Plant based foods are driving sustainable sales growth across almost every category. Consumers are looking for healthy alternatives to their favorite foods and plant based brands are filling that void.

The purpose of today’s story is to share with you the hottest trend in all of retail and dispel the many myths around it. Today, we’re talking about plant-based foods. Now, don’t worry. We’re not going to try to convert you into being a vegan or try to convince you to give up your favorite food. Many of the people that start eating plant-based foods don’t do it to radically change their diet, but instead, they use it to augment what they’re currently doing, and this is why this information is so important.

We were all told from an early age to make sure that we eat our vegetables. There’s a lot of wisdom to that, but more importantly, there’s a lot of benefit to eating a plant-based diet, or at least eating foods that are plant-based in addition to what you’re currently eating. Today, there’s so much more to plant-based foods, from unique products across every single category, products that offer new and different tastes, products that are very similar to what you’re used to with a non-plant-based diet, but in many cases, healthier. 

There are a lot of benefits to eating a plant-based diet. This is one of the key things that we talk about. In this episode, you’re going to learn a lot, not only about the trends, but about the benefits of a plant-based diet, why it matters, and why it’s so important to your health and the health of this planet. Remember that this podcast is about you and it’s for you. The purpose of this podcast and my mission is to make our healthy way of life more accessible by getting your products onto more retailer shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. This is how we do this.

If you like the podcast, share it with a friend, subscribe and leave a review. Now, here’s David Benzaquen

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Click here to learn more about Plant Based Solutions

Click here to learn more about Ocean Hugger Foods



Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #92

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

Get ready to learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.


Dan: Welcome. The purpose of today's story is to share with you the hottest trend in all of retail and dispel the many myths around it. Today, we're talking about plant-based foods. Now, don't worry. We're not going to try to convert you into being a vegan or try to convince you to give up your favorite food. Many of the people that start eating plant-based foods don't do it to radically change their diet, but instead, they use it to augment what they're currently doing, and this is why this information is so important.

We were all told from an early age to make sure that we eat our vegetables. There's a lot of wisdom to that, but more importantly, there's a lot of benefit to eating a plant-based diet, or at least eating foods that are plant-based in addition to what you're currently eating. Today, there's so much more to plant-based foods, from unique products across every single category, products that offer new and different tastes, products that are very similar to what you're used to with a non-plant-based diet, but in many cases, healthier.

There are a lot of benefits to eating a plant-based diet. This is one of the key things that we talk about. In this episode, you're going to learn a lot, not only about the trends, but about the benefits of a plant-based diet, why it matters, and why it's so important to your health and the health of this planet. Remember that this podcast is about you and it's for you. The purpose of this podcast and my mission is to make our healthy way of life more accessible by getting your products onto more retailer shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. This is how we do this.

If you like the podcast, share it with a friend, subscribe and leave a review. Now, here's David. David, thank you for coming on today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to plant-based solutions?

David: Sure. So, thank you so much for having me, Dan. As Dan said, I'm David Benzaquen, the CEO and founder of PlantBased Solutions. My background is that after spending ten years in the nonprofit world advocating for more plant-based eating and for a healthier and more sustainable world, I came to realize that I wasn't having the impact I wanted to, and a lot of that was around my ability to influence behavior change in consumers.

What I came to believe was that telling people there was a problem in the world and asking them to change their behavior because of that problem, wasn't nearly as effective at offering them the tools or the solutions to make those behavior changes more convenient.

So, after hearing a speech by Jeff Dunn, the former CEO of Coca-Cola North America about how he left to market baby carrots for the company Bolthouse Farms, I was so inspired by his ability to brand and market something as mundane as baby carrots, and I thought, "If I could do that for plant-based foods, I could really change the world and influence consumers to make compassionate, sustainable and healthy choices.

Dan: So, let me ask you — let's back up a little bit — why plant based foods? Talk to us a little bit about it. What does it mean, why is it important and why does it resonate with you?

David: Sure, so, I've long been an advocate of many different social progress issues, but the issue of plant-based eating and living is particularly important to me because it just touches on so many areas. One of the number one causes of climate change and environmental destruction is the intensive animal agriculture we use today, which is wasteful in its efficient use of resources like grain and water and land and the amount of emissions that are produced by animal farming.

From a health perspective, eating animal-based foods is one of the leading cause of diabetes, heart disease and certain kind of cancers. And, of course, from the animals' perspective billions of animals languish and suffer and then die in horrendous conditions every year for our food. So, what was so inspiring to me was the idea that with a simple choice, every single day, I sit down to eat, I have the power to make a decision that helps me, the animals and the planet, and I don't think I can think of any other issue in the world where we on our own can have such impact on so many areas that affect us.

Dan: Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate you sharing this with us, but I really wanna dig into this more so that people understand why this matters and why this is so important, 'cause I think a lot of people really don't understand, not being necessarily a tree hugger or whatever, what does plant-based foods means? What's a plant-based diet look like? Why is it that you think you can survive and be healthy and happy without protein, traditional protein, and while I know the answers, I want you to explain this in your terms from your perspective. What is your diet look like?

David: Sure, so first I should say that most people define a plant-based diet as a diet that is made out of non-animal sources. That includes everything from fruits and vegetables, obviously, but also beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, all kinds of amazing things, grains, and everything that those ingredients can be made into, so there's such a huge variety.

From a health perspective, if you look historically at human history, for millennia, we've actually eaten primarily plant-based diets because it was very difficult to get animals. We didn't have the industrialized animal agriculture that we do today which allows us to eat such an exorbitant amount of meat, and so throughout most civilizations, meat has been really either nonexistent or has been an extremely rare luxury that has been a small portion of the diet and people's nutrition that fueled them for many, many, many millennia came from plants.

And, that is because all of those nutrients we look for are available in plants, whether protein, calcium, iron, all of these things are abundant in plants and we find them extremely convenient and easy to not only find but enjoy in those forms. So, my diet is extremely varied, and actually, one thing people find when they dabble in or adopt plant-based eating is that the diversity of foods they eat tends to increase because suddenly you become much more aware, and rather than the center-of-plate item being either beef or chicken, which it is 90% of the time, probably for most people, suddenly you're thinking about, "What are all the wonderful things that I can have at my center of my plate from all the many kinds of grains?" from couscous and quinoa and farro and all of that to incredible, really robust vegetables like eggplant and cauliflower and all the way you can make those.

