Meet the Strategic: Mondelez' Focus on (Re)Invention & Investment
In the crowded and rapidly changing snacking space, brands need to hold firm to what they stand for to stand out — and also adjust quickly to meet consumer needs. For Mondelez, that state of affairs means reaching beyond its core business and investing in emerging brands through its innovation and venture arm, SnackFutures, as well as creating new fresh concepts to remain ahead of the curve. In this video from NOSH Live Winter 2019, Brigette Wolf, SnackFutures’ head of innovation, and Mel Gaceta, Mondelez’s director of ventures, shared how the CPG giant is addressing the future of snacking.
Natural Food Industry All-Stars Have Spoken at NOSH Live
Head of Innovation at SnackFutures, Mondelez
Brigette Wolf is the Head of Innovation for SnackFutures, Mondelez’s new innovation hub that will play a critical role in the company’s aggressive global growth agenda. In this role, Brigette is a key architect in the building of a multi-functional ecosystem consisting of internal experts around the world and cutting edge external partners to drive innovation in a new and different way. In the SnackFutures model of Invent, Reinvent and Venture, Brigette’s focus is driving the development of new brands and businesses in the Well Being and Premium Space. Brigette has been with Mondelez for 6 1/2 half years, and in that time served as the senior director of Global Platform Innovation for Gum, Candy and Biscuits as well the brand manager for Belvita. Brigette was with the company when it was Kraft Foods, and for 10 years under that umbrella served as the Global Innovation Manager for Oreo and also worked across several of the pizza and meal brands. Prior to being part of the food industry, Brigette worked for Credit Suisse in financial advising. Brigette received her undergraduate degrees from The University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School and her MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.
Director of Ventures, Mondelez
Mel Gaceta is the Director of Ventures at Mondelez. He oversees and executes early stage investments as part of their innovation hub, SnackFutures. Previously, Mel helped establish and was Managing Director for Synchrony Ventures, the venture arm of GE Capital’s former retail finance business. Mel started his career in corporate venture in 2000 as part of the founding team at Motorola Ventures.
CEO, Farmhouse Culture
Scott Lerner is a consumer products veteran with over 19 years’ experience in the consumer-packaged goods industry, having previously worked for PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods, and Kimberly-Clark. Lerner is recognized for delivering outstanding business results for these Fortune 100 companies. His brand management experience includes managing such leading iconic brands as Scott Tissue, Parkay Margarine, Quaker Oats and Naked Juice. In 2008, he created his own beverage brand called Solixir. For over 5 years Scott navigated the competitive beverage category for a successful exit in 2014. Following the sale of Solixir, Scott partnered with the private equity group VMG partners to become the Chief Executive Officer for Kernel Season’s. After restructuring the business and increasing profitability by 30%, he successfully sold the business in December 2018. Currently, Scott is the Chief Executive Officer for the growing Farmhouse Culture brand. Farmhouse Culture is a leading organic food and beverage brand sold in 5,000 stores nationally. With some amazing products like Kraut, and Gut Shot, the business is poised for similar success with Scott at the helm. As a former United States Marine Corps Officer and successful entrepreneur, Scott likes to take on challenges and will continue to apply his craft growing innovative brands in the future. Lerner received his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and his MBA at Case Western University.
Founder and Managing Partner, Harbinger Ventures
Megan Bent is the Founder and Managing Partner at Harbinger Ventures. A lifelong investor and entrepreneur with deep expertise in consumer brands, Megan has spent the past decade working to identify and scale high-growth, early-stage companies in the consumer sector serving as a lead director, problem solver, operator, strategic thinker and confidant to emerging entrepreneurs. In launching Harbinger in 2016, Megan began also leveraging a model that emphasizes female leadership and fosters close collaboration among entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate value creation. Prior to founding Harbinger in 2016, Megan served as Managing Director of Revelry Brands, where she demonstrated the viability of the unique investment model that now serves as the basis for Harbinger Ventures.
