NOSH Live | Winter 2017 | Speakers
Founder & CEO, Habit Inc.
Co-Founder & CEO, Once Upon A Farm
John is the Co-founder and CEO of Once Upon A Farm, a company on a mission to build a purpose driven brand focused on reinventing a number of kid-food categories in the US toward better health & nutrition, while driving significant positive social and environmental impact. Company information can be found at www.onceuponafarmorganics.com. Prior to his new start-up, John spent more than 30 years in the natural and organic food industry running businesses with a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility. John was the longtime leader of Annie’s, Inc., a leading natural & organic food brand, in the US from 1999 to 2017. As CEO of Annie’s, he took the company public in 2012 under the symbol BNNY before General Mills acquired the business in 2014 for $820 million. For the following three years John ran the Annie’s operating unit and also advised General Mills’ small business incubator 301, Inc. He was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015 in Northern California. In August 2017, he transitioned into a new role as Chairman of the Bunny, where he continues to work with General Mills to drive leadership in company culture, organic and regenerative agriculture, and strategy support. Foraker received a B.S. in agricultural economics from UC Davis and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Founder & CEO, Saffron Road
Mr. Durrani is the CEO and founder of American Halal Co, Inc. — which markets the Saffron Road brand line of culinary cuisines and plant based protein snacks. Saffron Road is the first halal product to be sold nationally in the USA. Whole Foods has noted Saffron Road as being one of the most successful brand launches nationally in their 30-year history. Saffron Road is now a leading Natural/Organic PLATFORM brand and is sold in over 20,000 retail food stores. According to A.C. Nielson/SPINS Scantrak, Saffron Road is the fastest growing natural frozen entrée brand in USA and nationally ranked #2. Mr. Durrani is a serial entrepreneur and investment professional for almost 30 years, as President of Condor Ventures, Inc., a venture firm devoted to strategic investing in natural food companies. His entrepreneurial ventures have resulted in a successful track record of scaling and growing niche beverage and natural food product lines into mainstream branded companies that also deliver disruptive social impact. Mr. Durrani founded Vermont Pure in 1991. Today, Vermont Pure/Crystal Rock is the 2nd largest bottled water company in the Northeast. Mr. Durrani was also a partner in Stonyfield Farms, Inc., which was sold to Groupe Danone in 2001. He was also a principal of Delicious Brands, Inc., which he scaled, with the financial backing of Carl Icahn, to become the 5th largest cookie brand in the U.S. Adnan also sits on the Board of Directors of Maple Hill Creamery.
President & CEO, Consumer Insight Inc.
For more than 25 years, Lempert, an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail landscape, has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Known as The Supermarket Guru® Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions. As one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts, Phil Lempert is recognized on television, radio and in print. For twenty plus years Phil has served as food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ Today show, reporting on consumer trends, food safety and money-saving tips, as well as showcasing new products, as well as regular appearances on ABC’s The View, FOX Business, Dr. Oz, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, FOX, as well as on local television morning and news programs throughout the country. For almost two decades, he hosted the syndicated show Shopping Smart on the WOR Radio Network and now co-hosts the weekly Lost in the Supermarket podcast on iTunes. Phil Lempert was one of the pioneers of the new information media, founding SupermarketGuru.com in 1994. The website is now one of the leading food and health resources on the Internet, visited by more than 9 million people each year. SupermarketGuru.com offers thorough food ratings, analyzes trends in food marketing and retail, and features health advice, unique recipes, nutrition analysis, allergy alerts and many other resources to help consumers understand their food, health, lifestyle and shopping options. Phil is the founder and editor of The Lempert Report, Food, Nutrition & Science, Facts, Figures & the Future, and The Food Journal. He has been profiled and interviewed by USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek and Ad Age, and is interviewed by hundreds of publications each year. He is also a columnist for Forbes.com. He has served on the Executive Committee of Michelle Obama's Chefs Move to School program. He is the founder and CEO of the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance; and has developed and manages Foodservice@Retail: The Great Grocerant educational program for the National Restaurant Association, hosts and manages the Most Innovative Product Awards for the National Confectioners Association, developed the Supermarket Chef Showdown for the Food Marketing Institute, created and managed the Spud Nation Throwdown Competition for the National Potato Council. Lempert is the author of Being the Shopper and Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. His previous books include: Phil Lempert’s Supermarket Shopping & Value Guide, Top Ten Trends for Baby Boomers and Crisis Management: A Workbook for Survival. He is currently working on his next book which documents the important relationship between Millennials and food - YOLO, The Intersection of The Jazz Age with The Millennials' Passion for Food. Phil Lempert graduated from Drexel University with degrees in Marketing and Retail Management and did his Post-Graduate studies at Pratt Institute. He worked at McDonald’s and Howard Johnson’s before joining his family’s food brokerage firm. Lempert went on to create Lempert Advertising, a full-service, award-winning advertising agency that specialized in food and retail branding, marketing and public relations. A resident of California, Lempert’s roots are in the Belleville, New Jersey dairy farm started by his grandfather. The family food tradition carried on through his father’s work as a food manufacturer, distributor and broker and then to Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru®.