Of course, processed grains, you can have pastas of all kinds, and so, there's so many ways that you can make a delicious meal that doesn't include those animal ingredients, and those who explore plant-based eating tend to find that their diets, their palates and everything else really benefit from doing that.

Dan: How do you mean benefit from doing that?

David: Well, I find that my palate is much more sensitive and that I appreciate different foods much more than I used to because, traditionally, where one is taking animal proteins that have been cooked in a ton of salt and fat were actually looking at so many different flavors that are not found in those limited ingredients, so there's a much larger variety of flavors and textures and tastes and colors if you're looking at expanding your food to a much broader range of things. So, every day, I'm eating purples and reds and greens and oranges and yellows because I'm choosing to eat a variety of the Earth's greatest plants.

Dan: Makes sense, and of course, there are a lot of benefits from that. Can you please go into that? And the reason I wanted to ask this question — thank you for bringing it up — is I don't think that people really make the connection, so let's help them understand the benefits from getting the ... I can't remember the term that's used: not nightshade vegetables; maybe that's it, but the kind of vegetables that are very vibrant in terms of their color.

David: Sure, so all the different colors that are found in nature represent different nutrients that are in those plants, so if you think about it, green vegetables have chlorophyll, which is extremely valuable, and red vegetables like tomatoes have lycopene. All these things have great benefits to the body, betacarotene in carrots is known for protecting the eyes, lycopene for the brain, all of these things can have incredible nutritional and functional value for our bodies, and we're not often getting that.

So, we're so used to thinking about the macro-nutrients like protein or iron, but we forget that our very complex brain chemistry and nerves actually depend on a really rich environment of enzymes and different amino acids in different foods coming together to give us the value we have.

We also forget that most of the animals we eat get the nutrients that we're getting from them from the earth, so, cows are not eating other animals to give us their nutrition. The protein they get, every calorie in a cow, came from eating a plant, so, really, we are doing it anyway, but we're just doing it in a less efficient way if we eat the animals, because they are burning so much of that nutrition and those calories in order to grow, and then we are losing that caloric intake when we choose to eat them instead of the vegetables they ate in the first place.

Dan: Now, that's a really interesting point of view. I haven't actually heard that one before, but certainly, the vegetables and everything else, when in terms of getting it sort of secondhand, that draws an interesting picture. And, one of the things that I talk a lot on this podcast is that animals, cows etc., are not designed to eat grain and hay, and so because of that, that changes the food that you get from them and that creates a lot of the issues you have, and while, certainly, there's no study that says that lactose intolerance or allergy issues etc. are caused by that, but I've had a lot of great conversations with people like Gary Hirshberg, John Foraker etc., where we don't remember these problems when we were growing up eating foods back when cows were eating grass and etc.

And my point is that a lot of the food allergies and a lot of the problems that we have are relatively new in our history, and so going back to what you're saying in terms of going with a plant-based diet, it helps alleviate that, and I love the fact that you're talking or getting at the point where having the ability to have a more wide-ranging palate that's not so very limited is really giving us an opportunity to really grow and expand and do more with what we're getting.

So, can you go into that a little bit more? And, where I'm going with this, David, is that, when you're eating a plant-based diet, there're a lot of proteins ... and specifically talking about protein, but when you're eating some of these different protein sources, the way that they fuel the body, the way that ... the nutrients they provide for us help us in ways that animal products don't. Can you speak to that?

David: Sure, so, a few thoughts there: first of all, to speak to that specific issue: when you think about how you get your protein from vegetables, one thing you're not getting is all of that extra saturated fat and cholesterol that you have to intake with the animal products.

Dan: Good point.

David: So, really, you're losing the net benefit because you're taking on a lot of bad with a lot of good, and what we like to use as a phrase in the community is nutrient density. So, the density of the nutrients, the value of what you're getting when you're eating the vegetables is so much greater because the nutrition is packed in and not clouded or crowded out by these other things that you really don't want in excess in your body, so that's why it's so valuable.

In terms of the benefits of eating plant-based, I think one thing I wanna stress, 'cause we've been talking about this as a diet and this as a way of living, is that while I personally choose and have chosen for approximately 20 years now to live entirely plant-based, the benefits that come from these foods and from embracing this lifestyle are not exclusive to those who are doing this all of the time, and I think that's really important. People can be intimidated by the idea that choosing to eat these foods means that they have to identify with a certain political ideology or that they have to identify with an identity of a group that is exclusive or elite.

The reality is, we all are eating a lot of plant-based foods regularly whether you recognize it or not and the choice to do so more frequently is beneficial, and so if that means that you do meatless Mondays or that you try replacing your regular milk with almond milk, any step you take can make an incredible impact in so many ways for your body and others, and I think that's a really important thing to remember so that people don't feel like it's all-or-nothing.

The analogy I use is that if somebody's trying to quit smoking and they're smoking two packs a day and they go down to nothing and they're at it for three months, and they slip up and they have a cigarette. If they're friend told them that they should just go back to having two packs of cigarettes a day because they screwed up anyway, that person would really not belong in their lives. That's not the way to approach somebody. This is not about perfection. There's no such thing as perfect. There's no such thing as better-than. The only question is: can we each make decisions in our daily lives that are impactful, conscientious and beneficial? These are small ones that we can make, just like choosing to buy organic or fair-trade. Every time you sit down to eat, you've got so many incredible empowering choices, and I hope people will join that exploration and learn how fun it can be.

Dan: Thank you for sharing that. That actually was going to be my next question because a lot of people, to your point, they think of this as an either/or. You don't have to be one or the other. In fact, I know a lot of people that — flexitarian is a term they use — that try this, that try to experiment more with plant-based foods, and they're finding that they can survive, which obviously that's a no-brainer, but more importantly, they're finding they like the products.

And, what's really neat about this industry that you're a part of is that — we're both part of, but more so what you're doing in terms of plant-based foods — is that there are a lot of solutions out there that are actually ... they're products that are taking the place of traditional non-plant-based products that are actually sometimes even better in terms of taste, texture, quality, etc. Can you speak to that, where the industry's come, especially in the last couple years?

David: It's been an extraordinary amount of progress in the last few years, and what I think happened is that, first of all, for many, many, many years, there have been products that have been similar in the diet to traditional animal proteins, particularly in the far east, so, tofu and seitan and tempeh and other things that we use as meat alternatives here have actually been in the diet forever, and were the primary protein source in many cultures where meat was not as common because of cost or accessibility, and other things like milk from soybeans or from other nondairy, non-cow-dairy sources, have also been extremely prevalent for a very, very long time: coconut milk, coconut cream, all these things, of course, in Indian cuisine.

