HOW CAULIPOWER WENT ALL IN AND FAST
Sometimes you hit a moment where a launch aligns with changes in the public consciousness. But then the task comes to extend that moment. That’s what happened for Caulipower CEO and founder Gail Becker, who established her vegetable-forward frozen food brand in 2017.
With the launch of her frozen cauliflower pizzas and tortillas, sweet potato “toast” slices and, most recently, cauliflower crusted chicken tenders, Becker offered shoppers clean-label versions of their favorite comfort foods that embraced convenience and taste. And in return, shoppers took a big bite — buying over 10 million pizzas alone in 2018.
Given that growth, it would be easy to neglect the brand in place of distribution wins, supply chain stresses, sales calls and scaling operations. But at NOSH Live Summer 2019 in a presentation and Q&A with NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg, Becker told the audience how she continued to make the company’s brand a priority throughout her products’ rapid ascent.
In the video above, Becker explores not only what rules in the world of growth that need to be followed, but also which ones can be broken. She also examines how focusing on brand can create a community of fans that will follow you into new categories and channels and push your company to new heights.
INDUSTRY ALL-STARS HAVE SPOKEN AT NOSH LIVE
Divisional Merchandise Manager, Chilled Packaged Goods, Walmart
Sarah has spent the last 10 years in the food business at Walmart. During this time she has held roles in private brands, sustainability as well as various buying roles in merchandising. She’s currently leading the refrigerated buying teams to cultivate a new shopping experience. She is passionate about growing American entrepreneurs and creating new models for growth.
Head of CPG Strategy, Pinterest
Arthur Sevilla (@arthursevilla) is Pinterest's CPG vertical strategy lead. Committed to inspiring brands to think beyond media metrics and value the context of consumer engagement, Arthur is a passionate brand builder. Before joining Pinterest, Sevilla spent a decade at Kraft Foods and Mondelez International, in global equity and innovation roles within the grocery and confectionary categories. Most recently he was a Director of Global eCommerce where he set the strategic roadmap for the 2020 ambition of $1B in revenue and executed Oreo Colorfilled, the first DTC activation for the iconic brand. He lives in NYC with his wife and currently is saving ideas about dinner party recipes and a Southeast Asia trip.
Jeni Britton Bauer
Founder, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer is an American ice cream maker and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the artisan ice cream movement, she introduced a modern, ingredient-driven style of ice cream making that has been widely emulated across the world but never duplicated. Jeni opened her first ice cream shop, Scream, in 1996, then founded Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002. Her first cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and won a coveted James Beard Award in 2012. It quickly became the de facto bible for anybody making their own ice cream or thinking about opening a new-style ice cream shop. Her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (2014), took ice cream to the next level with an array of incredible plated, layered, and piled-high ice cream-centric desserts. Today, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a Certified B Corporation with 34 scoop shops, an online shop at jenis.com, and distribution in top grocery stores across the country. As Founder, Jeni remains the beating heart of the company and is in charge of all creative output—from the ice cream itself to the supporting details that enhance the experience of eating it. Jeni is a 2017 Henry Crown Fellow and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business today.
President & CEO, The Tofurky Company
Jaime Athos is a visionary and passionate leader in the plant-based foods industry. With more than 14 years of experience building and supporting its growth, Athos is energized by the ever-increasing opportunity and adoption of plant-based foods worldwide. Prior to his current role as President and CEO at The Tofurky Company, Athos held a variety of other positions within the brand that is also his family’s business, from a college summer job making tempeh to roles in quality assurance, research and development, and operations. As a category leader Tofurky serves a purpose beyond the plate, acting as an engine for global change. Athos exemplifies and manifests this change by way of plant-based political activism, eco-friendly manufacturing, and pursuit of food innovation that helps people to make better choices for farm animals, the environment and health. Athos holds a Doctoral degree in neurobiology and behavior from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science degree in fish biology from the same. He is a founding member of the Plant Based Foods Association, where he currently serves as president of the Board. The association aims to ensure a fair and competitive market place for all businesses selling plant-based foods, promoting policies and practices that improve opportunities for the industry, and educating consumers.
