100 episodes

The top podcasts for food and beverage professionals, BevNET’s Taste Radio and Taste Radio Insider feature interviews with the leaders and rising stars of our fast-evolving industry. The shows also include discussion on emerging trends, innovation and news of the week from our regular cadre of hosts from the BevNET and NOSH teams.

Tell us what you think at ask@tasteradio.com. You can also email us if you are interested in Taste Radio sponsorship opportunities. If you like Taste Radio, share it with a colleague, will ya?

See you every Tuesday and Friday!

Taste Radio BevNET Inc.

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 4.9, 109 Ratings

The top podcasts for food and beverage professionals, BevNET’s Taste Radio and Taste Radio Insider feature interviews with the leaders and rising stars of our fast-evolving industry. The shows also include discussion on emerging trends, innovation and news of the week from our regular cadre of hosts from the BevNET and NOSH teams.

Tell us what you think at ask@tasteradio.com. You can also email us if you are interested in Taste Radio sponsorship opportunities. If you like Taste Radio, share it with a colleague, will ya?

See you every Tuesday and Friday!

    Ep. 215: After A $550 Million Exit, Why Vega’s Co-Founder Has ‘Culture’ On His Mind

    Ep. 215: After A $550 Million Exit, Why Vega’s Co-Founder Has ‘Culture’ On His Mind

    In recent years, few trends have impacted the landscape of food and beverage as significantly as that of plant-centric diets. Things were certainly different in 2004, when there were just a handful of brands that focused on and promoted plant-based products. One of those was Vega, an ahead-of-its time brand of protein powders made with vegetable-based ingredients. Brendan Brazier, an endurance athlete and expert in plant-based nutrition, co-founded Vega and was the original formulator of its products. 
    Amid a surge in plant-focused eating habits, Vega became one of the leading brands in the fast-growing business of nutritional powders and bars, and in 2015 the company was acquired by Whitewave Foods for $550 million. Last year, Brazier rekindled his entrepreneurial spirit as the co-founder of Pulp Culture, a first-of-its-kind brand of fermented cold-pressed juices anchored in the emerging business of “better-for-you booze.” 
    In an interview included in this episode, Brazier spoke about the roots of his passion for plant-based foods and how it culminated in Vega, why the brand’s heavy investment in consumer education paid off, the reason he launched Pulp Culture despite avoiding alcohol for 14 years, how he’s drawing upon lessons from building Vega to support the brand’s development and his perspective on the evolution of plant-based foods.
    Show notes: 
    0:43: Brendan Brazier, Co-Founder, Vega & Pulp Culture --  Brazier sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for a conversation that explored his background as a professional endurance athlete and why he incorporated plant-based nutrition into his training regimen. He also explained why a flavorful and good tasting product was not an initial focus of Vega, why the company embraced the saying “ignorance is our only competition,” and why private equity firm VMG was the right partner for its first round of outside capital. Later, he discussed the creation of Pulp Culture and how he assessed the opportunity for a better-for-you alcoholic beverage, why he implores entrepreneurs to find a co-founder and what he views as the keys to a successful plant-based food brand.
    Brands in this episode: Vega, Pulp Culture

    • 46 min
    Insider Ep. 86: GT Dave Has A Refreshing Take On His Iconic Brand

    Insider Ep. 86: GT Dave Has A Refreshing Take On His Iconic Brand

    Let’s say that you’ve created an iconic brand that essentially launched a category and is beloved by millions of loyal consumers. Why would you change anything? That’s the question we explored in our interview with GT Dave, the founder and CEO of GT’s Living Foods, the maker of GT’s Kombucha. 
    The top-selling kombucha brand recently underwent a packaging refresh that tweaked a few elements of its label design and renamed two product sublines as a way to better delineate its offerings. In a conversation included in this episode, Dave spoke about the reasoning behind each change and how his perspective as a category creator impacted the moves. He also spoke about why he’s embraced a more public persona and why he’s adamant that kombucha should avoid comparisons to soda.
    Show notes: 
    0:37: Mike’s Quill of Judgment, Tracking Snacking & A Love Letter To Costco -- The episode’s hosts spoke about the upcoming BevNET New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH Pitch Slam 8 competitions and how interested brands can apply, how some snack brands are adapting to changing times and palates and the elements of a successful virtual sampling event. They also riffed on Melissa’s passion for a certain club retailer and a few delectable ice cream and latte products consumed over the past week.
    15:05: GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods -- BevNET CMO Mike Schneider spoke with Dave about the timing of his brand’s packaging refresh and what he viewed as significant problems in how consumers perceived and understood each of GT’s product lines, along with other brands in the kombucha set. Dave also discussed why he sees parallels in the evolution of the kombucha and craft beer categories, how he originally conceived the naming and design of his products, including the meaning of GT’s Synergy line, and why the new look beverages are more deliberate in their description of what’s inside the bottle. Later, he explained why he sees himself as “an overprotective parent” when it comes to his brand, incorporating consumer feedback into the refresh and how he’s become more comfortable interacting with his customers and the trade, reacting to the provocative “Forbes” profile of him and the educational component of rolling out a new look. 
    Brands in this episode: GT’s Kombucha, Health-Ade, MALK, Know Brainer, Beckon Ice Cream, Chosen Foods, Virginia Distilling Co., DiNoci Dairy-Free, Pop & Bottle, Yasso, Vita Coco, Snapple, SoBe, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, White Claw