So, these foods have been part of our lives for many years, but in the recent years, what's happened is that the amount of demand for healthy sustainable plant-based more conscientious eating has grown so much. Particularly, as you noted, among flexitarians, the amount of research and development that has gone into creating incredible new products has accelerated dramatically.

To give you an example ... I'm not somebody who loves to throw out a ton of statistics because I think they get lost. However, I think, every so often, one is really valuable. In 2006, it was estimated among surveys from Mintel that 1% of the population was entirely plant-based, or vegan, as we'd call it, and then about 5% of the country in the US was vegetarian. About 6% on top of that was flexitarian, and they define that as people who were eating more than half their meals vegetarian.

Now, fast forward only seven years to 2013 and Mintel did that study again. This time, they found the number of vegans had gone up about half a percent, one-and-a-half percent. The number of vegetarians also had gone up about a percent to 6%, but the amazing number was that rather than 6% of the country being mostly vegetarian, suddenly, it was 16.7%, and so in just seven years, we nearly tripled the number of people who were choosing to eat mostly vegetarian. Then, when you look at the people who were reducing, who were saying they were actively trying to reduce animal protein, that was an additional 40%.

So suddenly ... I hear often from retailers or from restaurants or from others who aren't as aware of this community, they say, "I know you're telling me to carry these options for plant-based diners, but it's such a small community," and I say, "On the contrary. First of all, over 50% of the country says they are actively looking to move in this direction, some exclusively," but also, as the president of the National Restaurant Association said a couple months ago, she was quoted saying, "Everybody knows that not having vegan options on your menu is burning money. We all know that the vegan is the one who dictates where the meal occurs."

I'm paraphrasing, but the importance of that is that we all know that those with dietary restrictions or choices like that need to be accommodated for. If your child has peanut allergies, you're not going to go to a restaurant that has peanut oil in every single dish, and so having those options, making these dishes available is so valuable for everybody, and the growth has been so tremendous.

The growth in these consumers, as I said, has led to R&D, which has led to great new products, which has led to more consumers, and now we even have an explosion of investment specifically in the plant-based space to fuel even more R&D and scale. So, today we have unbelievable cheeses and beef and pork and chicken and even seafood alternatives and of course dairy alternatives that are making life so much more pleasant. I can remember what a huge change it has been from the plant-based cheeses when I first embraced this eating to today.

Dan: In fact, on that note, I've had Daiya on the podcast before and they had some new products at expo. I think it was Expo West last year where their cheese is stretchy and it has the same texture and feel and it cooks the same way, and yeah, they've come a long ways, and of course Beyond Meat's been on there, too. When you talk about — let's back up a little bit — dietary restrictions, this is something that I spent a lot of time talking about how different foods in the natural organic space are catering to that unique customer that has not just a discerning palate, but more importantly, they need to have products that are free of. Can you speak to that? And, how do plant-based foods address that need, that new niche?

David: Sure. I mean, the nice thing about plant-based foods is that they hit on so many trends. Those who want to eat less meat and obviously animal protein, those solve that. A lot of allergens are eliminated from the question because dairy, eggs, seafood, those are all very common allergens, and they're not found there, and overall, they tend to be higher in all kinds of nutrients. If you look at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly called the American Dietetic Association, they've found that this population has lower overall body mass indices, has lower ischemic heart disease rates, all these things.

So, diners, as they're suffering from more ailments and from issues of obesity and everything else, are looking for these foods, and having them available makes it possible for so many people who otherwise wouldn't be able to enjoy their meal to do so, and today, more than ever before, we're recognizing that it's not just important for the business to cater, as you said, based on just the restriction, but actually making it delicious and fun and desirable and affordable, and that's such a huge change.

Gone are the days where a business can get away with serving you a grilled vegetable platter, and I tell chefs, "If you wouldn't be thrilled eating this as your dinner, neither will I."

Dan: Well, well said. And, in fact, actually, I had some Indian neighbors for a while and I had the privilege of experiencing more of their vegan cuisine, and I'm talking about authentic Indian food. And, what they were able to do with it, the new flavors, the new palates, the new experiences that I had dining on their cuisine was quite eye-opening, and my point is that not just necessarily ethnic food, but a different way to look at a product, look at a food and be able to get more out of it, get really excited about eating it ... So, where I'm going with all this, where I'm going back to with all this is that again, this is not a either/or situation. You don't have to adopt one or the other, but more importantly, having a plant-based diet doesn't mean that you're just gonna eat salads the rest of your life and nothing else.

You're laughing a little bit, but honestly, when I talk to people about this, that's what's flashes in their mind. It's like, "I can't live on bunny food for the rest of my life. I need more," so, when you're talking about removing the allergens ... Again, let's talk a little bit more about that. There's so many issues with foods. There's so many issues with what people can and can't eat. I want to go one step further: food is medicine, and as we're talking about the nightshade vegetables earlier and some of the benefits that you can get from plant-based foods, one of the things I think people overlook — you kind of hinted on this a little bit — is that those things that you can only get from a plant-based diet — again, food is medicine — are things people are paying for in their supplements.

But, here's the main point, is that what you're getting in your supplement is not as good as you would get if you were to pick up an orange or pick up a carrot or something else. Can you speak to that?

David: Sure, so, the ways that nutrients are embedded into the foods we eat in their whole form, make them more bioavailable. It means that they are more digestible and absorbable in the bodies; we can benefit from them wholistically. One reason is because many of these foods have enzymes that actually help our body break them down, and they have other nutrients that they interact with that make it easier as well.

So, people know that very often milk is fortified with vitamin D. Why? Because In actuality, people think milk increases your calcium intake, but in reality, it actually, without the vitamin D, causes your bones to leech a net loss, making a net loss of calcium and so it's having a deleterious effect. But there are other sources of calcium like certain green vegetables that already have the vitamin D and your body is able to absorb the calcium more effectively, same with oranges; the fiber in the orange if you're eating it whole as opposed to just juicing it or just taking a vitamin C supplement, is going to help those nutrients like the vitamin C absorb into the body and give you all kinds of other benefits.

And so, I'm certainly not opposed to supplementation, and I think in this day and age where our soil health is not what it should be, I think it is important that we understand that they may have a place in our lives, but it's even better if we can get so much of our nutrition from whole food ingredients.

