Project NOSH LA 2015
A One Day Conference for Emerging Natural Foods Brands
Project NOSH Los Angele, a one-day strategy and networking conference, put the goals, needs, challenges and concerns of emerging food brands in the spotlight. Project NOSH LA brought case-based presentations and panels to the audience through an all star roster of speakers. Key issue discussed by industry members and other experts included topics like branding, marketing, sales growth, investment, emerging retail channels, applying innovation to new product categories while creating brand platforms, thinking about company structure, leadership, and professionalization, pricing structure, and creating partnerships with strategics and other capital sources.
SpeakersBelow is a partial list of speakers for the event. View the full speaker list.
VP Innovation, Presence Marketing
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest with family roots in the Deep South, gardening, gathering, hunting and preserving real food shaped her basic food philosophy: know where your food comes from, prepare it with care and enjoy time around the table. With over 15 years serving the natural and organic industry, Tracy has focused on building transformative food brands for consumers and building enterprise value for companies. She is now the VP of Innovation & Brand Development at Presence, the nation’s leading natural products broker where she oversees the company’s two investment portfolios, Omnipresence and Plan-It-Earth. She has also served for 5 years on the US Federal Regulatory Advisory Committee for Organic, the USDA National Organic Standards Board, including Chair of the Board. Past roles include Director of Product Innovation for Earthbound Farm/ WhiteWave Foods, creating consumer brands for Stahlbush Island Farm, and Marketing with General Mills' Small Planet Foods Division, Since 2012, Tracy has led graduate student teams in product innovation at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Tracy holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MBA from Western Washington University. She lives with her family in rural Oregon.
Managing Director, VMG Partners
Mr. Baram has spent over 16 years in the consumer products and entertainment and media industries. In 2007, Mr. Baram co-founded the private equity firm VMG Partners, which has become an industry leader in investing and growing marketing-driven, branded consumer product companies. VMG collaborates closely with entrepreneurs and management teams to provide capital, resources and strategic guidance that accelerate growth and raise brand awareness. VMG has raised over $1.2 billion in capital to date; its current and past portfolio companies include leading brands in the food, wellness, sports nutrition, personal care, beverage, and pet categories, among others, such as Natural Balance Pet Foods, Justin’s Nut Butters, Vega, Solid Gold Pet Products, Kind Healthy Snacks, Quest Nutrition, Pirates Booty, Waggin' Train Pet Treats, Pretzel Crisps and many others. Mr. Baram currently focuses on all aspects of the Fund's investment strategy, execution and portfolio company management, as well as leading its unique partnerships with media companies in the entertainment industry to provide marketing support to VMG portfolio companies.
Executive VP of Snacks, B&G Foods
With over 25 years of consumer package goods experience as an Entrepreneur and Intrepreneur, Michael has led and created top-selling products across several food and beverage companies including Snapple and Ben & Jerry's. Currently as EVP Snacks at B&G Foods, he is in charge of Pirate's Booty, New York Style, TrueNorth And Rickland Orchards, which he co-founded and sold to B&G Foods in October 2013. Additionally he has served as the CEO of Balance Bar Nutrition Co., Chief Marketing & Operations Officer at Snapple Beverage Group, where he was also a key player in the turnaround of Snapple following the acquisition from Quaker Oats for $300 million and its sale three years later for $1.1 billion to Cadbury. Other positions include Chief Marketing Officer at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Co-founder/CEO of Lesserevil Brand Snacks, and strategic marketing roles at Inbev, Unilever, and Grey Advertising. Mr. Sands earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Babson College and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement for executives under 40, and was an Inc. 500 award winner for one of the fastest growing private companies in 2009 with Lesserevil.
Co-Founder, Alliance Consumer Growth
Josh Goldin is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Alliance Consumer Growth (“ACG”), a growth equity fund which invests exclusively in high-growth, emerging consumer brands. An experienced investor and business builder, Josh has provided financing and advised entrepreneurs building game-changing consumer companies. He currently serves as either a board member or board observer of Shake Shack, BabyGanics, Kriser’s Pets and Lessing’s Hospitality. Prior to co-founding ACG, Josh led The Lessing Companies, a consumer-focused private investment group. Josh holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Wesleyan.
