Have you ever wondered how things are made? We are all extremely curious but few truly understand where their food comes from and how it’s grown. Produce is the primary building blocks of all we consume. Better ingredients equal better quality and taste.

As an industry, we do a really good job of communicating the value of our product, this simple product. But I think one of the things that makes natural, natural is being able to break food down into its individual component. What I’m talking about here are the ingredients. What are the ingredients in your product? What’s unique about them? How do they differentiate your product from other brands, et cetera? More importantly, how did those products align with the missions and the values of the consumers that you’re building your product for?

It’s one thing to say that your brand is either natural, non-GMO or something like that. It’s an entirely different thing to be able to stand behind your label and say that our product only uses regenerative agriculture. To be able to say that not only is your product gluten-free but it’s also allergy-free, and then to be able to stand behind that. My point is this, as an industry, we’re creating products that consumers want to know, like, and trust. If they can align their mission, their values, your consumer’s values, align with the values of the founder of the brand itself, then that increases the connection that your product makes with the consumers that are going to buy your product. 

More importantly, it also increases the trust and the authenticity that people have for your brand, the belief, the perception that customers have. This translates into a significant, competitive advantage. That needs to be celebrated in the industry. More importantly, this is a competitive advantage that you need to be able to leverage with retailers. In other words, how do you help the retailer understand the value of your product beyond the four corners of your package? You do that by being able to communicate everything we’ve just talked about.

That’s what this podcast episode is about. The reason I started with breaking down the ingredients is that I believe that the produce section is the gateway to the entire store. In other words, when you look at the ingredient panel on almost any package out there that has some ingredient that can be tied back to the produce section with any retailer. This is precisely where I think the conversation needs to begin. The conversation helps introduce your product to your customer to be able to show them what’s in your product and this is how again, you stand out on a crowded shelf, by demonstrating your values and clearly communicating and articulating your mission to the end consumer.

Download the show notes below

Click here to learn more about Krissy Farms

BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES

PODCAST #150

Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #150

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.

LETS ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND GET STARTED!

Dan: Welcome. As an industry, we do a really good job of communicating the value of our product, this simple product. But I think one of the things that makes natural, natural is being able to break food down into its individual component. What I'm talking about here are the ingredients. What are the ingredients in your product? What's unique about them? How do they differentiate your product from other brands, et cetera? More importantly, how did those products align with the missions and the values of the consumers that you're building your product for?

It's one thing to say that your brand is either natural, non-GMO or something like that. It's an entirely different thing to be able to stand behind your label and say that our product only uses regenerative agriculture. To be able to say that not only is your product gluten-free but it's also allergy-free, and then to be able to stand behind that. My point is this, as an industry, we're creating products that consumers want to know, like, and trust. If they can align their mission, their values, your consumer's values, align with the values of the founder of the brand itself, then that increases the connection that your product makes with the consumers that are going to buy your product.

More importantly, it also increases the trust and the authenticity that people have for your brand, the belief, the perception that customers have. This translates into a significant, competitive advantage. That needs to be celebrated in the industry. More importantly, this is a competitive advantage that you need to be able to leverage with retailers. In other words, how do you help the retailer understand the value of your product beyond the four corners of your package? You do that by being able to communicate everything we've just talked about.

That's what this podcast episode is about. The reason I started with breaking down the ingredients is that I believe that the produce section is the gateway to the entire store. In other words, when you look at the ingredient panel on almost any package out there that has some ingredient that can be tied back to the produce section with any retailer. This is precisely where I think the conversation needs to begin. The conversation helps introduce your product to your customer to be able to show them what's in your product and this is how again, you stand out on a crowded shelf, by demonstrating your values and clearly communicating and articulating your mission to the end consumer.

Before we go any further, I want to remind you that there's a free downloadable guide for you at the end of every podcast episode. I always try to include one easy to download, quick to digest strategy that you can easily adopt and make your own. One that you can use to grow sustainable cells and get more people effectively with. Remember, the goal here is to get your product on more retailer shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. If you like the podcast, please share it with a friend or any brand wanting to grow sustainable sales and subscribe. As always, I appreciate you for listening. This show is about you and it's for you. Your success as a brand, any brand, is your ability to execute at shelf. This includes both your internal and your external sales team, including your broker.

