural and organic prepared foods and restaurant meals! You may even have a jar of our honey, coconut oil or natural sweetener in your pantry at home.

SAVE the BEE: Led by GloryBee, the SAVE the BEE Initiative is a partnership of researchers, beekeepers, businesses and consumers committed to protecting honey bees.

B-Corp – Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Seattle Pacific University: is a premier Christian university that equips people to engage the culture and change the world.

The University of Oregon: is a public flagship research university in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1876, the institution’s 295-acre campus is along the Willamette River.

Franz Bakery: is a source for the highest quality breads, bagels, buns, English muffins, cookies and more.

Eugene Mission: We are not a homeless shelter in the traditional sense. While we certainly provide our guests with food and shelter – and do so with an abundance of God’s love.

Oakshire Brewing: is a community-inspired, small-batch brewing company founded in 2006. We are locally owned, employ 24 people, and produce a wide variety of fresh, quality beers through our three distinct brewing programs.

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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Leverage Your Network to Maximize Business Opportunities featuring Ashley Hartman, Bluestein Ventures

Finding an investment partner, at any time, is no easy task. It’s not unlike soccer or football. The greater the number of shots on goal, the more likely to score a goal. But for young entrepreneurial brands, many entering business ownership for the first time, a capital raise can be a complicated and grueling task that can make or break a business owner’s dreams.

In this episode, I had the privilege of chatting with Ashley Hartman, Senior Principal at Bluestein Ventures, a family-backed venture capital fund that invests in the future of food. Ready to provide insights into a new way of seeing the capital raise. Ashely shares how investment and venture capital firms have taken the opportunity of the 2020 events to re-evaluate how, where, and with who they do business with. She shares how this year has become an opportunity to get better and stronger, meeting not only business but personal goals. Along the way we learn the importance of being a good community partner and how investing beyond a financial commitment has become a cornerstone in her firms’ success.

“People need to be utilizing their network a little bit more and asking a little bit more.” – Ashley Hartman

In this episode we learn:

  • The reason why Ashley and Bluestein Venture focuses on helping brands in Seed to Series A stage funding.
  • The ways investment firms are finding and supporting brands during this time.
  • The criteria and evaluation tools that Bluestein uses when courting brand opportunities.
  • The key differences in communicating with serial entrepreneur’s vs the home-grown “Hatchery” style entrepreneur.
  • About diversity initiatives in business and how Bluestein is able to outreach to those communities that traditionally haven’t had accessibility to capital investment.
  • Where Ashley derives her energy to keep on pushing hard to meet her goals and those of Bluestein’s brands.
Gooder Podcast

Leverage Your Network to Maximize Business Opportunities featuring Ashley Hartman, Bluestein Ventures

About Ashley Hartman:

Ashley is Senior Principal at Bluestein Ventures, a family-backed venture capital fund that invests in the future of food. Bluestein looks for game-changing, early-stage ventures across the food industry that redefine how consumers achieve their health and wellness. Our investments span the entire value chain – both B2C and B2B – with a focus on four areas: high-growth consumer brands, proprietary foodtech, next-gen commerce, and value-add digital technology. At Bluestein, we’re active investors, going beyond capital to help its portfolio companies develop, iterate, and implement their go-to-market strategy to achieve product-market fit and set the foundation for scale.

Ashley is involved in all areas of Bluestein, including screening, due diligence, portfolio company support, as well as firm development and strategy. She has extensive experience leading growth strategy and establishing scalable infrastructure necessary to build sustainable ventures, honing these skills throughout her time running and scaling her family’s business, working on new ventures at Coinstar, and her experience in financial consulting. Active in the Chicago food community, Ashley serves on the Selection Committee and Associate’s Board of the Good Food Accelerator and is a mentor at Food Foundry and The Hatchery. Ashley received an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School and a BA in Political Economy, summa cum laude, from Williams College.

Outside of Bluestein, you’ll find Ashley on her yoga mat, exploring Chicago on foot, hiking up a storm when she can escape to the mountains, or at a contemporary art museum. A health & wellness nut, she’s been vegan for nearly eight years, but doesn’t preach!