Sarah Palisi Chapin
CEO, Hail Merry
Sarah Palisi Chapin has served as Chief Executive Officer and board member of Hail Merry since 2009, when she and Ali Brushaber, chief product officer, joined Hail Merry founder Susan O'Brien in her home pool cabana to partner for growth. Susan had successfully created the brand and built a cult following for her raw lifestyle pure ingredient products and her shelf success suggested it would grow to be a leading brand. Now operating from a 30,000-foot kitchen, Hail Merry continues as a leading snack and dessert brand sold in natural, conventional and foodservice, with all products non-gmo verified, gluten-free, vegan, and which celebrate raw plant oils. Ms. Chapin brings more than three decades of experience in the food service industry, including a comprehensive understanding of strategy, franchising, commercial kitchen technology, brand management, product development, marketing, operational excellence, market expansion and acquisition strategy. She is a member of the board of Yummy Spoonfuls, and The Middleby Corporation (NADQ: MIDD). She has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., 2007 to 2013, and more than a dozen for profit private and public companies over a 20 year span. Previous positions include CEO of Enersyst Development Center (intellectual property R&D and licensing company in food) from 1995 to 2003, VP of Worldwide Business Strategy of Burger King Corporation from 1990 to 1995 (including food globally and co-development of their purchasing COOP RSI) and new concept development for PepsiCo and Pizza Hut.
Managing Director, JPG Resources
Jeff founded JPG Resources to build food and beverage companies. JPG Resources now has three areas of practice, with focus areas of Strategy and Sales, Product Development, and Supply Chain. The JPG Resources team is headed by a collection of senior leaders who are results focused business people, with depth developed at leading companies and an entrepreneurial spirit that connects with companies at all stages of growth. Before launching JPG Resources in 2009, Jeff provided product and business leadership at Kashi as the company grew from $25million to $750million in sales over 9 years. Since then, JPGR has launched over 80 successful products, and continues to work with companies of all sizes to build strong and innovative businesses. These experiences have given him direct insight into rapidly moving functional food concepts from blue sky to market shelf, as well as into the creation of brands and products that capture the hearts of consumers, retailers, and investors. He has founded and operated companies in the manufacturing, sales, and consulting fields, and sits on various company boards. More information on Jeff and JPG Resources is available on the website at www.jpgresources.com.
Paul is involved in all aspects of the investment process, from sourcing potential investment opportunities to due diligence and deal closing to working closely with companies post-investment, leveraging extensive operational experience to drive company growth. Prior to joining Sherbrooke Capital in 2013, Paul led three companies (Immaculate Baking, Stirrings, and Annie's Homegrown) as CEO where he demonstrated an impressive track record of creating and executing high-growth strategies, achieving superior operating results, and delivering significant value creation for stakeholders.
Partner, Boulder Food Group
Dayton Miller is a Partner at Boulder Food Group (BFG), a venture capital firm focused on early stage food and beverage consumer product companies. BFG works alongside exceptional entrepreneurs to ensure their businesses deliver sustainable growth and outperform their competitors. Previously Dayton co-founded Function, a venture-backed health and wellness beverage company, which Dayton built from idea-conception to $20 million in retail sales until its acquisition by Sunsweet Growers, Inc. Prior to Function, Dayton was an executive in the strategy group at The Walt Disney Company where he worked for over seven years focusing on mergers & acquisitions and operating strategy. Dayton began his career as an analyst in investment banking and spent time as a management consultant for Bain & Co. Dayton received his BA from Vanderbilt University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Founder, Natural Products Consulting Group
As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, branding and trade spending management. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Fourth Edition and The Sales Manager's Handbook. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.