This is exactly why I created, and just recently launched my Effective Broker Management course. You can learn more about it on the podcast show page and in the show notes. This is a course that I put together because I've had a lot of people, a lot of different brands from all different sizes across all different channels ask me for this specific content. Now, here's Krissy with Krissy Farms. Krissy, thanks for coming on today. Can you really start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your journey with Krissy Farms?

Krissy: Oh, gosh. Thank you for having me. What a pleasure. Gosh, starting my food industry career probably I guess the day I was born, right, from my very first and kind of just became a foodie I feel like from the moment I was born. It was just in my DNA. So I live here in southern California. I'm in Newport Beach, California. My first, call it, big girl job was with Marie Salad Dressings. So that was in the produce department. I was doing a lot of fresh salad dressings and it was just a great lifestyle.

I loved the people in the food industry and right when I found myself in the food industry I was like this is where my heart is full like family and friends are. So that's where I stayed and traveled across the country. Even across the world, the food industry has brought me to amazing places, touring all kinds of facilities and factories, and meeting new people from so many ... In Mexico, and most recently, I was in the Dominican Republic. I really love to dive deep when it has anything to do with food, from nutrition to the processing. It's fun. It's like my hobby and my passion. That's what I've been doing.

Then for the last 10 years, I have a little nickname called The Guacamole Queen because prior to Krissy Farms, I was selling a lot of guacamoles. I remember in the mid-west people would say, "What is this? Is this baby food?" Because it's kind of mushy and whatnots. They just weren't familiar with guacamole. Obviously, 10 years later that's changed a lot but I had some very funny discussions with retailers and buyers throughout the year.

Most recently, occasionally there are folks that just don't want to taste guacamole, but to my surprise, they're tasting baby food, which is cracking me up and having a lot of fun with it. So the purees had a nice transition from my guacamole life into fresh fruit and produce purees. Yeah, I have one cute dog, a little Scottish Terrier, and that love the beach and the mountains. Just kind of blessed with all those kind of good things. So yeah, that's a little bit about me.

Dan: Well, thank you for sharing, and by the way, guacamole, that's my favorite baby food. No, I'm serious. I love that.

Krissy: Right?

Dan: That is funny that you had educated retailers on what the green slob was, and yet, I mean I'm Colorado so we're kind of close but very you know, sort of a lot of ethnic foods. Guacamole is a mainstay. I love that stuff. I can't imagine people not knowing what it is.

Krissy: It was just funny. Like actually, you know, me and the retail buyers still get a little giggle about it and I've seen where that, the gross of it coming to this time, it's fun to have been a big part of driving the sales and making those bigger sets in the stores. They were really surprised about how far it came so fast and how far the category has to grow, and that's really when I realized that sort of that fresh value-added, easy way to use, call it mashed avocados. I'm like, 10 years ago I thought we need some purees like to really kind of do smart out, ready-to-eat.

Really, the seed of Krissy Farms was dropped in my mind 10 years ago so it wasn't an overnight idea with a definitely it's always been right next to my side and something. Every trade show I walked into I would look to see if somebody might be doing something like my idea. I don't know if that probably happens to your listeners, too when you have an idea and you just why not try to be first to market and/or try to do it a little better, so are different, or differentiation.

So I thought there was a big opportunity at the time of my life and career, and my friends and family said, "When are you going to do Krissy Farms?" I'm like, "Okay. Sheesh, I guess now. There's no time like the present." I had a lot of inspiration and support from the industry as well as my circle of people so that's nice.

Dan: Let's talk about what is Krissy Farms. Because I love the way you're trying all these together it's so relevant because I don't think people understand or appreciate why or what you're talking about matters. What is Krissy Farms? You talked a little bit about how you had an idea. Can you expand upon that? Then why does this matter to you, to the industry, et cetera? Why should it matter?

Krissy: This is big. The conversation has been getting bigger and bigger and bigger the more ... At first, it was just kind of a way to boost veggie intake and have a premium product to clean and green yet. So the mission was more originally about just being able to boost fruit and vegetable consumption and having a more whole, real-life and how do we make it more accessible and easy. I travel a lot and I don't always have fresh fruits and vegetables ready to go in my refrigerator.

