Oct 5, 2021
Four inspired founders. Four disruptive brands. Four stories about innovation, preparation and persistence.
In this episode, recorded at Natural Products Expo East 2021, Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with four early-stage and emerging brand owners, including Emily Griffith, the founder and CEO of Lil Bucks, a brand of sprouted buckwheat snacks; Tyler Phillips, the founder and CEO of chickpea-based muffin company Hummii; Dyanna Salcedo, the co-founder and CEO of kids oatmeal brand Oats In Coats; and Bev Martin, the co-founder of Simply Ghee, a maker of grass-fed ghee products.
The entrepreneurs reflected on their respective paths within the food industry, from brand ideation and early struggles to social strategies and retail planning. The conversations highlight the perspective of founders who are attempting to reframe legacy categories via next-generation brands and products.
1:36: Interview: Emily Griffith, Founder & CEO, Lil Bucks -- Griffith spoke about her efforts to expand the availability of Lil Bucks from natural to mainstream retail channels, the impact of the brand’s inclusion within Target’s accelerator program and how she’s refined the company’s consumer marketing strategy. She also discussed innovation planning, investor reception to the brand, crowdfunding efforts and staffing needs. Later, she shared a warning to other early-stage entrepreneurs about having to buy back stock from retailers, the importance of building a community, attracting and compensating advisors and how Lil Bucks is focused on creating localized social content via Tik Tok.
19:57: Interview: Tyler Phillips, Founder & CEO, Hummii -- Phillips shared the inspiration for Hummii, and the brand’s origins in Puerto Rico, how the name was derived from a combination of hummus, healthy and yummy and the challenges in working with chickpeas. He also discussed the brand’s quirky logo and label design, how he assesses staffing needs and why passion and flexibility are key to working with early stage companies. Later, he spoke about aligning with accelerator programs, creating a community around the brand and Hummii’s ongoing Kickstarter campaign.
30:29: Interview: Dyanna Salcedo, Co-Founder & CEO, Oats In Coats -- Salcedo spoke about her background in investment banking and cutting her teeth in CPG, the genesis of Oats In Coats and how the company is attempting to differentiate itself from legacy oatmeal brands by injecting fun and creativity into its branding and marketing. She also explained how the brand is approaching storytelling through graphics and games, its role as a facilitator between parents and kids, why she views Oats In Coats as “kid-friendly but not childish,” the differences between being CPG executive versus a founder and why the company’s go-to-market strategy includes alternative retail channels.
41:11: Interview: Bev Martin, Co-Founder, Simply Ghee -- After a quick explanation of how ghee is made, Martin spoke about what he views as the mainstream opportunities for the product, the origins of the Simply Ghee name and its tagline of “better butter,” and a recent brand revamps. She also discussed the company’s roots in Lancaster, Penn. and the area as a key source of A2 milk, standing out from competing and commodity brands by highlighting independence and quality and sourcing and her experience transitioning into the food industry. Later, she discussed challenges from growing too fast, how the company is attempting to align with consumer lifestyles via grassroots marketing and how she gauges the potential for new products.