Dan: Well said. And, I'm glad you said soil health. Okay, so, my next question for you was literally gonna be, "What about regenerative agriculture and what about the quality of the foods coming from the land?" and what I'm getting at is: I had a really great conversation with Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Group, and he was talking about regenerative agriculture, and he was just talking about how the chemicals that we're spraying to deal with weeds and herbs, weeds and pesticides, etc., are reducing or killing off something called ergothioneine. I hope I'm saying that right.

But, the point is, it's a fungus that is in the soil, naturally occurring, that provides a lot of the — I hope I'm saying this right — not nutrients, but it does something to help reduce against cancer or reduce against a lot of the other ailments that our bodies have to fight off. By the way. That's podcast episode 83, which I highly recommend that everyone listen to. And, my point is this: by adopting a regenerative agriculture model, our products, our foods are even more nutrient-dense. The quality and the caliber of the foods that we're getting out of the ground are far better for us, far more sustainable, and, more importantly, more nutrient-dense. Can you speak to that, some?

David: Sure. I'm certainly not an expert on regenerative agriculture, but I am a huge fan of it, and the premise of regenerative agriculture similar to biodynamic growing, is that, if we grow almost the opposite of monocropping ... So, rather than clearcutting really diverse ecosystems and destroying thousands of species of native plants, bacteria, animals, etc., in order to plant a single, usually nonorganic, often GMO crop for animal feed or for one really limited functionality or nutrient purpose, if we grow things in their natural state in a way that they are interacting with all of that rich biodiversity, they bring so much more valuable in sustainability to the land.

For example, they help prevent soil erosion, but they also: the actual nutrients that are in the plans are much richer. One way to think about this is that if all of those animals and all of the foliage of those plants are dying and becoming part of the soil, they are producing nitrates and other matter that are gonna grow into those future plants and going to enhance the nutrition and make a more wholistic beneficial profile to eat.

And so, as we are monocropping and using all these pesticides and stripping away everything but that one very narrow nutrient profile we're trying to produce cheaply for the masses as a stripped down supposed value, we're losing all that benefit. And, I've had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Shepard, one of the country's leading regenerative agriculture experts, about some of the amazing ways that he and others are looking at bringing back some of these incredible heirloom species of native plants around the country that have nearly been lost and can be brought back to life, both benefiting local economies, local environmental protection, and our food system and health by bringing us that complete nutrient profile and functional profile.

We forget that plants and bacteria, animals, all of these can do a lot more than just feed us in terms of nutrition. They also can give us different functional properties in making foods, in making medicines and everything else.

Dan: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. You're talking about heirloom species, and I've had that conversation on a lot of different podcast episodes. What's unique about this is that foods that ... Plant varieties that we don't see today, there are still some in existence that are being brought back to life that people are starting to use in their products, and they have properties to 'em, healing properties and flavor properties etc., that are very unique and very different.

And so, one of my favorite vegetables is a sweet potato. I'm not talking about the orange thing. I'm talking about a yellow, what I call a yam, talking about a sweet potato, which is yellow. And yet, if you buy that in Japan, it's blue because of the soil texture, and one of the things that Jeff was talking about is: because of bringing back thiamine, how it's adding those more nutrient-dense, more benefits to it. When you're speaking about heirloom vegetables and heirloom species and heirloom seeds, etc., what are you seeing as the future? What's going on in that space, and what should we be looking for?

David: It's a great question and I think that there are so many facets to it, and it's gonna take a lot of intentional work, so I think it really takes a lot of education on the consumer's part to support those efforts, and finding economic models to support the investment in creating that industry, because it is going to be a more localized economy. It's gonna be one that will not achieve the same kind of efficiencies and scale in the short-term maybe ever as the kind of processed food that we are eating today from monocropped crops and from unhealthy animals.

So, I think it's a multifaceted approach that has to be taken, but we have to take into account all the benefits that can come from it, and I think like so many food trends, it is gonna start with a few ingredients that will be celebrated in restaurants on menus and that chefs will be able to bring to life to show the potential, and then they will become adopted more widely.

So, if we think about how kale, cauliflower, different tea flavors, passion fruit, calamansi this year ... If we think about the flavors of the last few years and ingredients that have really come to huge excitement among consumers, bone broth, all of these things, much of that has been driven by chefs, and I think that will have to happen also with regenerative agriculture, and it's starting as you think about the move towards really celebrating local products in many restaurants.

As that becomes more appreciated in restaurants, consumers will notice it and will look for it more in stores and there will be more revenue available to producers to increase the production of those kinds of foods, so, I don't know how quickly or exactly the path, but I think it takes a combination of ingenuity and risk taking on the farmer side and investment on the social investor side, and consumer awareness and demand to help support that even if it does mean that in the short-term, there may be a small economic hit to us.

Dan: Well, and that's why we're talking today, to help support these brands that are baking these ingredients, literally, into what they're doing. I mean, let's go back a little ways and kale was that thing that you'd see as a garnish in the deli case or the meat case of any retailer, and now it's something that's showing up in every food because it has so many great nutrients. And so, there's one example of how a product has changed from just become a commodity that no one really appreciated or understood to becoming something that people are really looking for in smoothies and drinks and chips and just about everything else.

So, one of the other things that you mentioned — and I really wanted to dig into this as well — is that plant-based foods are more drought resistant. You were talking specifically about the fact that they use less water; they require less. What term would you use? They require less resources to produce. Can you speak to that and why that matters?

David: Sure, so, in today's world, we are facing a real crisis globally of water shortages and land shortages, and the impacts of that are global and violent and deeply impactful for so many people in the world, particularly those in the global South, or less advantaged parts of the world because we are making them, like you said, less drought resistant. We are putting them in positions where they're more likely to face landslides and other environmental disasters because the plants that were traditionally there aren't there to hold in the soil, landslides all these kinds of things.

And, water in particular is a huge issue. Meatless Mondays is quite well known. What people don't know is that it's actually supported by Johns Hopkins, and all the research they do comes out of there, so the data they have is pretty extraordinary, and they've found that eating plant-based or a vegetarian diet just one day a week out of the year saves more water than not showering for the entire year.

So, that's a pretty extraordinary impact. Similarly, the amount of carbon emissions that are reduced from the atmosphere from eating a plant-based diet are equivalent to switching from a hybrid to a Hummer for the average commuter's living. These kinds of impacts are so dramatic and the implications for the world are huge. Right now, we don't necessarily realize unless we're Appalachia or other areas where water shortages are a very real thing, or in other parts of the world, how serious water shortages are.

