American’s obsession with health and wellness and grown exponentially over the last few years. And gone are the days of “hippy” organics. The influence of food culture shows and celebrities and San Francisco's technology industry has collided into a multi-billion-dollar world of better-for-you food and ingredient alternatives. As this part of the food industry grows and consumers continue to push manufacturers and retailers to mitigate impacts on the environment and better our health altogether, food technology is playing a huge role in meeting those needs.
In this episode, Karen Huh, CEO of Joywell Foods, and I cover the gamut of food tech. From fundraising during COVID to consumer adoption and leadership management style, Karen brings her start-up experience and dedication to servant leadership to this exciting (and exploding) category.
In this episode we learn:
The Joywell Foods genesis backstory, its mission and long-term plans to reduce refined sugar consumption.
Karen’s journey from Starbucks to Bulletproof to Joywell.
Who’s open to adopting alternative sweeteners in manufacturing.
The importance of developing a consistent brand experience.
The impact of food tech on natural and Better-For-Your products.
The impact COVID had on investment and capital raises.
How fundraising and investment has changed for the food tech and natural food industries in the last 18 months.
A little bit about Karen's personal obsession with RTD's and who she's watching.
About Karen Huh:
Karen Huh brings a deep background in consumer, brand, and products from 15 years in the food and beverage industry. Prior to Joywell Foods, Karen served as Vice President of Product and Brand Strategy at Bulletproof 360, a food and beverage brand, where she built the consumer strategy and product portfolio to support the Bulletproof lifestyle while scaling teams across R&D, brand, marketing and product development. Prior to Bulletproof, Karen was at Starbucks Coffee Company for nearly 11 years in a wide range of roles including coffee innovation, launch of RTD and packaged coffee in international markets, and the acquisition of Evolution Fresh. Before joining Starbucks, Karen was an investment professional at two tech-focused venture capital firms.
Joywell Foods - A food tech company focused on building new a new and exciting class of foods around the best tasting and healthiest sweeteners in the world.
Bulletproof - a lifestyle brand that takes a science-based approach to nutrition and wellness. The original butter coffee brand. Bulletproof makes beverage, snacks and other health brands to help high performers hack their own biology to operate at peak performance.
Starbucks - More than just great coffee. Starbucks in an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roasters reserves headquartered in Seattle, WA. As the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks is seen to be the main representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture.
Whole Foods - an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which exclusively sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.
Beyond Meat - a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company's initial products were launched in the United States in 2012. The company has products designed to emulate chicken, beef, and pork sausage.
Impossible Foods - A company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. Founded in 2011, and headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company’s state aim is to give people the taste