Managing Director, Piper Jaffray
Janica Lane is a managing director at Piper Jaffray focused on providing investment banking and M&A advisory services to consumer companies in healthy, active and sustainable living industries, with a focus on food and beverage, as well as nutritional supplements. Prior to joining Piper Jaffray, Lane was a partner at Partnership Capital Growth, a boutique investment bank providing M&A and private placement services to health and wellness-oriented businesses. Prior to investment banking, Lane was a researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy (CESP) and an equity research associate on Prudential Securities’ energy team. Lane has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received dual bachelor's degrees (international relations and Spanish) with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Stanford University. She spent six months living in Santiago, Chile, as part of her undergraduate education and is fluent in Spanish.
Managing Director, CircleUp
Alison Ryu is a Managing Director at CircleUp, the investment platform providing capital and resources to early-stage consumer brands. In her role, Alison leads investments out of CircleUp Growth Partners, a data-driven, scalable fund which leverages CircleUp's proprietary technology Helio to invest in visionary founders. Prior to CircleUp, Alison was a Vice President at TSG Consumer, where she invested in consumer and retail brands. She also spent a year on the executive team of Backcountry.com, one of the TSG Consumer portfolio companies, where she led brand marketing and product development. Before TSG, Alison worked in investment banking at J.P. Morgan in the Consumer & Retail Group.
Co-Founder, CAVU Venture Partners
Founder, Primal Kitchen
Ancestral health pioneer and ex-endurance athlete Mark Sisson is the bestselling author of the Primal Blueprint and Primal Endurance, and blogger at the top-rated health and fitness website MarksDailyApple.com. He is the founder of several companies: Primal Nutrition, LLC—devoted to designing state-of-the-art supplements that address the challenges of living in the modern world, Primal Kitchen®—delivering uncompromisingly delicious, nutrient-dense foods that are always dairy/gluten/grain/soy free and full of beneficial fats and high-quality protein, Primal Kitchen Restaurants—a franchise of primal/paleo-aligned restaurants that offer healthy, clean and organic fast-casual dining options, and Primal Health Coach—offering an unparalleled and fully-rounded health coaching and business education. Join Mark as he shares over 30 decades of research and experiential learning and unlocks the keys to building metabolic flexibility, becoming a fat-burning beast and taming hunger and cravings forever.
Vice President, Echo Capital Group
Benjamin Levy is Vice President of Echo Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm focused on disruptive consumer packaged goods startups. ECHO combines decades of operational expertise with the dynamic insights of a young team, providing growth capital and strategic collaboration to elevate innovative companies to a new level. At Echo, Ben directs investments for the firm, and provides strategic guidance to portfolio companies through board service. Ben also serves as Private Equity Manger for the international investment firm, Consolidated Investment Group (CIG), where he leads sourcing, diligence, and growth strategy for acquisitions in the food and beverage industry. CIG is the family office behind the co-founder of Hot Pockets®, David Merage, and focuses on investing in real estate, capital markets, direct private equity, and philanthropic activities. Echo Capital Group and CIG combine their expertise and resources to collaborate in exciting transactions in the food and beverage space and beyond.