But, if you think about it, whenever I mentioned this briefly earlier: whenever we are getting food from animals, they first have to grow, and that means that we're using land, grain and water to make them grow just like we would humans, but every minute they live, they are using up some of those resources before they are transferred to us. So, for the grain example, it can take ten pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. So, that means there's all of that loss in that growth in terms of the nutrient density. It also means that you need water and land not just to feed that cow and give him or her room to be, you also need water and land to grow the crops they're eating, so it's doubly inefficient. So, the severity of that problem is very serious.

Dan: It is, and thank you for sharing that. In fact, actually, I had the CEO and the founder of Ripple Foods on, and he said that it takes one gallon of water to produce one almond. Think about that. And then, to go further, I heard something in the news recently that said that the people in South Africa ... actually, I was talking to someone down there and he said that, yeah, they have 13 gallons of water that they can use in a single day. Think about that. That's a couple toilet flushes. That's a shower. That's brushing your teeth a couple times. Think of how fast you would go through 13 gallons if that's all you had, how restrictive that would be.

And so, that's one of the reasons why this is so important. Again, I appreciate your sharing this. So, the fact that you're with PlantBased Solutions, what is your role in the industry and how do you help brands?

David: Absolutely, so, PlantBased Solutions works to help companies develop, launch and scale their products. We specialize really not only in plant-based products, but specifically in consumer packaged goods. So, we're not working to do marketing or strategy for restaurants or for authors or anything like that. We're really focused on consumer products just like so many of your listeners and guests, and we're focused on those that are plant-based in nature, primarily in food and beverage.

And, what we do for them when I say we do development, launching and scaling, we do everything from product development, operations support to help find and manage production, whether internal or through third party manufacturers. We are setting and managing branding and marketing for the companies, both in terms of working with consumers and also with their trade partners like stores and restaurants and that kind of thing. We're working with them on their fundraising.

So, we work with a significant number of investors with a particular focus on supporting the plant-based food space who come to us seeking opportunities to invest money in mission-aligned businesses, and we work with them, with these companies, even more than anything — and this is all wrapped up together — on strategy, understanding whom they should be selling to whether it's the trade partner or consumer, "What do they look like?" And that can have to do with all kinds of things based on who's looking for that product and all those kinds of things.

How much should they charge for it? What flavors should they have? What kind of packaging should they have to fit on the shelf, meet the shelf life needs they have, all these kinds of things, so, a lot of what we do is strategy to make sure that the time and money that the company spends in market is super honed and efficient because it can cost a lot of money to launch or grow a consumer products company, particularly if it's a perishable food, and understanding how to plan for the most efficient ... Success in the marketplace is everything.

Dan: And, on that note, one of the things ... One of the ways that we're connected personally is you reached out to me several years ago and helped try to understand this space. And, while I refer to this a lot on the podcast — and it would be on this podcast webpage and the show notes — I did a project for the 2016 Category Management Handbook, and, at your direction, the goal of the project was to focus on what was going on in plant-based foods? How were they driving sales across every category?

Now, while the article focused on organic plant-based foods, gluten-free, all the different attributes were really responsible for driving all the sustainable sales across every category, something you've alluded to, but what the article, my research found, and what was really interesting is that if you remove organic or plant-based or gluten-free from the category, that small sliver of that category — we're talking about all outlet food — that the categories are either flat or declining.

And my point is this: that it's these brands that are driving sustainable sales across every category, and so, thank you for spurring me to do that ... thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to get the data. Nielsen provided the data for me, and again, you can see the article on the show notes, but where this was really going was to help support the Plant Based Food Association, which was just starting out at the time, and that led up to the strategy that I helped them with in terms of how to define the category and, "How do they go to the market?" etc.

But, more importantly, what came out of this was a strategy that I talk about a lot on this podcast where it's these small disruptive brands that are filling a specific niche like you're talking about, David, that are fueling growth across every category, and the reason that's important is because it changes the story that these brands can leverage on-shelf.

In other words, instead of being an ATM machine or being a cash cow for a retailer, they can now go to the retailer and say, "You know what? Our customer is far more valuable to you than the package that we put on your shelf," and so, with that story in mind, this is what retailers are starting to aspire to, are really starting to understand. Can you speak to that, that transition that that whole progression and transformation into teaching a retailer or helping a retailer understand why plant-based solutions or why plant-based foods are so very important to their overall plan in terms of what products they have, their assortment of the products that they have on their shelves?

David: Absolutely, so, clearly, we're talking about an area that you are so deeply expert in. I'm grateful for the work you've done in general and in this category in particular. When it comes to the plant-based products that we represent and others in the marketplace, they do have significant value in a retail store for multiple reasons.

First, they tend to have really healthy margins for the retailers. Secondly, they are offering benefits that are extremely on-trend for consumers and not having them means that you're not going to attract the younger consumers that are most excited to pursue these ways of eating, and all the others who are trying to eat more healthfully and sustainably.

And third, they are attracting consumers who can't eat elsewhere, and if you don't have those options, you're going to be losing market share to those who are needing them, but in addition, those who are eating more plant-based, just like those with many other dietary restrictions or preferences, I should say, are going to be more aware of what they're eating and going to be more educated, and going to be willing to invest more for the right products. They care more about what they're eating. They think more about it. They're more thoughtful. They're gonna spend more money and more time engaged in consuming and preparing and buying food, and that is a more valuable customer because if you build trust with them, if you give them what they need and what they're looking for, they're going to come to you over and over again and they're going to spend more and more money.

And so, from a category management perspective, having these products available meets more than just the one consumer who may only look for those products. It's gonna increase people's time in the supermarket or the grocery store and it's gonna increase the amount they're willing to spend, how much they are willing to tell others. That's the other thing. People who are restricted and feel denied are very likely to represent and celebrate and share what value you've brought them.

And so, I just think about the people who've had certain medical conditions early in the days when health foods stores and supplements stores were just starting out, and when you found a good supplement expert in a health food store or in a vitamin store who could help you figure out what could help you treat your candida or what could help you with this or gout or whatever it is, just think about how valuable that was to find that person, just like a medical practitioner, who was aligning with your values to face your medical challenges more wholistically and healthfully. Just think about the value in finding somebody you could trust who was offering you solutions for what you needed.