Guests Social Media Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyhartman2/

Email: ashley@bluesteinventures.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/a_hartman1

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

Show Resources:

Bluestein Ventures – We invest in the future of food. We’re looking for game-chaigne, early-stage ventures across the food industry that redefine how consumers achieve their health and wellness. Our investments span the entire value chain – both B2C and B2B – with a focus on four areas.

Chicago Food Community – A united community effort working to bring food, dignity and hope to Cook County neighbors.  They act as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs which provide food where it’s most needed.

Good Food Accelerator – The Good Food Accelerator gets emerging Good Food CPG brands ready for prime time, giving them the skills to scale up

Food Foundry – A Chicago-based growth accelerator program by Relish Works built in partnership with Gordon Food Service and 1871. It supports, connects, and propels innovative startups who are reimagining the food industry.

The Hatchery – A non-profit and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build and grow successful businesses.

Yerbae – A line of zero calorie sparkling waters that are enhanced with a blend of yerba mate, white tea extract, and guarana seed extract.

Coinstar – An American company operating coin-cashing machines

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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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.

Connect with Diana
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Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain featuring Thereasa Black, Amore Congelato

Gooder Podcast with Thereasa Black

In this episode, I had the privilege of interviewing Thereasa Black, CEO and Founder of Amore Congelato, a start-up gelato brand taking a different approach to treats, community and the definition of success. Thereasa takes us on a journey of being a professionally driven single mom finding a way to develop a dessert that her daughter fell in love with, while Tereasa was deployed overseas, to create a new opportunity for her family and her community. Along the way we explore the hurdles of starting a new food brand with no experience in food or frozen desserts, CPG, or retail.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis and inspiration of Amore Congelato.
  • How Thereasa’s military experience influences her decision making and level-headedness.
  • How to stay focused on the mission of a company regardless of challenge.
  • To always have a real plan B, ( and C).
  • How leaning into other people and resources can help at every level of business.
  • How to stay inspired when working through unfamiliar situations.
  • That the real key to success is balancing work life with personal life.

She leaves us with a word of advice: “Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals.”

Gooder Podcast

Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain featuring Thereasa Black, Amore Congelato

About Thereasa Black:

Thereasa Black is an attorney, Naval Officer, and the CEO and founder of Amore Congelato, a company that makes all-natural, nutritious gelato and sorbet that contains zero cane sugar.

In March 2018, a month after she was sworn into the Maryland Bar and a week before her daughter’s 2nd birthday, Thereasa was deployed to Djibouti for a 13-month deployment.  This was Thereasa’s 4th deployment, but her first as a mom. Every day away from her daughter was s struggle because her toddler, who believed that Thereasa had dropped her off and moved to a new home, was suffering greatly.

Thereasa knew immediately that she couldn’t deploy again and that returning home and practicing law working 8o hour weeks was also not an option, so she decided to start her own business. She chose gelato in honor of the last food that she and her daughter shared before their long journey apart. Thereasa had made an ice cream cookie cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday the night before she deployed. It was the first time that her daughter had ice cream and she fell in love with it.

Thereasa decided to make an ice cream that was nutritious so that she would be happy to allow her daughter to eat it. She removed all of the cane sugar and replaced it with a tasty combination of date syrup, agave nectar, and coconut sugar. It has up to 16 essential vitamins and minerals and 24 grams of protein. Now her daughter can enjoy gelato that has more nutrients than kale and Thereasa will never have to leave her side.

Guests Social Media Links:

Email: CEO@amorecongelato.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thereasa-m-black/ 

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

Instagram: @amore_congelato

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Amore+Congelato&sp=EiG4AQHCARtDaElKT19UdkVqMVB0b2tSLTJXTkdvWjBlU1E%253D

Show Resources:

Amore Congelato: Gelato sweetened with dates, coconut sugar, and agave nectar. Zero cane sugar.

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. That’s why Stacy’s is sharing our resources with other female-founded businesses like those founded by these 30 women. Support them by adding their products and services to your cart.