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep. 214: The Cornerstones Of Siete’s Billion-Dollar Strategy

    Ep. 214: The Cornerstones Of Siete’s Billion-Dollar Strategy

    It’s remarkable to hear Miguel Garza, co-founder and CEO of Siete Family Foods, discuss the brand’s innovation strategy and how it fits into the company’s mission and ethos.
    Since Siete’s launch in 2014, Garza has presided over a sprawling and ever-widening platform of products, including tortillas, taco seasonings, queso dips and enchilada sauces, all of which are plant-based and grain-free. Despite Siete’s alignment with two impactful food trends, Garza says that new product development is focused on creating heritage-inspired food that can appeal to a broad range of consumers. That commitment is a cornerstone of Siete’s ambitious goal to become a billion-dollar brand, an objective that, given surging sales and a $90 million dollar infusion of capital in 2019, is getting closer to fruition.
    In an interview included in this episode, Garza expounded upon the principles upon which Siete was founded, including the importance of family in how the company operates and plans for the future and why love is a critical component for any business.
    Show notes: 
    0:37: Miguel Garza, Co-Founder & CEO, Siete Family Foods -- Garza joined Taste Radio producer and host Ray Latif for an expansive conversation exploring the Siete CEO’s penchant for startling people, how the family-run company embraces its staff, the meaning of the brand name and logo and how he and his siblings work through business disagreements. He also discussed the hallmarks of Siete’s product development and innovation strategies, why certain products don’t make it to market and how brands can effectively  collaborate with retailers on extensions. Later, he explained why revenue isn’t the defining metric for Siete to become an iconic brand, how he and Siete shareholders determined that The Stripes Group was the right long-term financial partner and shared his advice for young entrepreneurs and CEOs.
    Brands in this episode: Siete Family Foods, Annie’s, Chobani, Califia Farms, Honest Tea

    • 50 min
    Insider Ep. 85: How This Brand’s ‘Hidden’ Strategy Helped It Land Kroger And Target

    Insider Ep. 85: How This Brand’s ‘Hidden’ Strategy Helped It Land Kroger And Target

    Joining us in this episode is Jessica Weiss Levison, founder and CEO of Peekaboo Organics, a maker of indulgent organic ice cream infused with “hidden” vegetables. Launched in 2018, Peekaboo drew immediate interest from several national retailers who saw value in the brand’s better-for-you positioning. The products, which include chocolate ice cream with hidden cauliflower and a strawberry variety made with carrots, are carried nationwide at Kroger, along with hundreds of Safeway, Whole Foods, and Target locations in select regions.
    In our conversation, Levison spoke about how she transitioned from a career in law to the ice cream business, addressed the often-asked question about why consumers needs vegetables in their dessert, why building a community around the brand is critical to its retail and funding strategies, and why winning over kids is not as challenging as she expected it to be. Also, a can’t miss discussion about how to avoid slotting fees.
    Show notes: 
    0:33: Investing In Immunity, Dr. Bunson Honeycraven & A Groundwork For Today -- The hosts encouraged listeners to tune in (and submit questions) to “Office Hours,” BevNET’s interactive livestream program that is produced on Tuesdays at 3 PM, and spoke about topics from a recent episode including immunity-focused innovation. They also riffed on a couple sparkling water products, why John and Mike could be in a remake of “The Muppet Show,” discussed an interesting update with a super-premium coffee brand and reminded folks about the benefits of subscribing to BevNET and NOSH.
    13:08: Jessica Weiss Levison, Founder/CEO, Peekaboo Organics -- Levison spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how getting fired from her job propelled her into entrepreneurship, lessons from her first foray into the ice cream business and the massive benefit from certifying her business as woman-owned. She also discussed her unconventional way of meeting a Target buyer, the challenges formulating Peekaboo products, initial reception to the brand, why a specific demographic “gets” the concept better than others and why she undertook a packaging revamp. Later, she shared her process for fundraising and the big difference between investors that offered capital and those that didn’t.
    Brands in this episode: Peekaboo Organics, Seasons Sparkling, LifeAid, Intent Brands, Ugly Drinks, Cure Hydration, Reese’s, Dr Pepper, Simply 7 Snacks, Groundwork Coffee, Halo Top

    • 44 min
    Ep. 213: How This Brand Thrived In A Business Often Marked By Failure

