Mar 29, 2022
This week, we explored the ideation, business plans and growth strategies of three innovative and on-trend brands in conversations with Susan Buckwalter, the co-founder and CEO of ginger-powered wellness brand Recoup; Dr. Juan Salinas, the founder and CEO of P-nuff Crunch, a brand of nutritious baked peanut puffs; and Michelle Razavi and Nikki Elliott, the co-founders of functional, decadent snack brand ELAVI.
1:02: Interview: Susan Buckwalter, Co-Founder/CEO, Recoup – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Buckwalter at Natural Products Expo West 2022 where they spoke about how Recoup has made strides in the two-plus years since its launch and found a receptive audience among consumers seeking alternatives to traditional sports and hydration beverages. As part of the conversation, Buckwalter discussed how her co-founder’s personal health battles inspired the brand, how their respective backgrounds supported their alignment as a team and how Recoup set out to create a foundation for success. She also explained why leaning into both flavor and function has supported trial and sales and why she encourages entrepreneurs to build and engage with a network of like minded founders.
26:01: Interview: Dr. Juan Salinas, Founder/CEO, P-nuff Crunch – Also at Expo West 2022, Latif sat down with Salinas, who spoke about how he drew upon his education in food science and sport nutrition and as a project manager with global food companies including Kraft Foods and Nestlé to develop P-nuff Crunch. Salinas also discussed how the brand gained national attention in 2020 following his memorable appearance on “Shark Tank,” where P-nuff landed investment from Mark Cuban. Further topics include communicating the benefits of its key ingredients to consumers, why he’s bullish about brick-and-mortar retail despite the brand’s strong ecommerce sales and why he wants the company to be known for nutrition, first and foremost.
50:36: Interview: Michelle Razavi and Nikki Elliott, Co-Founders, ELAVI – Razavi and Elliott spoke with Latif at Expo West 2022 about the underpinnings of ELAVI, which is presented as a brand of “functional, decadent snacks to boost energy, recovery, and focus.” ELAVI markets a line of collagen protein bars and a new line of superfood cashew butters that are similarly positioned and described as “protein frosting.” Razavi and Elliott discussed how their work as Equinox fitness instructors supported their vision for a modern protein company, why they sought to position ELAVI as a “luxe brand,” why video has been a key medium for communicating with consumers and why patience and taste were critical factors prior to launching the nut butters.