Partner, Barnhorn Growth Advisors
Brad is deeply involved with leading growth stage companies and investors at the intersection of the consumer products and private equity/financing communities as a Board Member and Advisor to both operating companies and institutional investors. His career path as an entrepreneur, CEO, board member, and investor has cut across all critical strategic and operational dimensions of growth stage consumer company-building. Currently Mr. Barnhorn serves on the Board of Directors for Krave Jerky, KeVita, Zola, Rhythm Superfoods, Health Warrior, IPS, Pint Size, and Red Rabbit, and as an Operating Advisor to Encore Consumer Capital, Winona Capital, Fundamental Capital and Silverwood Partners.
President, Purely Righteous Brands
Greg has created and grown some of the world's largest and most successful brands during his 20-year career - launching 500+ items across 17 food and beverage categories into 12 countries - focusing primarily on the "natural green Space". Greg is currently president & co-founder of Purely Righteous Brands LLC (PRB), a boutique consultancy dedicated to fostering the growth of "green space" health food & beverage companies. Clients include Tasty Brand, Revolution Foods, Arctic Zero & SUJA Juice - all committed to revolutionizing the spaces they are in. Under PRB, Greg served as Chief Marketing & Strategy for Suja, the #1 cold-pressured fresh juice brand in the US where he led business strategy, marketing, innovation, and retail customer development. There he positioned the portfolio, created & launched 35 new items (including two sub-brands) and built 3 sales channels. Prior to that, he served as CMO of Sambazon, the maker of fresh amazon superfood-based beverages. As CMO, Greg led marketing, strategy, innovation and business development for Coca-Cola's FUZE & Energy portfolio. He also worked for over 14 years as an executive marketer at Kashi/Bear Naked and Kelloggs.
CEO, Snack Nation/HUMAN
VP/General Manager, 301 INC/General Mills
John Haugen has always been drawn to growth and innovation during his 25 year tenure at General Mills. He joined the company in 1990 in Marketing, and has held numerous positions in marketing, general management, talent acquisition and strategy throughout his career. In 2012, he created 301 INC, a new business development unit within the company focused on creating and incubating new businesses and growth capabilities for the company. 301 INC is focused on partnering with emerging food brands by proactively engaging and making direct equity investments in them. As the leader of 301 INC, John is always interested in seeing the possibilities and becoming and indispensable partner. He has built a team focused on looking for great, new business opportunities – ones that when the passion, skill and agility of the entrepreneur are combined with the capabilities of General Mills are sure to create breakthrough innovation and positive change. Haugen has an undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College; in 2011, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. He received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. John lives with his family in Minneapolis. He has a passion for fitness and endurance sports.
Mary Ellen Lynch
Director of Consumer Insights/Strategy Partnerships, SPINS
Mary Ellen Lynch is the Director of Consumer Insights and Strategic Partnerships at SPINS, the leading provider of retail consumer insights, analytics, and consulting for the Natural and Specialty Products Industry. Mary Ellen brings over 25 years of experience digging deep into syndicated retail measurement data, as well as, each facet on the consumers' path to purchase. All with an eye towards strategy and growth. To fully support that endeavor for established and emerging natural brands she also works closely with cornerstone natural industry organizations and a variety of strategic research partners.
CEO, Health Warrior
Former EVP/GM Natural Segment, Boulder Brands
TJ McIntyre is a seasoned, enthusiastic and tenacious natural foods leader. Most recently he was the Executive Vice President and General Manager (Natural Segment) at Boulder Brands. During his tenure in the role, TJ led Boulder Brands through due diligence, acquisition, integration and management of Glutino, Udi's, Davies Bakery and Evol Foods. For these brands, he helped them successfully execute a growth strategy that allowed them to retain their mission and core values while still proliferating their products into mainstream channels. TJ additionally served in a variety of other leadership roles at top CPG brands. As Vice President/General Manager at Earth Balance, TJ brought a focus on the natural segment to the company, a shift from their previous focus on mass/conventional retailers. Earlier in his career,TJ served as the Brand Manager at Silk and Category Manager (Simply Organic) at Frontier Natural Co-op. He deeply understands the mindset of entrepreneurs, as TJ has started several successful businesses himself. Not only did TJ co-found Pixie Mate, which was later sold to Third Street Chai, but he is still is an active co-founder of the Boulder based tea chain, Pekoe Sip House. A graduate of Michigan State, TJ went on to receive his MBA from the University of Oregon, where he co-founded and managed the Sustainable Business Symposium.
