Jun 18, 2019
Thirteen years ago, Siggi Hilmarsson began selling the first versions of his Icelandic-style yogurt on the streets of Manhattan. At the time, the Siggi’s brand he would eventually create didn’t exist; the products were simply promoted as “really delicious thick yogurt” with “lots of protein,” “low in fat” and “not so much sugar.” While the marketing has since evolved, the company’s core values remain unchanged, according to Hilmarsson; both were key to its development and eventual acquisition by French dairy giant Lactalis for a reported sum of $300 million in January 2018.
In a wide-ranging interview included in this episode, Hilmarsson spoke about the evolution of Siggi’s, from his early days slinging street yogurt through to the sale of the brand. He also discussed his current role with the company and why he’s stayed on after the acquisition, the important role basketball plays in his life, why he’s a “maybe, sort-of perfectionist,” and why he urges entrepreneurs to “plan for success.” This episode is presented by Flavorman, the beverage architects.
2:57: Interview: Siggi Hilmarsson, Founder, Siggi’s -- Hilmarsson sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an interview recorded at Siggi’s headquarters in New York City. Early into their conversation, Hilmarsson spoke about how he developed a passion for basketball, his recent work to open new international markets for Siggi’s, and the influence of Nordic cuisine on American food. Later, he discussed his first year in business and why one of his professors at Columbia University was so eager to invest in the brand, how the brand got its name, and recalled the story about how Siggi’s got into Whole Foods. Hilmarsson also explained why overwhelming demand for the brand almost doomed the company, the lessons he learned about building an infrastructure for success and whether launching a second brand is in his future.