Sabrina Merage Naim
Principal, Echo Capital Group
Sabrina Merage Naim is the Principal of Echo Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm focused on disruptive consumer packaged goods startups. ECHO combines decades of operational expertise with the dynamic insights of a young team, providing growth capital and strategic collaboration to elevate innovative companies to a new level. Sabrina also serves as the Director of Corporate Strategy for the international investment firm, Consolidated Investment Group. CIG is the family office behind the co-founder of Hot Pockets®, David Merage, and focuses on investing in real estate, capital markets, direct private equity, and philanthropic activities. Echo Capital Group and CIG combine their expertise and resources to collaborate in exciting transactions in the food and beverage space and beyond. Sabrina also runs the Sabrina Merage Foundation. Founded in 2008, the Foundation exists to build bridges between diverse societies through educational programs for young people. She has been invited to speak at conferences all over the country for family members and advisors alike, and has been featured in magazines and business articles for her work with ECHO, CIG, and the Sabrina Merage Foundation.
Founder and CEO, ForceBrands
Josh Wand is the Founder and CEO of ForceBrands, which offers executive search services, board of director assembly and industry-specific job boards for the consumer product industry. Wand founded ForceBrands in 2007 with the understanding that people are a company's greatest asset. What began as BevForce quickly expanded into other forces: FoodForce and BeautyForce. All of these forces make up the greater good: ForceBrands. Now in its tenth year, ForceBrands works with emerging and enterprise brands to build their teams and help people at all stages of their careers. Wand attributes the company's success to the unique qualities and dedication of the people involved. Prior to creating ForceBrands, Wand held positions at Southern Wine & Spirits, AV Imports, and Sidebar Spirits in roles that included business development, management of a national sales and distribution network, and staffing the organization and instituting educational training programs for hotels and restaurant groups.
EVP, Retailer Services, SPINS
Kathryn Peters has served SPINS for 10 years across numerous key areas of the growing business. Her commitment to and passion for retail inspires her work developing and sustaining valuable retail relationships at the foundation of the SPINS ecosystem. Kathryn’s insight into helping retailers succeed with SPINS is informed by her previous vice president roles in merchandising and marketing at Ahold and BI-LO, LLC. as well as years of category management and sales experience with retailers during her time with Ralston Purina.
Principal, Market Structure, IRI
Brian is a category management, shopper and consumer insights professional with over 25 years of experience. He has extensive focus in advanced analytics including modeling and testing and strategic planning with both manufacturers and retailers. Prior to joining IRI, Brian was the Director of Market Research at Furniture Brands International. He also served as the leader for the category planning process for Nestle Purina Pet Care.
Founder, Project 7
Tyler grew up in a family pet food manufacturing business in the Panhandle of Texas so all he’s known is entrepreneurship and consumer products. Tyler went to school at Texas A&M and came back to work for the family business in 2001. Tyler created a specialty natural pet food brand and division called “Merrick” that was known for its innovative recipes and product quality. It became the best selling can pet food line and natural treat line in pet specialty in the mid 2000’s. It eventually was fully acquired by Nestle in 2015 after the company had partnered with private equity firm Swander Pace. Tyler left the business in 2007 but still served on the board of Merrick in order to start his own entrepreneur dreams. He started a creative agency called 29 Agency and not long after he started incubating Project 7 in the fall of 2008. The vision for the brand was an idea of making a “Newmans Own 2.0” a charitable / philanthropic brand of everyday products across the grocery store. Think brandless before brandless but all about charity. Buy this bag of coffee and provide a meal, buy this pack of gum and plant a tree. They did that for about 5 years and the business was not sustainable anymore… the brand had lost all major customers due to velocity. Merrick relaunched the company in the winter of 2014 as a specialty candy brand. Today Project 7 is in retailers like Target, Starbucks, Cost Plus World Market, Caribou Coffee, Wegmans, HEB, Whole Foods in Q1 of 2018 and specialty stores alike. Tyler married his high school sweetheart from Hereford Texas and they have been married for 16 years. They have 3 daughters and live in Capistrano Beach, CA and their company is headquartered in San Clemente, California.
