In a world where lean, successful companies are often bought out by massive conglomerates, Beaverton Foods, a condiments business founded in 1929, has remained true to its roots of being a family-owned business with a focus on producing quality products and taking good care of its associates.
The CEO of Beaverton Foods, Domonic Biggi, speaks with ChefsBest on this episode of Just a Taste about the company’s humble beginnings during the Great Depression as well as what business is like today. He also shares insights on working with family, appreciating the hard work and sacrifice of older generations, and not being afraid to fail when releasing new products.
Stefan Gates is an author, TV presenter, and self-proclaimed “gastronaut” who is obsessed with the strange and adventurous stories behind food and digestion. His interest in food began while he was attending Oxford University. As a poor college student, he couldn’t exactly afford to take a date out to a nice place, so naturally he learned to cook. Later, he got fed up with wimpy food writing and decided to try this sort of writing out for himself, and voila! He found his passion experimenting with recipes and blowing up food for fun.
From the most excited descriptions of food you may ever hear to the different ways people taste to the moral importance of playing with what’s on your plate, Gates ushers us through a fascinating and creative exploration of food in this episode of Just a Taste.
With hundreds of billions of dollars lost each year to food waste, the food system has a serious oversupply issue. Food waste continues to be a massive problem while 68% of farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy and 42 million Americans are food insecure. Notice the discrepancy here? So does FoodMaven.
Lots of people have tried to solve the food waste problem, but FoodMaven’s model, which is currently running out of and will be expanding from Colorado, is different. After all, the startup was able to secure investor funding and board representation from big-names like Walter Robb, who is the former co-CEO of Whole Foods, and the Walton family.
Patrick Bultema is chairman, CEO, and co-founder of FoodMaven. This startup ain’t his first rodeo though; FoodMaven is “CEO Gig #7” for him. In this episode of Just a Taste, Patrick tells us all about the causes and effects of food waste as well as FoodMaven’s innovative solutions to this pressing issue.
Phil Lempert, cleverly known as the Supermarket Guru®, has been identifying impending trends in the food and beverage industry for over 25 years. In this episode of Just a Taste, we learn what started Phil down his path, trends such as intelligent search engines that are re-shaping the industry, and what consumers these days are really after when grocery shopping. We also discourse on the importance of taste to the consumer, how we really ought to listen to millennials instead of bashing their ideas, and even which app can help you pick out the best seafood.
Think about your oven and your refrigerator for a second. What do these items have in common? For one, they’re kitchen appliances. Less obviously, though, they often lack the ability to connect to the Internet of Things and your phone, in particular.
Innit is seeking to change this reality. Speaking with Josh Sigel, Chief Operating Officer at the newly launched startup, we learn about the need for bringing digital conveniences into the kitchen through a common platform. Through the Innit app, users can receive personalized meal recommendations, grocery shopping lists, and video preparation instructions. Innit is also partnering with major manufacturers like LG and Bosch to connect its app with appliances in order to optimize the cooking process through, for instance, cutting out the need to manually preheat your oven.
As the world’s first app offering a hands-free navigation experience with Google Home, Innit also allows users to place their phone on the counter and navigate through the app using Google Home without even touching their screen. Pretty convenient when your hands are sticky with bread dough.
In addition to covering neat features of the Innit app, we also go into depth in this episode about the trend toward hyper-delivery in which the frequency of grocery delivery will increase while the quantity per delivery will continue to decrease. Such hyper-delivery affords consumers more flexibility with what kinds of meals they have to choose from while decreasing food waste.
Be on the lookout for Innit as the next big thing digitally connecting your kitchen!
41 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they don’t know for sure if they’ll have their next meal. Despite its high prevalence domestically, hunger is often stigmatized and, thus, not talked about. With so many people lacking awareness of food insecurity, Cathy Davis joined Feeding America as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer to help shed light on the issue. She explains how, as the third largest nonprofit in the nation, Feeding America is a powerful and efficient food-alleviating machine. It has 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens and boasts that about a third of the food it provides is produce. Moreover, the organization partners with companies across the food supply chain to create highly efficient distribution networks. Learn more about the issue of hunger in America and how you can help alleviate it in this podcast.
When you think of really fun store brand packaging, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It would be no surprise if “Trader Joe’s” was your answer as the mostly private label grocer has long been a leader in creating interesting, clever designs out of packaging that could easily be very basic.
In this episode, we speak with David Ziegler-Voll, who was formerly Trader Joe’s Senior Package Designer for ten years and is now Creative Director at Marketing by Design. Having designed about 150 Trader Joe’s SKUs a year, Ziegler-Voll highlights important packaging design tips from his extensive first-hand experience. Ziegler-Voll, for instance, suggests designers remember that the "brand book" (i.e., the stuff about a brand's font type, color, etc.) only tells so much about a brand, and it certainly does not convey authenticity, cleverness, or specialness to consumers. You might need a little out-of-the box thinking for that.
As fresh design efforts are poured into the growing private label segment, food and beverage brands can learn much from the man who helped make Trader Joe’s packaging so memorable.
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 cashews. 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.