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, 113 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. 220: Is This The Next Billion-Dollar Brand? It’s Starting To Look Like One.

    Ep. 220: Is This The Next Billion-Dollar Brand? It’s Starting To Look Like One.

    We first featured  Jim, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, the brothers and co-founders of Kitu Life Super Coffee, on Taste Radio back in May 2018. At the time, their two-year-old brand, originally known as Sunniva Super Coffee, was on track to generate $3.5 million in annual revenue. In the 24 months since, the company has been on a torrid pace, having built a national distribution network and retail presence that includes Kroger, Publix, Target and Walmart. The brand is expected to pull in $70 million in sales by the end of this year.
    Earlier this month, Kitu Life announced a distribution agreement with beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), which will carry the brand’s products on its trucks nationwide. ABI also acquired a stake in the company via its investment arm, Zx Ventures, as part of a new funding round which is reported to be in the $25 million range. Growing up fast? It’s an understatement for the DeCicco brothers, who we sat down with for an interview featured in this episode of Taste Radio. 
    As part of our conversation, they opened up about riding the wave of growth and why their success has been as much about avoiding the wrong moves as it is about making the right decisions. They also discussed the role that mentors and advisors have played in steering company strategy, how they’ve adjusted their management style to meet the needs of an evolving workforce, why they’ve simplified communication about the beverages and their perspective on raising capital and aligning with strategic investors.
    Show notes: 
    0:42: Interview: Jim, Jake & Jordan DeCicco, Co-Founders, Kitu Life Super Coffee -- The DeCicco brothers sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that began with a chat about their living situation and thoughts on whether “Shark Tank” judges regret not investing in the brand. They also discussed the evolution of Kitu Life’s distribution strategy, why they initially turned down opportunities for placement in Walmart and Kroger, the importance of “looking like a billion dollar brand,” and why they believe that the company’s team “is our barrier to entry.” Later, the brothers explained why they dialed down messaging about the beverages’ functional benefits and instead focused on the products’ taste and lack of added sugar, engaging ABI long before their recent deal with the company and what, if any, concerns they have about equity dilution.
    Brands in this episode: Kitu Life, Honest Tea, Bai, Bang, Vitaminwater

    • 44 min
    Insider Ep. 91: How Best In Class Brands Win At Whole Foods And Beyond

    Insider Ep. 91: How Best In Class Brands Win At Whole Foods And Beyond

    This edition of Taste Radio Insider features highlights from interviews with six entrepreneurs and experts who joined us during the first half of 2020, including TRUFF hot sauce founders Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni; Anouck Gotlib, CEO of Belgian Boys; Nona Lim, founder/CEO of Nona Lim; GT’s Living Foods founder/CEO GT Dave; Ashley Thompson, co-founder/CEO of MUSH; and Lee Robinson, director of dairy and beverage for Whole Foods Market.
    Show notes: 
    0:53: The Answer Was Always Landis; No FOMO For Subscribers -- The episode’s hosts opened the show with a chat about a new macaroni and cheese dispensing system called “Mac on Tap.” They also spoke about notable presentations and panel discussions from the recently held BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live conference and how subscribers have exclusive access to over 40 sessions from the event.
    10:49: Interview: Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni, Co-Founders, TRUFF -- We kicked things off with Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni, founders of TRUFF, a fast-growing brand of upscale, truffle-infused hot sauces. In the following clip, pulled from Ep. 70 of Taste Radio Insider, Guillen and Ajluni discussed their approach to product development, working with influencers, and the importance of community management and exceptional customer service.  
    15:44: Interview: Anouck Gotlib, CEO, Belgian Boys -- Next we featured Anouck Gotlib, the CEO of European breakfast and snack food brand Belgian Boys. Within our interview from Ep. 73, Anouck explained how she’s cultivated strong relationships with retail buyers,  why she believes there’s a big opportunity for breakfast foods and how Belgian Boys is expanding its presence in Walmart.
    20:41: Interview: Nona Lim, Founder/CEO, Nona Lim -- We continued with Nona Lim the founder of namesake brand Nona Lim, which markets a variety of better-for-you and convenient Asian-inspired foods, including broths, sippable soups and noodle bowls. In Ep. 71, Nona explained why she describes venture capital as a “double-edged sword” and why she jokes that a partnership with an investor is “worse than getting married.”
    26:15: Interview: GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods -- Next up was GT Dave, Founder/CEO, GT’s Living Foods, the maker of GT’s Kombucha. In an interview from episode 86, GT spoke about why founders should celebrate their idiosyncrasies to better connect with consumers, why he’s embraced a more public persona and how he steered a positive outcome following the publication of a provocative profile of him in “Forbes.”
    33:20: Interview: Ashley Thompson, Co-Founder/CEO, MUSH -- We continued with Ashley Thompson, co-founder and CEO of MUSH, an innovative brand of ready-to-eat oatmeal. We spoke with Ashley in Ep. 81 and in this clip, she explains why she set out to create a “best for you” product, why she likes having a “polarizing” brand name and how she prepared for her first meeting at Whole Foods.
    37:59: Interview: Lee Robinson, Director – Dairy & Beverage, Whole Foods Market -- Wrapping up the episode is Lee Robinson, the director of dairy and beverage for Whole Foods Market. In our clip, pulled from an interview featured in Ep. 82, Lee discussed best practices for engaging with retail buyers, why vulnerability is key when navigating the terms of a successful relationship and how he evaluates disruptive concepts.
    Brands in this episode: Stouffers, Health-Ade Kombucha, Kohr Brothers, Recess, TRUFF, Ciroc, Belgian Boys, GT’s Kombucha, Nona Lim, MUSH, Whole Foods