HelloAlice: Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs – all for free.

MassChallenge: MassChallenge was founded in 2009 with a singular purpose – to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures.

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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Naturals Brands: You’re Missing Your Biggest Target Audience

In the hypercompetitive naturals category, brands define the natural consumer in a very narrow way: rich, suburban, white, educated, able-bodied, and already healthy.

But that overlooks a huge audience of consumers just waiting for these brands to find them.

Naturals brands are tripping over each other to reach the same defined audience. These consumers are fickle, quick to flip from one brand to the next. In other words, companies are fighting with each other and spending tons of money to reach the same volatile market.

Why?

If you’re a marketer in this category, we’d like to introduce you to a different group of consumers hungry for your better-than products: low- and middle-income families.

Consumers of Modest Means & Why They Matter to Brands

You may imagine that your prototypical fan is a suburban white mom active on Instagram and into health and fitness. So your better-for-you product might be just right for her. But she doesn’t really need your brand.

Who does? Consumers of more modest means who actually need products that can help them lead healthier lives.

These consumers look different from your model fan. These families are more likely to be of color, disabled, or LGBTQ+. They live in urban or rural—not wealthy suburban—areas, where access to healthy food choices is more limited. There are myriad reasons—financial, cultural, logistical—why these folks think differently about health and wellness than the consumer you’re currently reaching.

Before you dismiss the idea of connecting with them, realize this: While spending power remains concentrated with upper-class shoppers, the middle and lower class represent a far greater portion of the population. As of 2018, 52% of American adults qualified in the middle class and 29% in the lower class. There’s a vast market to be tapped.

And as Emily Brown of the Food Equality Initiative told me in our recent discussion for my Gooder podcast, these consumers are incredibly brand loyal—because their spending habits and budgets don’t allow for shopping around. Once they land on a product or brand their families prefer, they stick with it.

Why Are These Consumers Overlooked?

These folks are out there—why don’t marketers see them?

A big part of it is innate bias in our industry. In the natural food and beverage category, marketing is all about finding your “tribe”—consumers who buy into your brand’s values and see your products as a way to express their affiliation with those values. We assume those fellow tribe members are just like us. We don’t see consumers who don’t look like us, and most of us are white, educated, and reasonably well to do.

The early adopters of natural food and beverage products were a bunch of 1960s and ’70s countercultural hippies who were concerned about the commercialization of food and farming and who advocated for whole, unaltered, healthy food. Then and now, founder-owners of better-for-you companies tend to be entrepreneurs with enough capital to launch, manufacture, and scale a business—and executives and investors in the category are predominantly white and wealthy as well. Our category is a closed-loop.

So what has this navel-gazing approach to product development and marketing yielded?

  • High price points for products that aim to benefit people and planet
  • Flavor profiles and niche ingredients that aren’t widely appealing
  • Exclusive channel strategies that don’t bring products to the consumers who might want them
  • An implicit belief that only white suburban folks want to live healthy lifestyles

In short, the naturals industry has evolved beyond the reach of people who are new to the idea of eating whole, healthy foods.

How to Reach Low- and Middle-Income Buyers

Here’s the upside: Naturals brands, with their powerful missions to improve lives, should find it easy—indeed, critical—to reach these underserved audiences. If you’re a thriving naturals brand, you’ve already invested in the consumer education platform of your Brand Ecosystem—it’s the very foundation of your communication strategy. You know how important it is to teach people why your brand matters and what your products can do for them.

Mission and education: Check. So it should be an easy lift to reach out to a broader audience.

A couple of points to think about:

Understand who these consumers are. Shift your research mindset from transactional (who buys what) to empathetic (what do they need in their lives). The right syndicated consumer data exists; you just have to ask for it in different ways. Seek research that shows where, why, and how these kinds of consumers shop. Collaborate with retail partners that have access to that information; they’re also interested in reaching that consumer.

