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Dec 22, 2023

A $900 million M&A deal was a top talking point for the hosts, who also highlighted a $40 million private equity fund focused on investment in emerging brands and opined on both trendy concepts and those of cultural significance. 

This episode also features an interview with culinary expert and product developer Henry Hill, who is drawing on his experience as a Michelin-starred chef and beverage entrepreneur to help modern brands optimize flavor and texture. 

Show notes:

0:35: Doritos Divide Us. It Makes Sense. Kit Kat Is Number One? “Dry” Bottle Shops & Grimace. – The hosts chatted about a discontinued coffee soda brand before the Newton-based crew sampled the recently announced Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese spirit. Reviews were decidedly mixed. They also commented on Chobani’s acquisition of La Colombe and the news that Austin-based Springdale Ventures closed on its second fund, while voicing skepticism about a poll on America’s favorite holiday candy. Later, the team introduced a new segment in which they debated the runway and relevance of food and beverage-related concepts (such as non-alcoholic spirits, a well-known McDonald’s character and cultivated meat) before chatting about new products in the office and sipping on a magnum bottle of zero-proof wine.

31:45: Interview: Henry Hill, Founder, Hill’s Research Kitchen –  Henry Hill is a chef and former beverage entrepreneur turned product developer for the food and beverage industry. The founder of Hill’s Research Kitchen, Henry is tapping his experience – which ranges from working at world-renowned restaurants to commercializing a coffee soda–  to help both emerging and established companies develop new products that can resonate with modern consumers. Our conversation, recorded at NOSH Live Winter 2023, takes a deep dive into his journey and how he is applying insights gained from years in the kitchen along with those on a bottling line to create unique sensorial experiences in new food and beverage products.

Brands in this episode: Doritos, Empirical, Chobani, La Colombe, Better Booch, KOS, Mr. Beast’s Feastables, BEATBOX, GOODLES, KitKat, Kinder, Rollin Greens, Kolonne Null, Wize Tea, Shonen Soda