    • 48 min
    Ep. 219: This Is How Category-Leading Brands Stay On Top

    Ep. 219: This Is How Category-Leading Brands Stay On Top

    The centerpiece of a fast-growing snack and beverage platform, ALO Drink pioneered the premium aloe beverage market in the U.S. and is the country’s top-selling brand in the category. Launched in 2009, ALO Drink is owned by SPI West Port, a multi-faceted distributor, import, exporter and manufacturer of premium products that also markets ALO Snacks, Jen Collagen and Woodridge Snacks.
    In an interview featured in this episode, SPI West Port founder and CEO Henry Chen spoke about how he’s steered the development of ALO Drink and aligned brands by staying true to the company’s core focus on natural and better-for-you products, while thoughtfully incorporating functional ingredients and global flavors into its products. He also discussed his decision to expand from beverages into snacks and his perspective on the most impactful business relationships, and also shared poignant advice for early-stage brand owners gleaned from his experience as an entrepreneur.
    Show notes: 
    0:42: Interview: Henry Chen, Founder/CEO, SPI West Port -- Chen spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how his background as an importer led him to create ALO Drink, maintaining aloe’s cache as a superfood ingredient and who he views as the ultimate industry gatekeeper. He also discussed how SPI West Port strategizes around retail placement, why hiring salespeople with established buyer relationships has been critical and why beverage entrepreneurs can’t overlook the capital requirements necessary to launch and scale.
    Brands in this episode: ALO Drink, ALO Snacks, Jen Collagen Water, Woodridge Snacks

    • 24 min
    Insider Ep. 90: It Takes A Certain ‘Touch’ To Make Distributors Love You

    Insider Ep. 90: It Takes A Certain ‘Touch’ To Make Distributors Love You

    How do distributors evaluate emerging brands? And how can those brands best position themselves to succeed once they’re part of a distributor's route?
    We explore both questions with Chuck Casano, the founder of Pitaya Foods, a brand of superfruit-based frozen smoothie packs, and HiTouch Distribution, a Southern California-based direct store distributor focused on healthy refrigerated brands.  
    In a conversation focused on how Casano has navigated the food industry on two fronts, first on the brand side and later as a distributor, he discussed how a social mission guided his foray into the food and beverage industry, the evolution of Pitaya Foods from dragon fruit-based beverages into a superfruit brand platform and how the failure of a key distribution partner propelled his decision to launch HiTouch. He also offered his take on disruptive concepts, the elements of successful brand relationships and what it’s like to be on the front lines of food distribution during the pandemic.
    Show notes: 
    0:43: We Need A Moment To Savor These Wins; A “Top Chef” At #BNVL; We’re Ready To Drink Cocktails -- The hosts spoke about the winning brands of BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH’s Pitch Slam 8 and how the judges evaluated the presentations in both competitions, along with discussing some of the unique opportunities for brands and Tom Colicchio presenting at the upcoming BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live event. They also chatted about why BevNET is now reviewing RTD cocktail products and a few notable products sent to the office in recent weeks, including snack bars, ethnic foods and adaptogenic hard teas.
    14:50: Interview: Chuck Casano, Founder/CEO, Pitaya Foods & HiTouch Distribution -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Casano about his experience first as a contestant in the BevNET’s inaugural New Beverage Showdown and, nine years later, as a judge in New Beverage Showdown 19. He also discussed how the 2008 recession altered his career path, how a visit to Nicaragua spurred the idea for Pitaya Foods, the discontinuation of the brand’s beverage line and the careful balance of direct-to-consumer and retail distribution. Later, he explained why investing in now-defunct DSD distributor Greenshoots Distribution was about hedging his bets, incorporating lessons learned from working with other distributors into HiTouch and what makes for successful brand relationships versus unsuccessful ones. Finally, Casano shared vivid experiences of working during Los Angeles’ initial quarantine orders, the impact of delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Prime on the future of in-store shopping and why he believes there is massive upside for frozen brands in the years to come.
    Brands in this episode: Pitaya Foods, DRNXMYTH, Tip Top Cocktails, KEHO, MasQ, Yolélé, Oorja Nutrition Bars, Odwalla, Vive Organic, KOR Shots, Sun Noodle, GT’s Living Foods, Koia, REBBL

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep. 218: Can CBD Help Fix The NFL? DEFY’s Terrell Davis Is A Believer.