Reach them where they are. Our category shares so much education, but it’s pointed to people who already buy into our brands, not to people who are early in the journey. Don’t ostracize them; welcome them with information that’s helpful to their lives and interests. Same goes for product development. Consumers of modest means may be taking small steps toward eating healthier and may not care about ingredients like kale or chia or Himalayan salt. A baked corn chip may be the ideal option, for example, for the consumer who wants an alternative to fried snacks but isn’t keen on organic vegan lentil puffs.

Get samples into their hands. On a limited budget, a middle-class mom can’t afford to try three different healthy snacks to figure out which one her kids will like. So find ways to get a free trial to her. Once she’s formed a preference for your product, she’ll stick with it.

Get over your high-priced mindset. Leaders in this market attach too much clout to offering an expensive product. Drop the snobbery. The idea that people with restricted income won’t buy is false. When they’re shopping a category where they don’t have a brand affinity, they will buy on price—but if they have a brand preference, they will always spend on that product. They just have to feel a connection to the brand.

There’s nothing wrong with creating a niche product that’s more expensive—but if you’re mission-driven and trying to save people and planet, then your goal should be to go mainstream, expand your market, cost engineer production, and lower your retail price.

Embrace a vision that’s big enough that your goal is to get your product into everyone’s hands. And if you’re not quite sure how to make that happen – drop me a line.

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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Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People featuring Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery

Gooder Podcast featuring Natalie Shmulik

In this episode of Gooder I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery, a food incubator just outside downtown Chicago. The Hatchery is a powerful initiative that brings a community of innovators along the entrepreneurial path and launches the dreams of owning and running a business to communities that have not traditionally had this access. We learn about the resources The Hatchery provides and how we as a community can provide our expertise, in big and small ways. And why Natalie believes in the power of community.

“Whenever speaking with an entrepreneur, you should always make sure that if you are going to provide feedback or input or a suggestion, that you coach them to believe that the idea was their own.”

In this episode we learn:

* The genesis of The Hatchery and why it is fast becoming a beloved innovation partner to the food and beverage industry.
* The common challenges of budding and small entrepreneurial food and beverage brands.
* Why exciting innovation comes from under-represented entrepreneurial brands.
* About the symbiotic co-learning traditional CPG’s and entrepreneurial brands share in their journey with The Hatchery.
* How coach-ability is a make-or-break trait for leaders and how to vet for coach-ability in your recruiting process.
* How to become a Hatchery brand or partner.
* About Natalie’s trend forecasting super-powers and how it supports The Hatchery’s entrepreneurs.

Gooder Podcast

Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People featuring Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery

About Natalie Shmulik:

Natalie Shmulik is The Hatchery’s CEO, and go-to resource for everything food business related. Along with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, she has a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies, and food service establishments. After successfully operating her own restaurant, Natalie was hired as a specialty consultant for one of Ontario’s largest supermarket chains where she enhanced consumer experiences through educational initiatives. Discovering her passion for innovation, Natalie was brought on as a brand strategist for the first cold brew tea company and later moved to Chicago to run The Hatchery Chicago.

With over six years of food incubation experience, Natalie has gained a unique perspective on the industry and what it takes to launch and grow a successful business. Natalie is a regular contributor to Food Business News, was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune’s 10 Business People to Watch in 2020 and received the Specialty Food Association’s award for leadership in vision. She continues to play a valuable role in branding and marketing for food businesses around the country, with her specialty in trend forecasting.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalie-shmulik-1432313b/

Email: info@thehatcherychicago.org

Show Notes:

The Hatchery:  A non-profit food and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build & grow successful businesses.

ICNC: Industria Council of Nearwest Chicago offers entrepreneurs an innovative community to grow small businesses through incubation, workforce development, neighborhood planning, and business advising.

ACCION: A nonprofit microlender providing small businesses with loans at an early stage, particularly to support those that aren’t bankable yet.