Or if I do a kind of aren't so fabulous anymore, so this is a way to keep accessibility for all ages and a lot of uses to that. So that's kind of how it started. Of course, having great baby food because I know a lot of my friends and family want to mash and smash and use the grinder and all that but it gets messy, and sometimes you just run out of time with a busy life. So Krissy Farms was a way for those shoppers to when in a pinch or just augment that healthy food, processed where the carrots taste good. And it doesn't taste like chlorine or bleach or overly processed. It was just based on simple purees that really would be a great thing for kiddos to get them on the right path.

But we use them for our cocktails and mocktails, I mean we're making some great appetizers. Vegans love it because you can replace eggs with like a pear puree or apple puree. I'm like, "Wow, that's amazing." I have some vegan friends, I never thought about what did they do for egg substitutes. Well, they use purees. I thought that's really awesome. Then it went on to more stories about how some children and kiddos don't like vegetables, well this is easy. You can just pour a little carrot puree in your spaghetti sauce and you've instantly given carotene and all these beautiful vitamins in your bolognese sauce without seeing things that may scare kids or they want to push away.

You could even probably jump in our baby greens in there and just get that beautiful nutrition for that. From the food edge, it made a lot of sense. Then I started talking, which really excited me, to a lot of my growing partner friends, that people that were growing carrots and growing kale and spinach and I found out a lot about there's a big spotlight on food waste, not only in my refrigerator here at home, but just in the production side and what can Krissy Farms do to make it a win-win for our farmers, for our consumers and for the climate and the environment.

All of a sudden, what was kind of a mission that was a little more narrow-focused, became much broader. Then, which led me into hearing about the bee issue and that we're having a hard time with bee surviving and pollinating all of our fruits and vegetables. Now we're on a bee mission. It's just been a ton of fun and been a full-circle opportunity to support a lot of missions and passions from the farmer sustainability, great nutrition, and really for eating solutions for all ages over the help of some yummy purees.

It's funny, if you would've have talked to me six months ago, the answer would probably be a little bit different. I'm just really excited about those conversations that we're having with growers. Our products are made in the Central Valley of California so we're very up and down that corridor and vegetable highway, I guess, you would call it. That's really wonderful, too. It's great for the opportunity to give back and just make the world a little better place for what I can and my team can do together, and of course, retail partners and buyers. All of a sudden, I'm like, really excited about so many more aspects of the business. That was supposed to be on one mission, but now I have 10 missions around it. It's good.

Dan: Well, I love your passion, love your enthusiasm, and this is why I wanted to talk to you. I first heard you talk on the Produce Moms Podcast and I really fell in love with what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish. I didn't know about all these other things, there's a lot to unpack here. If we go back a little bit, one of the funny things, you get a kick out of this, I could not get my daughter to eat tomatoes and yet her favorite food group was catsup.

Krissy: I knew you're going to say that.

Dan: You know exactly where I'm going. That is not a food group. It's made from ... No, no, no, tomatoes are bad for you. It's like, no. But the point is this, I think we do a lousy job as an industry of educating people about the value of healthy nutrition. Where I want to go one step further, is the quality of healthy nutrition. In other words, if I eat some produce that's been sitting in the produce section of any store, that's been there for a while, probably not as good, especially mainstream processed, fertilizers and whatever on it.

If I make some fresh out of the ground, especially something that's organic, et cetera, then that tastes so different. If you eat this kind of way on a regular basis, the flavors are so intense. I think we forget about that. Can you talk a little bit about that and why that's important and why you're trying to capture that lightning in a bottle or in a package?

Krissy: Right. Thank you for that question. Because we did a lot of taste panels on baby purees or baby food, I guess. I feel like there's baby food and maybe baby purees and they're very ... I call it quite different. I didn't realize the difference was so drastic until we opened up a billion jars of baby food items out there and we stuck spoons in it. We gave them a score from, I think, one to five and brought in a ... We did our own individual one and then we brought a bigger team because we thought maybe we're a little biased. So we got a bigger spectrum of opinions.

It was really shocking to know what is out there from a taste and experience. Without mentioning any names, one of the bestselling carrot purees on the market, we are ... I'm still just really shocked. We took a bite and I really thought maybe they didn't clean their equipment out because it had sort of a bleach-y or chlorine sort of flavor to it. Nothing like a carrot, it didn't resemble a carrot.