    Ep. 213: How This Brand Thrived In A Business Often Marked By Failure

    Despite sustained consumer interest in better-for-you beverages drink options, few companies in the energy space have been able to achieve meaningful scale in a category dominated by a handful of massive brands, such as Red Bull and Monster. 
    A notable exception, however, is GURU, which launched in 1999 and markets a first-of-its-kind organic energy drink. Based in Montreal, GURU is the third best selling energy brand in Quebec, Canada, according to the company. The brand has also established a consistent presence in natural retailers in the U.S., along with a growing business in convenience stores.
    In an interview included in this episode, GURU CEO Carl Goyette spoke about how a disciplined business strategy has paved the way for sustainable growth, why the company “says no to a lot” of opportunities, and why he believes that having both experience in a corporate environment and a thirst for entrepreneurship have been key to his ability to manage and build the brand.
    Show notes: 
    0:38: Carl Goyette, CEO, GURU Organic Energy -- Goyette spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about his family’s background in the apple business and how it contributed to his success as a sales leader, and shared advice to those starting at the bottom of the ladder or in middle management about how to get ahead. He also discussed the impact of being first-to-market in the organic energy segment, the reasons that the brand is profitable and cash flow positive, and how the product’s positioning has evolved over the years. Later, he explained his belief that GURU can replicate its success in Canada south of the border, why the company has maintained a relatively low marketing and advertising spend and why he’s not afraid of taking on the biggest players in the energy category.
    Brands in this episode: GURU Organic Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar Energy

    • 30 min
    Insider Ep. 84: The Fastest Growing Brand In This Category Was Also The Most Patient One

    Insider Ep. 84: The Fastest Growing Brand In This Category Was Also The Most Patient One

    This week, we’re joined by Jamba Dunn, the founder and CEO of Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha. Founded in 2013, Rowdy Mermaid has emerged as the fastest growing brand in the kombucha category, according to SPINS data sourced by the company, and achieved national distribution in 2019. Despite its rapid growth, Rowdy Mermaid, which has deep roots in its backyard of the Rocky Mountains, has long embraced a patient and thoughtful approach to expansion, and, until recently, avoided venture capital funding in favor of independent management and oversight. 
    As part of our conversation, Dunn spoke about how he’s reconciled the duality of Rowdy Mermaid’s current trajectory and its long-term business strategy, the brand’s function-forward approach to formulation and new product development, why he eventually decided to align with a private equity firm and how his role as and definition of CEO has changed over the years.
    Show notes: 
    0:34: The Bundesliga Is Coming Back. Brands Are Giving Back. Hardcore Music Never Left. -- The episode opens with most of the hosts expressing excitement at the impending return of German soccer and praise for food and beverage brands lending support to those in need during the crisis. They also chatted about how a heavy metal-themed canned water brand has taken a non-traditional approach to music production and why it’s promoting skateboarding in the kitchen. 
    13:08: Jamba Dunn, Founder/CEO, Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha -- Within an expansive interview with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Dunn spoke about the inspiration behind Rowdy Mermaid, the company’s shift from a taproom business to a focus on packaged products and how his interest in New Nordic cuisine formed the basis for the brand’s ingredient strategy. He also discussed Rowdy Mermaid’s gradual expansion beyond the Rocky Mountain region, whether he had to reevaluate the company’s mission and value system in the shift from a small to a large company and why he was impressed with investment partner Allen Karp’s choice of attire in their first meeting. Later, he spoke about challenges in scaling capacity and output, his clever acronym for “CEO” and his belief that “an entrepreneur is the only person who would work 80 hours a week to keep from working 40.”
    Brands in this episode: Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, Liquid Death, Upwell Beverages, Little West, Vybes, Better Booch, Vive Organic, Dona, Good Mylk, MUSH, Joolies, Chromatic Coffee, Partners Coffee, Elm Coffee Roasters, Humblemaker Coffee Co., Groundwork Coffee, Harvst, Stonewall Kitchen, TCHO, Fine & Raw, Peekaboo Organics, Argania Butter

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
109 Ratings

109 Ratings

#kengrainfree ,

Taste Radio has a lot of...Taste!

Sorry could not resist with the title. As a person in the in the food industry (retailer side of the desk) staying on top of current trends is must in an ever so dynamic industry. Taste Radio has become a great resource for myself and my team. Whether it’s trying to find the next food trend, or getting entrepreneurial advice and insights from some of the most dynamic professionals in the industry, Taste Radio pulls both together in an engaging and informative way. The team at BevNet is doing the industry a great service and look forward to listening to Taste Radio from years to come.

Dinglbary ,

New favorite

I could tell you about Ray Latif’s perfect radio voice, or about the insightful and entertaining interviews, or about the priceless advice to entrepreneurs in the food industry, or the fun banter and product reviews..... but I’ll just sum it up and say: I love this show and can’t get enough! Keep up the great work!

HemaNReddy ,

Listened to every episode so far!!

Needless to say, this is how I keep up with the CPG world. I love how the beginning of each episode gives a glimpse into the team behind it, as well as the current brands, reviews etc. High quality production and information packed interviews!

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