Senior VP of Merchandising & Product Development, Thrive Market
A twenty-five year veteran of the Natural Products industry, Jeremiah has been on all sides of the business and supply chain, literally from seed to shelf. Thrive Market’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising + Product Development, Jeremiah also served for 7 years as the Executive Global Coordinator for the Beauty, Apparel & Wellness categories at Whole Foods Market, a $1.5 billion annual division of the business during his tenure. During his time at WFM, he pioneered multiple, industry changing, quality standard initiatives including natural beauty standards (AKA WFM’s Premium Body Care standard), organic labeling requirements for personal care, and the largest ever sustainable packaging guidelines for a major retailer later adopted by WalMart. Jeremiah is also a passionate advocate for and creator of Fair Trade standards that changed the natural products landscape. In addition to developing hundreds of branded products that line natural food store shelves and managing the Whole Foods & 365 private label brands, he also helped Dr. Andrew Weil develop his branded product platform. Thrive Market launched in November 2014 and has skyrocketed to become the largest national Non-GMO food retailer in the US while democratizing access to natural + organic foods for all Americans. Jeremiah was part of the startup team and built the initial product launch catalog and also is responsible for Thrive Market’s premium quality, yet value priced, private label program. Since December 2015, Thrive has launched over 370 private label items with over 500 more products in the pipeline scheduled for launch in 2018 & beyond! 98% of the items launched to date are Certified Organic with a focus on regenerative agriculture practices as well. Jeremiah and his team spend countless hours sourcing the highest quality, organic + non-GMO products so that Thrive Market Members can feel confident they are getting the absolute best for themselves and their families everyday. When not working as an eco-superhero, he can be found in the Texas Hill Country practicing hot vinyasa yoga, spending time with his daughters, or checking the surf report and planning his next escape to the coast.
COO & Co-Founder, Perfect Bar
Leigh Keith is Perfect Bar, LLC’s Co-founder and COO, who at 19 years old launched the brand that revolutionized the highly-competitive functional foods category by producing The Original Refrigerated Protein Bar. Alongside older brother and CEO Bill, and their 11 siblings, Leigh has played an integral role in the continued success of Perfect Bar with functions spanning all facets of the company, including marketing, accounting, operations and human resources; having grown the company, today, to nearly 100 employees. Over the course of 13 years, Leigh has been consistent in her leadership style, grounded in the family culture and work-life balance on which the brand was founded. As COO, she remains steadfast in building healthy communities from the inside out, which is evident by the Perfect Bar’s clean ingredient labels, industry accolades, employee volunteer and benefits package, and regular donations to hundreds of charities each year. Learn more at www.perfectbar.com.
Founder, Siggi's Dairy
Siggi Hilmarsson was raised in Iceland on a traditional Icelandic diet. After moving to the United States to attend Columbia Business School, Siggi started to miss a staple of his childhood diet; skyr, the traditional Icelandic yogurt he grew up with. Yogurt here in the US had far too many ingredients and was much too sweet for his liking so he took matters into his own hands and started making yogurt in his apartment kitchen. After months of experiments, the skyr showed enough promise and soon moved from Siggi’s kitchen to a local agricultural college in Upstate New York, where the first ‘professional’ batch of siggi’s was made. Within a year, Siggi quit his corporate job, set up formal yogurt production and started selling his products at an outdoor farmers market in New York City. From kitchen to dairy plant, and from a local New York City market to Whole Foods as his first retail customer with national distribution, demand for siggi’s yogurt grew quickly. From inception, simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar has been Siggi’s motto and that still holds true today. Siggi’s homegrown knowledge for yogurt and his passion for reducing sugar in our diets have made him a go-to expert with appearances on national TV such as ABC, CNN and CBS Sunday Morning. He has been recognized by Food & Wine Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and Paper Magazine’s cheeky Beautiful People issue.
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.
NEXT CONFERENCE: NOSH LIVE WINTER 2019 IN SANTA MONICA
The next NOSH Live event takes place at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel on December 4th and 5th. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives come together to move their businesses forward and discover what's next for the industry. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day conference for the natural food industry. Early registration savings of $200 per ticket ends October 25th.