It's the same thing in this case. Those who are looking for great products are looking for a more educated and passionate retail partner who is providing them because they know and care about your needs, and the consumer will feel that and appreciate that and will benefit you in their shopping.

Dan: Thank you for sharing that, and I wanna go one step further. As you've shared in various parts of our conversation today, consumers want products that they can know, like and trust. What's unique about the way consumers buy products today, it's not that they walk in and choose the red box, the blue box, the whatever. They look beyond the four corners of their package, and this is why this is important for brands, especially plant-based brands to be able to communicate the value of their product, the authenticity of their mission and how their nutrients are better than maybe a processed product or something else on the shelf, that opportunity for those products to speak directly to their consumers and involve those consumers in the products that they're producing and how they're producing the products.

So, let me put it this way: naturals, I've said for years now, is the R&D of the consumer packaged good channel. And, what I'm getting at is that the natural consumer ... The natural brands are more closely aligned to their products, to their consumers, and as a result, those brands, like the brands you're talking about, are producing products that their shoppers actually want, and because of that, those consumers are going to the store and they're glad to pay a premium for what they really want.

In other words ... and I use this examples a lot: if you walk into a store and you've got the best mainstream bread next to an organic bread and you can say, "Well, that's 30 cents more, 40 cents more, whatever," but a consumer can make that decision at-shelf for what's the best decision for them, then that gives the retailer an opportunity to grow sustainable sales in the category. So, let me back up and make sense of this.

So, if you are what you eat and what you eat matters and you eat an organic product that sustains you for longer, that provides you with the nutrients and everything we've been talking about today to keep you going longer, to help you feeling healthy longer, etc., then that few extra pennies that you're paying at-shelf are really just a drop in the bucket because you know that it's actually cheaper in the long-run and better for you.

Now, Gary Hirshberg said — and I love this — that, instead of paying for foods that don't necessarily meet your needs and then having to pay a doctor, let's use food as medicine and buy the foods that we need now to help avoid some of those medical costs, to keep ourselves healthy and so on. So, again, where I'm going back to this is that being able to leverage those strategies in your selling story as any health-focused brand, particularly in this space, and I love working at the plant-based food groups, brands that are in this space, is because you've got a unique mission, a unique opportunity to help educate brands, help educate consumers as to why you matter. And, by the way, that's why we're doing this podcast, so thank you for being here. Can you add to that?

David: Yeah, I mean, the points you've made are absolutely correct and valuable, and I think that we have such an authentic story in this community. One thing I love about being in the plant-based community is that there is such a spirit of camaraderie because we all recognize that we are able to be part of something that consumers want and that they deserve and that they need and that can really make such an impact across so many issues. And, I think that retailers are starting to really recognize that and it's benefiting us all.

And, there's more room. There's constantly ... The demand for these products is far outpacing the availability of new products. I am surrounded by all these investors, and the one thing they always say to me is, "We can't give away enough of our money. We have a mandate to give away, to invest our money, and we can't find enough companies to invest in," and that's a pretty extraordinary time that consumer demand for these plant-based products is growing so quickly that even with all the money going into R&D and launching new products, that the demand is outpacing us, and that's a fantastic place to be.

You'd always wanna be the one with unmet purchase orders rather than the one with inventory that you can't sell, so it's a great position to be in and the authentic stories we can tell are so meaningful. There's nothing more powerful than the stories that I hear from my entrepreneurs, whether it's about plant-based or other things. I know an entrepreneur who I had the privilege of working with a few years ago and is still a friend who worked on Wall Street in finance in a very high-powered job and made good money, and when his son was born, he had some medical ailments.

And, after trying every traditional solution through medicine, he finally was recommended a change in diet, and through that diet change, his son's health changed dramatically. As an example, just to give some specifics, his son was autistic and quite high on the spectrum and he was nonverbal. Through a change in diet, he became verbal and communicative in many ways: emotionally and sensitively and everything else with his family and friends and was able to experience life much more fully.

And, this led this entrepreneur to leave his very safe cushy job and dedicate himself to starting a food company, which is always a big risk in this space, and I was so inspired by that. Every one of my entrepreneurs has those kinds of stories, and I can relate because I also came from a background having dedicated my life to this because of my experience with some of these issues. So, it's a beautiful thing to be able to share that with consumers, and your point about feeding ourselves right the first time instead of having to suffer the financial and other consequences later is so serious. Just think about all of the medical bills that we, for ourselves, and through the taxpayer system for others, are paying for through the costs of unhealthy food and environmental destruction. It's astronomical what difference it could make if we were able to, just through preventative medicine, of eating healthfully, exercising, not smoking, etc., if we would prevent all of these astronomical rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.

Dan: Absolutely. Thank you for saying that. In fact, let's go one step further. You vote with our dollars. We vote with our dollars in terms of a ... what we do with the choices as consumers that we make at-shelf. And, if more consumers step up and understand that ... Again, this is why we're doing this today. If more consumers can understand this, if these brands that we're talking about can help communicate this more effectively to the retailers, to the consumers, this is how we affect change long-scale.

Instead of giving money to farmers and groups that don't support this that have GMOs or bad farming practices etc. ... Instead, if we're able to support the farmers that are focused on regenerative agriculture and organic etc., that's how we're affecting change as a nation.

By the way, Phil Lempert, the supermarket guru, I was asking him some of these questions on an earlier podcast episode, and he made the comment that food is the new Silicon Valley, and the point being — and, I agree with him completely — this is the future. This is where investment is. This is where the opportunities are. If you think about: a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to decide: what smartphone to they have? Do they want the new iPhone, etc.? Yet, very few people think about, "What am I gonna put in my mouth and what is the longterm consequence?"

And, I guess what I'm getting at is that, "Do I wanna make sure that I've got all the features on my phone or computer, etc?" But now consumers are beginning to think about food in the same light, and it's we consumers that are moving the needle. It's we consumers that are driving the sustainable sales across every category that are really gonna be the future of CPG in the long-run.

In fact, one of the things I asked him about and several other people is ... and this is something I've been floating for a while, is that these small disruptive brands are the future of consumer package goods. These big brands are struggling, but these small brands with, again, the intimate relationship with their core consumer, and as you said, getting back to sort of the loco flavor of where these heirloom products come from. This is really what's driving sustainable sales across every category.