    Ep. 218: Can CBD Help Fix The NFL? DEFY’s Terrell Davis Is A Believer.

    One of the most dominant running backs of his generation, Terrell Davis helped lead the NFL’s Denver Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl championships in 1998 and 1999 and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. Following a career cut short by injuries, Davis, who is a lifelong sufferer of migraines, spent years searching for natural remedies, an exploration that led him to CBD. 
    His journey culminated in the creation of DEFY, a CBD-infused, zero-THC performance drink that he co-founded with business partners Beau Wehrle and Megan Bushell. Launched in 2018, the drinks are promoted to eliminate aches and pains for consumers during and post-workouts. 
    In an interview included in this episode, we spoke with Davis and Bushell about their foray into the CBD business and how their respective paths led them to create DEFY. They also discussed how the company is navigating a murky regulatory environment for CBD, DEFY’s communication and consumer education strategies and how Terrell is advising current NFL players about incorporating hemp- and cannabis-based products into their lifestyles.
    Show notes:
    1:07: Interview: Terrell Davis and Megan Bushell, Co-Founders, DEFY -- Davis and Bushell joined Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation that included the former NFL star’s involvement with food and beverage brands, how his health and nutrition regimen has evolved since retiring and how he educated himself about CBD. They also spoke about why they chose beverages as the primary focus for DEFY, which also markets oil and balm products, developing short- and long-term strategies for the brand amid uncertainty in how CBD is regulated and why they avoid making functional claims about the ingredient. Later, Davis discussed DEFY’s positioning as a “performance drink,” the level of interest in and use of CBD among professional athletes and how DEFY is communicating differences between the ingredient and THC.
    Brands in this episode: DEFY, Campbell Soup

    • 31 min
    Insider Ep. 89: Why ‘Constant Improvement’ Is The Mantra For This Top-Selling Brand On Amazon

    Insider Ep. 89: Why ‘Constant Improvement’ Is The Mantra For This Top-Selling Brand On Amazon

    How do you build a top-selling brand on Amazon? For Bizzy Coffee, the answer is with a simple and consistent formula: adapt, evolve and repeat.
    Launched in 2015, the cold brew coffee brand, which markets bottled cold brew concentrates, bagged coffee and multiserve ready-to-drink beverages, has followed a strategy of constant modification and improvement throughout its development. That focus has supported the growth of Bizzy’s bagged coffee, which has been the top-selling cold brew product on Amazon for two years running, as well as the creation of its recently launched multiserve drinks, which are sold at Target and Hy-Vee and expanding into a range of other retail chains later this year. 
    In an interview included in this episode, Bizzy co-founder and CEO Alex French spoke about how his experience at 301INC, the venture arm of General Mills, impacted the creation of the brand and learnings from the failure of its shots line. He also explained why buyer presentations are as important as the product itself and the dangers of being underfunded, as well as shared valuable tips about how to stand out on Amazon.
    Show notes: 
    0:37: “Competing” Agendas, Stress Relief and #BNVL -- The episode’s hosts chatted about the semifinal rounds of BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 19 and NOSH’s Pitch Slam 8 and how brands in the competitions applied timely trends and functional ingredients to their innovative concepts. They also spoke about growing interest in stress relief as a functional benefit, “blockbuster” launches of 2019 and shared an update on the upcoming BevNET and NOSH Virtually Live show, which will include more than 30 sessions over the two days of the event.
    11:43: Interview: Alex French, Co-Founder & CEO, Bizzy Coffee -- French spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about why he saw himself as a “rogue” at 301INC, how researching online data sparked the launch of Bizzy and how the company has identified its core consumer. He also discussed how Bizzy sourced data from its retail partners and customers via its packaging, how a lack of funding led to humbling experiences in his personal life, as well as why the company got into the shots business and why, despite significant retailer and investor interest, the products were discontinued. Later, he explained how Bizzy identified white space for a multi-serve cold brew product and how he sold the concept to retailers, and why he’s cautious about revenue derived from Amazon.
    Brands in this episode: Bizzy Coffee, 5-hour Energy

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
113 Ratings

113 Ratings

Entiendas ,

I have an idea...

If you have an idea for a business, any entrepreneur really, this podcast is for you! The guest interviews are fantastic and there are so many ideas to take away from each episode. Who knows, this podcast may even be the foundation, and help me get the knowledge/advice/courage, to finally move forward with my own idea...a hop water company, with a twist.

Keep ‘em coming, Cheers!

Madamoiselle Mango ,

Food or bev entrepreneur? MUST listen

Love how I built this but need something more specific to your category? Enter TASTE radio. Highly recommend listening when you can be able to take notes, because you’ll have so many ideas of how to apply successful tactics of others to your unique idea. Also highly recommend subscribing to BevNet, absolutely worth it for industry news and category trends!

#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.

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