CEO, Tate's Bake Shop
VP Purchasing and Marketing, Thrive Market
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 Partner, Navigator Sales & Marketing
Subriana Pierce is the Managing Partner of Navigator Sales and Marketing. In her role, she focuses on the launch and growth of brands in grocery retail and serves as an industry consultant. The mission of the company is to help companies navigate the corporate retail environments to win in the consumer marketplace. She has been recognized as a leader in her industry receiving "Influential Woman in Grocery" by the Griffin Report and "Top Women in Grocery" by Progressive Grocer Magazine. Prior to this position, Subriana was the Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising for Albertsons Southern California. Before joining Albertsons, she spent most of her career in Sales and Marketing roles at Frito Lay, a division of PepsiCo. She's even received a U.S. Patent awarded for a Frito Lay shelving design. Subriana received a B.A. degree in Economics from Spelman College and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.
Managing Partner, MetaBrand Capital
Eric has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and operations in the Natural Product, Supplement and Beverage industries, with diverse experience managing upstart as well as turnaround companies and launching new brands and products. As the Co-Founder and former President of Steaz, Eric helped pioneer the organic soda, iced tea and energy drink markets. Eric is the recipient of the Natural Product Industry’s 2007 “Socially Responsible Business Award,” as well as a three-time winner of BevNET's "Best of" awards. Prior to Steaz, Eric worked as brand manager for Country Life Vitamins and was on the company’s Executive Committee, and then went on to serve as president of Long Life Tea, tripling the company’s revenue before its sale to Kikkoman. In 2010, Eric Co-Founded I AM enlightened nutrition, an all-natural line of liquid dietary supplements, as well as founded MetaBrand, a one stop incubator, accelerator and innovation business centered around taking health & wellness products from concept to consumer. In 2014 Eric co-founded MetaBrand Capital, a new venture capital fund dedicated to supporting mission-driven food and beverage brands, with first investment made into Runa Tea. That same year the fund received Nutrition Business Journal’s “Investment in the Future” award for its effort to support brands upholding the principals of the Quadruple Bottom Line business model.
Former VP of Non Perishables Sales & Merchandising, Sprouts Farmers Markets
Eric is a veteran executive in the Supermarket and Natural Foods industry with more than 30 years in the business. Most recently, Eric served as Division Vice President for Sprouts Farmers Markets and Vice President of Non-Perishables Sales and Merchandising. Eric was instrumental in the consolidation of the Sunflower, Henrys and Sprouts brands following he mergers of the three companies in 2012 and 2013. In his Sprouts capacities, Eric has held leadership roles in Category Management, Advertising, Supply Chain, Procurement, Merchandising, Space Managment and Operations and was instrumental in the launch of the Southeast expansion of the company which began in 2014. Eric’s natural experience also includes senior leadership roles at KeHE Distribution, Henrys Farmers Markets and Wild Oats Markets over the last decade. While the Natural Channel has become his home, Eric also has extensive leadership experience in Hispanic and traditional supermarket formats with companies like Safeway, Nash Finch and Minyard Food Stores. Eric is a Native Texan having attended the University of Texas school of Business there while learning the Supermarket business firsthand. He is currently on sabbatical back in his home state while staying engaged with the industry in a consulting capacity.
Paddy Spence serves as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Zevia LLC. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Spence was President at Levlad Inc. He served as the President and Chairman of SPINS, Inc. In 1995, he founded SPINS where he served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer for eight years, tracking the sales of more than 300,000 natural and organic products,before selling SPINS in 2004. Prior to founding SPINS, he served as Kashi’s first head of sales and marketing. Mr. Spence served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Kashi Company from 1992 to 1995. He has also held positions at Harvard Business School's Division of Research, the Center for Leadership and Career Studies at Emory University and United Parcel Service's International Marketing department. Mr. Spence is a Member of Advisory Board of Rippowam Partners LLC. He is a 22 year veteran of the natural/organic industry. Mr. Spence holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College.