In fact, I was scared to eat a second bite. Like, "Is this dangerous? Is this good for me?" What happened? I really did think it had something to do with some cleaning agents of sorts in the processing equipment. Turns out through some investigative situations, I found out that if the carrot isn't properly grown and harvested with enough sunshine and all of those sorts of things, a carrot will create a natural enzyme that happens to have a very chlorine bleach-y flavor. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, here I thought it was, you know ... It's like turpentine." Oh my gosh, I'll have to follow up on the website. I'm not very good with chemical names.

I was really surprised that it was a natural effect because that's where Krissy Farms comes in and we do our sensory tastings before we ever put it in any sort of bottle or anything because we need that Brix to be right and we want the flavor to really be like what you just picked. It's that organic produce right out of your own garden in your backyard. Or in my case, I had a grandma with a farm-raised to pick carrots. That's how it's supposed to be. Sometimes I think in this fast world of production, I don't know, I think sometimes the food scientist ... I hate to say it, but the CMO'S and people really watching the bottom line, maybe haven't been watching a little bit more about that sensory experience and giving enough value to that.

I do feel like there's a shift coming or it is here and it has been coming, but it always feels like it's not fast enough for all of us foodies and passionate food people. I did see a tremendous opportunity to set the tone for children's taste buds to enjoy the produce. We wonder why they don't like it. Maybe they had some kind of icky experiences without us even knowing it, thinking we were all doing just a great thing. Because as your little body's trying to figure things out, that you want it to figure out what the best experience so I really do believe our six purees set a great tone for little ones.

Having a produce natural food organic focus life. That's a big, big part of the mission. After going to the recent discussions with some retailers, they were like, "Kristin, we love that this mission but we think that the appeal for these purees is much broader and much wider in addition to different people." I was talking about the vegans and flexitarians and kid boosting and cocktails for us adults and mocktails for just kind of having crafty cool beverages is great.

There was also even a soft eating diet some people are on. I feel like sometimes there's not ... Unfortunately, I think there are a lot more people on soft eating diets that really just don't even think about and having opportunities to give pleasant experiences during those tough times or, you know, I like that too. So it's really like a whole ready-to-eat puree solution for all different things. The versatility and the broad appeal is really exciting to me.

Dan: Which I think is so critically important. Thank you for sharing that. You know, when I first tried baby foods when I have little kids, they didn't taste anything like what the can said, or the bottle or the jar, the whatever. Certainly, I don't want to pick on any brands. Then to go one step further, if it said apricots, what was all that other stuff in there? Why do we have preservatives? The point being is that you got to wonder where this stuff comes from. I think part of what you're experiencing as well is that they're using parts, in other words, not the orange part of the carrot. I think a lot of things end up there that don't necessarily need to end up there.

Unfortunately, like a lot of people, I always wondered, "Can kids taste the difference?" You know, the answer is obviously they can. The point being is, this stuff matters so critically. This stuff matters so very much. Thank you for sharing that. When you're talking about the other uses, this is something I'm really curious about. I started years ago using some of those purees or some of the different baby foods, fruits or whatever, to augment my diet.

In other words, I didn't necessarily have the time to go get a fresh carrot or apple or something like that. I buy it from the grocery store but I couldn't eat it quick enough or I didn't have it ready to go so I like the grab and go sensation or the capability. Can you talk about that and why that matters and how you're trying to fill that space? By the way, I agree with the retailers, there's a tremendous amount of opportunity to expand the use cases for what you're doing.

Krissy: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Actually, it was funny. Talking about what you mentioned, there is a friend of mine in the food industry on the East Coast, I was talking to him a couple of weeks ago and he's like, "Kristin before I work out ..." He's like super fit and healthy, he does like CrossFit and total maniac in terms of working. He was saying that he just loves dipping into like a sweet potato puree or a carrot puree or fruit to kind of give him a boost before workouts so he doesn't feel so bogged down. I'm like, "That's so funny." I have this macho, macho man saying that he like the purees for his active lifestyle.

It's really fun to hear different people's stories and their usages and their enthusiasm for having this kind of quick ready-to-go puree. I have to admit too, sometimes my husband, we don't have a lot of food in our fridge for some reason, but he'll go down and he'll take sweet potatoes and just eat a whole four-ounce cup of our thing like that. It's his snack. It's a guilt-free snack and it just tastes so delicious and you feel like it was the ... You feel just as satisfied as eating a Snickers bar. I'm like, "Wow, my husband's really kind of changing his tone here. He's turned into puree a man or something." It's really fun to see that got the broad appeal of them.