Director of Regional Promotions Team, KeHE Distributors
35 years in grocery industry. Each career phase involving Snack foods. From well-known regional brands to nationally distributed market leaders, Michael has used direct store-door distribution, regional DSD and national distributors to reach the retail marketplace. His career has been in traditional grocery sales and marketing comprising the first half, and the current half continues in the Natural/Organic focused segment of the industry. Michael brings insights of marketing both branded and private label Snacks as a direct manufacturer, a broker, and a national distributor. He has watched snacking change from a few flavors of potato chips and a few types of pretzels, to an array of meat, nut fruit and vegetable snacks that in some cases have replaced meals. One thing has remained constant. Snacks are still that impulsive buy no matter what type of consumer is purchasing. And reaching that consumer is actually easier than ever.
As Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, Jeffrey Klineman oversees the organization's reporting across all of its web sites, as well as BevNET Magazine. Jeffrey is also responsible for developing the content for conferences like BevNET Live and Food and Beverage University (FBU). Jeffrey previously worked as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Boston TAB and the Metrowest Daily News, and has freelanced for publications like Slate, Boston Magazine, Self, George, Commonwealth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jeffrey is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A frequently-cited expert on the beverage industry, Jeffrey has also been named in Forbes as one of the 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail Companies. He is still trying to live that one down.
Editor, Project NOSH
Carol is the Editor of Project NOSH, BevNet’s media property focusing on Natural, Healthy, Sustainable and Organic food products. Carol previously worked and consulted for several consumer goods companies, many within the food space. She also was on the marketing team for Whole Foods Market in the North Atlantic region. Prior to focusing on the food industry, Carol worked at several tech companies, including HubSpot, and served as a consumer researcher at AMP Agency. A graduate of Brandeis University in Journalism, Cultural Anthropology and Theater Arts, Carol is passionate about the food, agriculture and beverage industries.
Boot Camp | Summer 2017 | Speakers
Vice President of Talent, VMG Partners
Cassie Nielsen is the Vice President of Talent at VMG Partners where she works intimately with founders and leaders of branded consumer product companies on their Talent and People strategies. VMG has worked closely and successfully with brands such as babyganics, Drunk Elephant, Humm Kombucha, Justin's, KIND, Nature's Bakery, Perfect Bar, Pirate's Booty, Pretzel Crisps, Quest, Spindrift, Stone, SunBum, and Vega to name a few. Prior to her tenure at VMG Partners, she did executive search at SPMB and various Operations and Talent roles at Goldman Sachs.
Founder, McGinn eCommConsulting
McGinn eCommConsulting provides expertise in eCommerce strategy for CPG companies ranging from launch stage to $3 billion in sales. With over 11 years of experience with Amazon.com and other strategic eCommerce partners, Betsy works with clients on launch and business optimization strategy, product and pack develop, problem resolution and ongoing management of their eCommerce business. With eight years of eCommerce leadership at Seventh Generation, Betsy provides a unique perspective through the brand lens to guide clients in this complex channel. Additional multi- channel experience in both the US and Canada enhances the development of eCommerce strategy that balances the interests of all sales channels in order to manage channel conflict.
Managing Partner, Ridgeline Ventures
Luke Vernon is a Managing Partner of Ridgeline Ventures, a Boulder-based investment firm that invests in healthy living companies. Prior to Ridgeline, Luke was involved in a number of ventures, including as the COO of Eco-Products, the nation’s leading brand of sustainable foodservice packaging, which he helped grow from less than $1 million in revenue to over $80 million before it was acquired. Luke is also the founder of Luke’s Circle, a site that helps emerging companies find talented professionals. Luke began his career in management consulting for Deloitte and holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Colorado, and was an entrepreneurship fellow at Stanford University. Luke resides in Boulder with his wife and three children.