One of the things I wanted to ask you about is: you just recently made an addition to your staff. I heard a lot about it during Expo East, etc. So, you brought on Daniel. Can you tell us a little bit about him, his background and: what does he bring to your team? Because, I'm looking at him, and he's a chef, looking at his LinkedIn profile.

David: Sure, so, yes, PlantBased Solutions recently hired Daniel Karsevar, and we are thrilled to have him on our team. Daniel actually has an incredible and deeply varied experience in his career. He did start as a classically trained chef, having worked back-of-house in restaurants, and then went on to work in restaurant operations and management, and in food service, institutional food service operations and management, so he spent time in charge of a region for Compass Group, the world's largest institutional food service provider. He then went on to work for their Starwood Hotel preferred group where he was able to work with them on developing culinary concepts around the world.

And, then he went to work for an incredible company that started as food service and which he helped lead into CPG, which was Chloe's soft serve fruit company, and it was during his time there that he really learned about and fell in love with the opportunities and benefits both to a business and to the world of selling in consumer package goods, and through that, he learned about operations and about making recipes scalable and all these things, and went from the food service side to the CPG side, so he has spent a number of years now consulting brands on product development through his chef background and through his understanding of scaling recipes now, and operations.

With Chloe's he was able to manage their transition into contract manufacturing for scaled product. They're now a very large manufacturer of delicious fruit popsicles, and he was able to work with them to scale that. So, he has worked with brands on manufacturing management and product development and planning operations and inventory and costing. You add to that our traditional work in brand management, marketing, strategy and fundraising, and we're really looking to be an end-to-end solution for brands from day-one, even pre-market to marketplace success.

And so, it's been a wonderful addition. He's been a wonderful addition to our team. We're thrilled to have him, and we really see these things as integrated. One of the things I'll mention about that as far as how we see ourselves as a company and how we see our relationships with our clients, is that in the typical food company background or consumer package goods background, they're kind of two different models and approaches to how you think about a brand. There is a brand management approach, and then there is a discipline-specific approach, and so companies like Unilever and Kraft and Procter & Gamble have traditionally used this brand management approach, which is what we use, and that is the idea that because a brand's work in sales, marketing, distribution, operations, financial management, all of these things are so integrated — because they really depend on each other for survival and success and because they help feed each other's success — that in order to be successful, it is important to not look at them in silos.

So, you go to some companies and you might be ... if you go to some companies for a new job, you might be tracked into being a marketing person or a sales person, and in some companies, I've even met people who've told me that they had to compete for budgets between the marketing and sales teams, and I find that humorous or maybe sad, because the reality is that if you don't have marketing to build brand and product awareness, how are you gonna sell? If you can't sell, how are you gonna spend money on marketing to grow loyalty, which is gonna increase sales more? They're so intertwined.

So, when we think of the value that Daniel's bringing to us, we've had the ability and the pleasure of working with brands to take their products and move them, build awareness, build excitement and build investment and help them get out into the marketplace, but what we haven't had is the ability to get that product, and so through his product development and operations lens, we're able to work with people to create and produce and scale their products such that we can then do all the other work we've historically done around getting the scale in the marketplace.

Dan: Thank you, David, for sharing that. That's exactly why this podcast exists. All the content I've put out, everything, the courses etc, is to teach brands how to do this, how this matters, and thank you for bringing that up. The reason I wanted to ask that question is because, to your point, now that you've got Daniel on board, it offers a total end-to-end solution. It gives you the ability to help brands more than you had before, and more importantly, it gives you a lot more flavor in terms of understanding not only how products are working in the CPG space, but in the food service space, which is a unique entity or animal on its own, no pun intended.

But, the fact that that's where a lot of those trends are really taking root, literally, in restaurants. Is there anything else that we haven't talked about in terms of PlantBased Solutions that you'd like to share before we talk about Ocean Hugger Foods?

David: I don't think so, and actually, the topic of food service may be a perfect place to talk about Ocean Hugger Foods.

Dan: That works. Go for it.

David: Great. So, among our work with other tremendous clients, we are privileged to operate and have confounded and co-own a company called Ocean Hugger Foods. It's a tremendous company and brand with a really exceptional background and story. So, I'll tell you about it.

The gentleman who founded the company is a certified master chef named James Corwell, and I call him Jimmy. Jimmy has just an unbelievable résumé in the culinary world, having worked for the Culinary Institute of America and having been named best new chef New Orleans and having been the runner up in the Bocuse D’Or competition ... I mean, really an exceptional chef and a man of great integrity.

And, a number of years ago, James went to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, and it's one of the largest fish markets in the world, and there, he saw what they're very famous for, which is their daily tuna auctions, where every single day, they auction off four million pounds of tuna, and for those who don't know, tuna are actually among the most endangered of all seafood, and it's very, very sad. I don't think people realize how imperiled our oceans are, but actually, one of the largest studies on the topic found that by 2048, there will be no more commercial fish of any species left in the oceans.

I know that sounds conspiracy theorist and crazy, but if you look it up, it was reported on the front page of the New York Times. It was studied and reported on in National Geographic and commissioned by some major global universities, and that means that 30 years from today, we will have no more fish that are commercially available, so no more fish of any scale.

What the implications of that are for our planet, there are more fish species, species in the ocean than there are on land. So, when we think about biodiversity, about the amount of carbon that would be lost from the oceans, because the oceans are the biggest carbon sink, about the impact on coastal fishermen who represent millions of people around the world, the impact on access to nutrition for so much of the world and just the devastating loss of all those species, it's really a horrific situation.

And so, my co-founder Jimmy, after seeing this mass scale auctioning of these tuna, was so moved that he decided he wanted to dedicate his life to solving this problem. And so, over the next few years, he figured out how he could take simple delicious vegetables and give them a culinary treatment to provide the same texture, taste, mouthfeel and culinary experience that high-end seafood does, but without the impact on the oceans that they would usually entail.

So, our first product is called ahimi, and it is a plant-based alternative to raw tuna. You mentioned Phil Lempert, the supermarket guru briefly, and I just had the privilege of being on his show at The Fancy Food Show in New York this summer, speaking about and sharing our products for him to taste, and ahimi is sold in food service exclusively, which is why I thought it'd be a good way to transition to this conversation. I'm happy to speak about why that is, but we've found tremendous success with that product. We were honored to be called Whole Foods' most innovative supplier of the year in 2018.

Dan: Congratulations.