Founder & CEO, CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods
Gail Becker is the Founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods. Already well known in professional circles, Gail’s career reached the highest levels of media, politics and business - including executive roles at Warner Bros., The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Edelman. But as a mom of two boys with celiac disease, Gail was not happy with the gluten-free options available to her family. Who wants pizza that’s full of sugar and chemicals, or doesn’t taste anything like pizza, or takes 90 minutes to make? Seeing that the food industry offered no nutritious solutions for busy, foodie families to enjoy together, Gail took matters into her own hands and launched CAULIPOWER in early 2017. CAULIPOWER disrupted one of grocery’s most stagnant categories and is now the #1 gluten-free pizza and #1 fastest growing pizza brand in the U.S., with availability in over 22,000 stores. Earlier this year, CAULIPOWER was honored with Walmart’s “Supplier of the Year, Innovation” award. In 2018, Gail launched a new mother brand, Vegolutionary Foods, as a platform for innovative, approachable and convenient meal-hacking products, including the world’s first superfood toast, Sweet PotaTOASTS. Gail is a passionate advocate for new entrepreneurs, women in business and making vegetable nutrition accessible and delicious to all - especially kids.
Founder, Green Park Brands & HIPPEAS
Chairman, Beyond Meat; TeaEO, Honest Tea
Seth Goldman co-founded Honest® Tea in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company, helping to further the reach and impact of Honest Tea’s mission by becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand in the world's largest beverage distribution system. Today, Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling ready-to-drink organic bottled tea and Honest Kids® is the nation’s top-selling organic kids’ juice drink. The brands are carried in more than 130,000 outlets in the United States, including all Wendy’s, Chik-fil-A, and SUBWAY restaurants. In 2016 Honest Tea’s distribution expanded to Europe. In 2016, Seth transitioned to a new role at Honest Tea as TeaEO Emeritus and Innovation Catalyst for Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands business unit. This transition allows him to take on an additional role as Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat, a privately held California-based enterprise on the cutting edge of plant-based protein research and development. In 2015 Seth was named the #1 Disruptor by Beverage World, and Beverage Executive of the Year by Beverage Industry magazine; he was also inducted into the Washington DC Business Hall of Fame. Seth has also been recognized by the United States Healthful Food Council with a REAL Food Innovator Award for helping change the food landscape by providing options that are healthier for both the body and the planet. Seth serves on the advisory boards of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, the American Beverage Association, and Bethesda Green (a local sustainability non-profit he co-founded). He graduated from Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995), and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry are the authors, along with graphic artist Soongyun Choi, of The New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle. The book, told in comic book form, captures their efforts to create a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world. Seth lives with his wife and three sons near Honest Tea’s Bethesda, MD headquarters in an eco-friendly house.
CEO & Co-Founder, Coolhaus
Natasha Case founded Coolhaus in 2009 with Freya Estreller after she was working in architecture at Walt Disney Imagineering. They launched their architecturally-inspired, unique ice cream sandwich company from their barely driveable postal van at the Coachella Music Festival to an audience of 100,000. They built a loyal following over the festival weekend and returned to LA to an abundance of viral press, a rapidly building social media following, and an eager foodie audience. Since then, Natasha has been named a Forbes 30 under 30 Food & Beverage, Zagat 30 Under 30, Linked in 10 under 35 for Food & Leisure, as well as being featured in many national publications and radio like Cosmo, Dwell, and NPR, and TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped, Barefoot Contessa, Unique Sweets, Good Morning America, King of Cones, Andy Cohen Live and many more. The company has become one of the leading innovative small dessert businesses, growing significantly to include 4 trucks and 2 storefronts in LA, 2 trucks and one cart in NYC, and 4 trucks in Dallas, Texas. Moreover, consumers can now find Coolhaus’ pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches, hand-dipped bars, and hand-packed pints in 6,000+ gourmet grocery stores nationally, including Whole Foods and Gelson's, and larger retailers like Meijer and Safeway, and now internationally in Asia and the Middle East.
Next Event: NOSH Live Summer 2020 in NYC
The next NOSH Live event takes place at the Metropolitan West in New York City on June 8 and 9. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives will come together to discover what's next for the industry and move their businesses forward. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day event for the natural food industry. Early registration savings of $200 per ticket ends May 1st.