And, of course, that my girlfriend has a friend that's a bartender, he's making a whole bunch of new and exciting drinks that have coming out. So we're going to do a recipe, sort of kind of situation where each flavor will have like a drink, appetizer, a breakfast, a muffin. We're going to do a whole bunch of four to six flavors, different recipe ideas for various different ages and things that we can do. Obviously, with kiddos, we do some sorbets and stuff like that, which is kind of fun. too. We're just having a ball with all the different ideas.

Back to the mocktail, cocktail, a friend of mine does edible flowers. This weekend, we were playing with all these cute ... Some of these savory cocktails that they're doing right now that they were able to use the carrot and sweet potato. All these things are super healthy. I think I recently saw some of the top 10 trends for 2020 includes low or zero alcohol content drinks. People are really thinking about kicking it off up a notch from the flavored sparkling waters, but how do we make these non-alcoholic beverages more crafty. That's a lot of fun. So we're making spritzers and punches and different things like that with some of these crafted zero alcohol beverages. It's perfect for that sort of thing, too. That would just add in a whole another dimension about usability, is that it has a spotlight on it right now.

Dan: I think it's great. On that note, I used to take more backpacks and backpacking trips with me or my bike when I get a long ride or something like that, they were great to dip into and they were a lot easier and a lot more convenient than carrying an actual whatever it was apples, et cetera. Because an apple kind of a weird shape and you can't put as many of them in your backpack. But you can stack those some of the pouches and some of the other containers pretty easily. But one of the things I loved about it is, like you said, getting back to real food. So when you're talking about real food, let's talk a little bit more about why that's important to you and how did you get that by ... How did you become so interested in real food versus what other people sell?

Krissy: You know, it just, gosh, I think probably like a lot of people may start with your mom or your family experience. I was really fortunate to have kind of ... Actually, my dad, too. Oh my god, we were always just going for the best of the best of everything. I mean, there were years, maybe we didn't have a lot of money but we were getting the best food. It was always where we put a priority on our finances as a family was always to top quality ... You just wouldn't find SnackWells in our house, we would always ... Or even nonfat milk. I mean we were always just doing whole foods, whole butter.

To this day, I definitely just feel like it's just not as enjoyable when you're ... Somehow I feel like I have real coffee, I don't do decaffeinated. I just feel like the more whole foods that have been less manipulated, just feels like it's, to me, what our body enjoys more. It just feels that way and that's maybe just my body. I think it started with that where I was just like always looking for the best and then surrounded by produce. Within the produce industry, there's a, I used to say five a day, but now that was too vague. About what is five portions a day and how big are their portions.

Now the theory is to have half the plate to be produced. When I think of half of our plate to be a produce item, sometimes that could be hard to figure out how to do that. That was the other thing I really thought, this just gives those other opportunities to kind of pack more produce into every ... Even with our holidays, it just seems like there's more produce items or produce type products than anything.

It's just always come very natural, maybe being here in California, that may have a little bit of something to too. I know you're in Colorado, I bet that there's a lot of fruits and veggie focus up there, too. Then working the produce department, all the colors then I just have like, I'm just drawn to the miracle of the food growth and whatnot. So it's just been such a very natural ... I guess I'm a geek like that.

Dan: That's good. That's really good. I love Huntington Beach. I used to spend a lot of time there. I love the culture in Colorado. It's second to none, no offense, but I love it. To your point, it's about a healthier lifestyle and all that kind of thing. Not to say that other communities and cities don't do that. I used to travel a lot and I remember there was one place I went for a week working for Kimberly Clark. We went to one of their staff's side of their headquarters. The lunch that they gave us was hamburger soaking in grease. I mean, it was disgusting. Because you're wanting real food.

Anyway, I digress. But the important thing is, is that as we're talking about is she made the comment that may be due. You know, I think as an industry, we don't do enough to help people understand and celebrate what makes sense, what real healthy quality food means. What I mean by that is we have so many quick and easy solutions out there "that really mask the importance of quality food." Getting back to the carrots again, eating a carrot fresh out of the ground that's organic, regeneratively grown, et cetera, has dramatically nine-day different than eating a carrot that was sitting in a produce section in a store that was produced the traditional ways.