Meena R. Mansharamani
CEO, Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods
Meena Mansharamani is an innovative, strategic and passionate leader who has a track record of delivering impressive results in both corporate and start-up environments. As CEO of Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods, Meena leads a passionate and resourceful team committed to fulfilling Maya Kaimai’s mission of creating and offering exceptional Indian foods that are flavorful, approachable and modern. As President of Intend Growth, LLC., which she founded in January 2014, Meena partners with leaders of health and wellness brands committed to delivering higher levels of marketplace impact. Prior to these roles, Meena was Managing Director of Materne North America where she delivered breakout growth, raising the GoGo squeeZ brand from $7MM to $120MM in three years. Before joining Materne, Meena was SVP Innovation and Insights at Pepsi-Cola and VP Strategy at PepsiCo. She was also Vice President of the Consumer Products and Retail Practice at A.T. Kearney. Meena serves as a Board member of two PE-backed companies: Bare (VMG) and Elevation Brands/Ian's (Renewal Funds). Meena also serves on the Boards of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, committed to raising funds for childhood cancer research, and Animal Haven, committed to animal rescue. She is also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Meena holds an MBA from Wharton and a MA/BA from Harvard.
Founder, Premium Growth Solutions
James is a strategy consultant for emerging food and beverage brands with a professional background in strategy consulting, market research and social science. He has advised well over 75 food and beverage brands on all aspects of growth strategy (i.e. marketing, innovation, channel placement and pricing), from large legacy brands such as Triscuit to small, early stage NOSH brands. www.premiumgrowthsolutions.com
Chief Executive Officer, Twin Cities Co-op Partners
Josh Resnik has spent two decades in the food industry, and the last five years as CEO of Twin Cities Co-op Partners (TCCP) – one of the leading food co-ops in the country. In his role at TCCP, Josh oversees four natural/organic food businesses based in Minneapolis – two grocery stores (Wedge and Linden Hills Co-ops), a food distributor that serves a seven-state area (Co-op Partners Warehouse), and a food production business that sells prepared foods wholesale, as a Caterer, and at the Wedge Table – a mini market and café. In his role, Josh works closely with many up and coming local vendors in helping them prepare for retail, grow their in-store presence, and start up with a distributor. TCCP’s mission is “Build community by developing a strong local food system.” Outside of work, Josh serves as a judge in the Food and Agriculture Division for Minnesota Cup – the largest statewide startup competition in the US. He also is on the board of Mill City Farmers Market, and was previously a board member of Midtown Global Market and Twin Cities Taste of the Nation. Prior to running TCCP and the Wedge, Josh was CEO of Wild Idea Buffalo, a grassfed meat company based in Rapid City City, South Dakota Also, he spent 13 years in marketing and general management at General Mills – working on American icon brands like Cheerios, Yoplait, and Betty Crocker. There, he helped lead two $50+ million startups of new products at General Mills. Josh is also a passionate foodie, who loves exploring new cities and finding the best BBQ, tacos, or hole-in- the-wall markets.
Former VP, Hampton Creek
Caroline Love is a consultant building the next generation of good food companies. Most recently, Caroline was an early employee at Hampton Creek, leading both the operations division and sales team during her nearly 5 years at the food-tech pioneer. Now, she guides new food brands on turning a great idea into a global brand, with a focus on disrupting animal agriculture and reducing the carbon footprint of our global food system. In addition to her insights navigating the challenges and successes of a fast-growth startup, Caroline's areas of expertise include: Supply Chain, Marketing, Communications, Media Training, Retail and Foodservice relationships with the largest food companies in the world. A recent transplant to sunny Los Angeles from San Francisco, Caroline is tracking down the best vegan dishes in town, biking the Venice boardwalk, and exploring LA's farmers markets. Prior to making food her life, Caroline trained as an investigative journalist and spent the beginning of her career anchoring the news and reporting in Columbia, SC. Caroline is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and studied Entrepreneurial Finance at Stanford University.