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Nov 30, 2018

Veteran CPG executive Arnold Ventura cut his teeth in food and beverage as the founder of bottled aguas frescas brand Coba. While ultimately unsuccessful, his experience as a beverage entrepreneur laid the foundation for his career, as he went on to take leadership roles at PepsiCo as part of its emerging brands unit and at Califia Farms, where he spearheaded the company’s business development and e-commerce divisions.

In July Ventura was tapped as the CEO of bean snack brand Beanfields and in an interview included in this episode, he explained how each stop along his career has refined his perspective on business and leadership style.

“I think in many ways, it’s getting more swings of the bat in different situations and ultimately resulting in confidence,” he said. “I can sit here today, make decisions on the fly on a daily basis and it comes from a pattern recognition because [I’ve] looked at so many different things.”

The one constant, he noted, is his approach to sales and marketing, which he described as “old school.”

“Whether it’s food or beverage, in our world, in the CPG world, it’s a romance industry,” he said. “And you win a consumer one bag at a time, one bottle at a time.”

Listen to our full interview with Ventura which includes his take on the evolution of e-commerce and why product attributes that were once considered “holy grail” are now “table stakes” for brands. He also discussed the importance of ingredient transparency and differentiation being in lockstep.

Show notes:

1:48: Whoa, We’re Halfway There -- Recording from the Taste Radio studio in the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the hosts riffed on the recently wrapped Brewbound Live Winter 2018 conference and day one of NOSH Live Winter 2018, which included an expanded Sampling Experience and Expo. Next up… Cannabis Forum and BevNET Live Winter 2018.

8:04: Interview: Arnold Ventura, CEO, Beanfields -- A Stanford MBA and former beverage entrepreneur, Ventura led the business development and e-commerce divisions at Califia Farms prior to joining Beanfields and previously worked at PepsiCo as part of its emerging brands unit. In an interview with John Craven and Mike Schneider, Ventura explores the development of his professional life amid the rapidly evolving food and beverage industries and how lessons gleaned from each role have molded his perspective on business and his leadership style.

Brands in this episode: Beanfields, Naked, Izze, Califia Farms, Coba