David: That was very exciting. Thank you so much. We sell in their sushi bars and with major food service operators like Sodexo, Aramark, Bon Appétit Management Company etc., and have just been really, really fortunate and thrilled to see the results, and it all comes from such a beautiful place where the chef has been really, now, dedicating his years to how he can make this difference. So, PlantBased Solutions was so honored to be selected to partner with him to make this happen. I am the company CEO and my team helps to manage the success of that brand from before it was in the market. And, working together with the chef, we just had a really, really incredible opportunity and seeing what an authentic story, an incredible product and a lot of hard work can accomplish.

Dan: Very exciting. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I'm thrilled to be able to try it some day and looking forward to when it gets to my neck of the woods, so hopefully soon.

David: Are you in Boulder, Dan?

Dan: I'm almost in Boulder. Is it in Boulder?

David: So, I'm thrilled to say that it's actually at the Pearl Street Whole Foods.

Dan: Oh. You know what, and actually, I'm speaking at Natchcom next month ... actually, in a couple weeks, so I will have to stop by there and get me some.

David: There you go. Great.

Dan: Fantastic. Okay, good. Well, I appreciate your sharing that and also letting me know where I can get it, so I'm looking forward to that. I really appreciate your time, David, for coming on. Is there anything ... one of the things I've been doing on the podcast is giving you an opportunity to put me on the spot and ask me a question about how I can help you solve a bottleneck. Is there anything I can help you with or any of your clients with?

David: Absolutely. I was thinking about this question 'cause you let me know it might come, and your expertise could come in real handy. I'm not sure if it's something that would be easy to answer in this format this quickly, or if it's something that I should listen for on a future episode, but: working in food service, our product ... and I think this would apply to a lot of companies. Our product is not logged in a universal system that is consumer-facing, and so what a consumer buys is not our product in its whole form. It's used as an ingredient in final dishes, which means when somebody scans or punches in that item at the register, we're not registering that sale as an item of our product, and that makes tracking sales and tracking data extraordinarily difficult.

So, where John's Restaurant may log it as the poke bowl with ahimi in it, somebody else's restaurant may log it as the sushi roll, and there is no sales data that I know how to acquire the way I would buy SPINS data or Nielsen data to tell me what the chocolate ice cream that my brand makes would sell. I don't know how to aggregate that data and it makes it difficult to manage, and so, I was curious if you had any tips for how a company that sells food service ingredients to back-of-house food service operators may think about how to acquire and aggregate and then assess data for their effective marketing and other efforts.

Dan: Great question. Actually, it's an interesting question, too, and I have had versions of this question before, so let me answer it this way. One, you gotta know your customer. And actually, this is why I developed my Turnkey Sales Stories Strategies course, which is to teach brands how to do exactly this, so let me explain.

You've gotta become an expert, David, on your product, on who buys your product, your customer, how they use your product, where they ... everything about them. It's no longer a matter of, "Are they female, head of household, male, whatever, college educated?" Doesn't matter. You need to understand everything about your customer, and when I say your customer, anyone who's using your product, how they using it, and then how are they selling that product to their consumer, and if you can understand that, that's the first piece of the puzzle.

The second thing is, as you begin to tell your story and as you begin to build your story, by knowing your customer and knowing how your customer uses your ingredients, now you can begin to bake that conversation into your selling story. So, here's what I do. I would start reaching out to all the different people who would buy your product as an ingredient, and I would start to, for lack of better terminology, start developing some conversations, some surveys, one-on-one. If you could sit down with their customers, "What do you think about the product? How do you like it?" Really get to understand it from their consumer's point of view.

And then, take that and bake it into your selling story, one. Two, if you're able to show growth in terms of what's going out the backdoor of your store, backdoor of your warehouse, then you can add that arm to it, and then three, if you're able to talk about the category, and the category meaning anything that would have that ingredient in it, now you're being able to get into understanding how that category might be responsible for driving sales.

So, we were talking earlier about how plant-based foods are driving sales or gluten-free etc. Well, a lot of times, some of the things that I do ... and I've got some interesting anecdotes about this. I'm actually starting to work with a company called ItemMaster where they do rich attribution, where you can start identifying the ingredients on a panel, on a product, and you can start to really understand how that ingredient is flowing through the products that its in and how that's driving sales in the category.

So, long strategy is that once you understand how your ingredient is impacting the category, the foods that it's in, etc., then that's where you start learning how you're impacting retail and how you're impacting food service in other groups. Think of it this way: if you think about years ago, back when acai was a big thing, or chia — it doesn't matter. Any of those different types of ingredients — I knew that they were gonna be a really, really big deal, not just a fad, because I was paying attention to the fact that a lot of foods had those ingredients added in them.

And, if you take that same learning, that same methodology and you apply it to whatever you've got, plant-based foods — it doesn't matter — and really understand that, and then leverage that as your story and remember: the most important thing isn't the package or the product that you're putting on a retailer shelf or on a food service shelf; it's the customer that buys it. And so, from the customer perspective: why do they choose your product over someone else's? If you can answer that with an anecdotal, well-written, well-put-together story robust with a lot of great consumer insights, that's how you solve that problem. Does that help?

David: It does. Thank you so much.

Dan: I'm glad to help. So, thank you for your time. Anything else you wanna talk about, anything we've missed?

David: I don't think so. I'm really grateful for the opportunity and if anybody wants to learn more about Ocean Hugger or about PlantBased Solutions, I'd love for them to reach out or check out our websites and I'm excited to find more opportunities to work with you and benefit from your tremendous experience in category management in the space and just really grateful for the opportunity.

Dan: No, thank you so much. I'm honored that you came on, today. Thanks for making time for us, and I will be certain to put links to both in the podcast show notes and on this podcast webpage, so thank you for your time. I appreciate it and I look forward to our next conversation.

David: Thank you, Dan. Take care.

Dan: I wanna thank David for coming on the podcast today and for sharing his insights. More importantly, I wanna thank David for dispelling many of the myths around plant-based foods. This is perhaps the fastest growing trend across the entire retail landscape. I'll be certain to put a link to Ocean Hugger Foods and PlantBased Solutions in the podcast show notes and on the podcast webpage. This week's freebie is my free Turnkey Sales Stories strategies course. I recommend everyone take it. The reason this course exists is because I teach you how to tell your story. How do you become more than just a package on a retailer shelf? How do you help the retailer understand the value that your customer brings into their store?

And then, more importantly, how do you stand out on a crowded shelf? That's exactly what this course teaches you. You'll find a link to it in the show notes. You can get to this week's podcast show notes at Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

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