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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Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change featuring Kim Gibson Clark, Coconut Bliss

Gooder Podcast featuring Kim Gibson Clark

In today’s episode I had the privilege of interviewing Kim Gibson Clark, CEO of Coconut Bliss, a fearless woman and a great leader. Kim takes us on the journey of growing up in a farming family and how those principles translate to her leadership style and apply to the direction she is taking her brand towards.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis of Coconut Bliss – and learn more about Luna & Larry.
  • How Kim’s upbringing impacts the operational and social initiatives of the brand.
  • How the HumanCo partnership allows Coconut Bliss to advance their sustainability and environmental initiatives while evolving and to meet the needs of the modern diverse consumer.
  • How having an open mind and leading with love – allows the brand to have powerful and productive conversations.
  • Why converting the family farm business, from conventional to organic, is a bigger initiative than simply making a better-for-you product.
  • How immigrants are key to the success of farming and ranching and advancing the organic movement.
  • The plans that Coconut Bliss has to expand social and business initiatives.
  • About a fun and new innovative product delivery and product offerings to engage with consumers in a new way.
Gooder Podcast

Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change featuring Kim Gibson Clark, Coconut Bliss

About Kim Gibson Clark:

As a leader in local, national and global communities, Kim Gibson Clark has led Coconut Bliss as CEO since 2010. Throughout her time at Coconut Bliss, Kim has influenced real and impactful action in key areas, such as Coconut Bliss’ operations as an environmentally conscious company, creating transparency and insight into food production, and spotlighting the importance of supporting local and family-run businesses. As President and CEO, Kim is proud to have led Coconut Bliss’ transformation from a locally beloved ice cream company to one of the most acclaimed sustainable plant-based companies in the United States.

Kim is a board member of Oregon Tilth and Lane Food and Beverage Sector Strategies, working to make the state’s food and agriculture biologically sound and socially equitable through the initiatives of certification, education and advocacy. She is also a board member of Oregon Support Living Program (OSLP), which works to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, bringing them into the fold of their communities. Prior to working with Coconut Bliss, Kim spent eight years as General Manager of Lochmead Dairy, where Coconut Bliss Pints and Cookie Sandwiches are manufactured. Throughout her career in the frozen dessert industry she has developed an unwavering standard for quality, and a commitment to organic and sustainable business and ingredient sourcing practices.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-gibson-clark-a570066b

Email: Kim@CoconutBliss.com

Show Resources:

Coconut Bliss – At Coconut Bliss, all of our products contain organic ingredients that are minimally processed, ethically sourced and divinely delicious. Every dairy-free, plant-based pint, ice cream bar, and cookie sandwich is crafted with our signature care and commitment. Even our packaging is plant-based and sustainable! With a belief in quality over quantity, community, organic ingredients, and doing good for the world we try to make everything we do blissful.

HumanCo – a mission-driven private holding company that invests in and builds brands focused on healthier living and sustainability.

WAND Water Agroforestry Nutrition Development Foundation – The WAND Foundation provides social development programs with an emphasis on biodiversity, the environmental and agricultural sectors, and rural entrepreneurship for local communities in the Philippines. In collaboration with Science for Humanity, WAND aims to explore the use of treated household waste as fertilizer for crops and vegetation.

B-Corp – Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Loop – Loop Industries, Inc. is a technology company whose mission is to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable PET plastic and fiber and away from our dependence on fossil fuels. Loop owns patented and proprietary technology that depolymerizes no and low value waste PET plastic and polyester fiber, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets and textiles of any colour, transparency or condition and even ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and salt, to its base building blocks (monomers). The monomers are filtered, purified and polymerized to create virgin-quality Loop™ branded PET resin and polyester fiber suitable for use in food-grade packaging, thus enabling our customers to meet their sustainability objectives. Loop is contributing to the global movement toward a circular economy by raising awareness about the importance of preventing and recovering waste plastic from the environment to ensure plastic stays in the economy for a more sustainable future for all.

Project Drawdown (Paul Hawkens) – The World’s Leading Resource for Climate Solutions. Founded in 2014, Project Drawdown® is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.

Monteez – Insanely delicious plant-based dairy staples you won’t want to live without.

Miyokos – Founded on the principle of compassion for all living beings, we’re on a mission to craft dairy products we all love, 100% from plants, making them kinder, greener and tastier than ever before.

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