As someone who keeps close tabs on the restaurant industry, Bret Thorn, Senior Food Editor for Nation’s Restaurant News, has tried fares ranging from fermented Icelandic shark to Japanese shrimp ganglia. In this podcast, he shares his knowledge on foodservice operations and trends. We learn that being a chef is now “sexy,” that restaurants are increasingly sourcing locally, and where to find the best affordable foods when eating out.
Don Larson was once a highly successful executive at Hershey with a Porsche and a hot air balloon. But disillusioned with corporate life, he sold all his toys and, together with his wife and youngest child, moved to Mozambique to offer hope to one of the world’s poorest countries. Sunshine Nut Co was born out of a vision to help orphans, widows, and everyday people struggling in poverty through offering them the opportunity to work their way out of poverty, giving them a hand up – not a handout. Now distributed in major retailers like Whole Foods and Wegmans, Sunshine Nut Co creates dignified jobs in cashew farming and processing for Mozambican people. By the way, 90% of the company’s profits go straight back to the impoverished communities wherein it sources its premium nuts. You now have a new nut brand.
Mark Mallardi is Executive Director of Strategic Development for the NEXT Data & Insights division of New Hope Network, which combines proprietary knowledge and deep industry expertise to help brands understand and identify opportunities within the natural food and beverage landscape. In this podcast, we get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company’s operations, as Mark describes the steps it took when creating a comprehensive blueprint for bringing one South American super fruit to the U.S. market. We also learn how the tide is turning at major CPG companies, as they acquire natural foods startups and have outposts in Silicon Valley to keep tabs on innovation in the natural space. Finally, we are reminded that, in order to be successful in the hyper-competitive space of natural products, brands need to have a strong identity and purpose that resonates with their consumers.
From meeting consumer demand to stretch dollars during the Great Recession to now helping retailers differentiate themselves, store-owned brands have seen notable growth in recent years. In this episode, Christopher Durham, private brands expert and president of My Private Brand, walks us through the evolution, current state, and possible future of private brands. We also explore such topics as how millennials affect the store brand trend and which marketing strategies work for store brands.
How do two previously competing brands come together to build off one another’s strengths? In this podcast, Adam Beane, senior brand manager of Conagra’s protein snacking group, and Erik Havlick, co-founder and VP of sales for Thanasi Foods, provide firsthand insight into this question as their category-sharing brands – Slim Jim, Duke’s Smoked Meats, DAVID Seeds, and BIGS Seeds – now fall under the same umbrella following Conagra’s acquisition of Thanasi Foods. Our guests also dive into the growth of snacking, nuances behind the category, consumer market segmentation, creating a continuum of options for consumers as they mature, and the importance of brands’ identifying and sticking to their brand story.
Dan Klein, CEO and co-founder of Tiesta Tea, tells the story of how he and his childhood friend took a trip to Prague, discovered loose leaf tea, and decided to found Tiesta Tea. As #759 on the Inc. 5000, Tiesta is not only growing at a rapid pace; it is also giving back to the community in unique and inspiring ways.
Having come from a Korean background and held positions at Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Wook Kang shares insights into hallmarks of Korean food as well as the importance of honoring culinary traditions more broadly. The life of a chef instructor, surprising skills required of culinary students, and the persevering trend of fusion cuisines constitute just a few of the diverse topics Kang walks us through in this latest episode of Just a Taste.
In this podcast, we learn about stevia’s history, chemical properties, and relevance to sugar-related disease. Carol May, CEO/Chairman of Wisdom Natural Brands which produces SweetLeaf Stevia, enlightens us on the efforts of her late husband James to bring stevia to the US. Additionally, Carol discusses the long, yet rewarding journey from developing stevia product with her husband out of their garage to, now 35 years later, seeing wide distribution of SweetLeaf Stevia in over 30 countries.
In this episode, we hear from Jeanne David who, in addition to being founder and president of Outer Aisle Gourmet, is an outstanding health advocate and humanitarian in her own right. Jeanne describes her and her husband’s journey into their permanent dietary change of cutting out breads and other foods with a high glycemic index and how they have shared their health passion with consumers. She also fills us in on some fun ways one can easily use cauliflower as a delicious bread alternative.
Everybody has a story. Everybody has a start. In this episode with the private chef for Kevin Durant, Chef Ryan Lopez explains his evolution from teenage busboy to culinary graduate needing a job to, now, one of the key players in setting up the NBA Champion for success. Listen to learn Kevin’s favorite meal and what Chef Ryan might make if guests, like Kevin’s mom or teammate Steph Curry, were stopping by.