As a result, I think we dumbed down our taste buds, we dumb down our sensory. I mean, a carrot actually smells good. You smell the carrot, like to your point, I used to work as a grocery manager and I didn't like the smell of the produce but I liked this ... Anyhow, my point is that there's so much more to food than just the way it tastes, the way it smells, the way it looks and smells. I think those are some of the things we need to celebrate. That's again, one of the reasons why I wanted to have this conversation with you.

As you're talking about that, you made the comment about whole foods. I always said that if you are what you eat and what you eat matters, meaning, if you can provide your body with the proper nutrients, even at a little bit more for organic, you're actually spending less in the long run, you're giving your body what it needs to succeed, what it needs to thrive and grow. Whereas if you eat the other stuff, you can eat a lot of it and you're not getting that satiation, you're not getting filled up and you're actually depriving yourself of the nutrients. That's why we're so dependent on supplements, most of what you do little or anything to help us grow or help our bodies achieve that. So your thoughts?

Krissy: Oh my gosh, I'm so with you. In fact, I cannot help but from personal experiences, which I'm sure a lot of us folks listening to this have had, that there's just so much ... I've really seen the one-to-one miracles that happen when what you eat with your food changes the trajectory of your physical activity, your mental activity. Actually, I've seen people, good friends that had situations that medicine was not helping them but they're diet changed their health. I mean, they're everything.

I can't tell you and I know there's a little bit of a movement about food as medicine. You know, seeing is believing and I have seen food impact people's health more than medicines, not to say that medicines are not great, when it is but I just think we can't ignore the power of food for our overall health and how it can put you on the right direction or give you a better chance of having a feel-good life, which is really what it is all about.

We all want to, you know, be at our happy life and feel good and farm food, family use then. You know, I really do think that if we make good choices on ... You know what they always say, you are what you eat but for some reason, it means as I get older, it means more now than it used to. I was just saying but I know I go, "That thing actually meant something." It's cool to see that impact, be it lower sugars or less sodium and no additives and no preservatives and all these things. There are a few friends of mine that they're in trouble because of they ... I said, "What happened? You know, you're such a healthy good looking person and you look fine." They're like, "But inside, I have been growing up on foods and products that haven't been good for my stomach and my intestines and all these different things."

So now, is it too late? I mean, they're doing better but, yeah. I just like to think that the more we can ... As an industry and community, just put a spotlight on mindful eating, I guess, is really what I really think of it. Don't we all have our silly moments and that's fine, too. But yeah, just that our silly moments are not our mainstay and I really felt like having produce purees just kind of gave more of an opportunity to figure out how to do more fruits and vegetables in our recipes and our diets, make it more accessible than some of the other things out there.

Now even like with the ... Even we're playing with that, purees are kind of like a produce spread and a produce butter, which has been really fun, too. Kind of a little playoff that avocado toast. We've been making some really neat crispies with gorgonzola and a pear puree and some of our charcuterie ... Sorry, something popped up. It's just so much. We're just really excited about all the different directions that these healthy purees are good for you. You know, really hitting on so many different sensory, kind of mind, body, soul. It should be.

Dan: Well, it should be and it should be an important part of that. You made a comment, you were talking about five parts per day or half a plate. That's one of the reasons, like you said, mindful eating. That's why this podcast exists, to teach brands like yours and everyone listening, how to leverage that at retail. Because the reality is, instead of being a commodity, like so many other products out there, you're driving real value to the retailer shelf, you differentiate your product, your ability to drive that unique customer that knows likes and trusts and understands the benefit of this to the shelf.

A lot of the podcast episodes we've had, we talked about food as medicine. I'm glad you said that. A lot of people don't think about why this matters. Like Gary Hirschberg said, "It's a lot cheaper to spend a little bit extra to eat the right stuff than it is to pay a doctor." That's the promise you created. I want to go and step further if we ... Thank you. That's a reoccurring theme. But I want to go one step further. My mission, Krissy, is to make a healthy way of life more accessible by getting your products onto more store shelves and in the hands of our shoppers. Now the reason that matters is supply and demand. If I can make what you're doing more accessible, then it's going to eventually be cheaper.

Organic farming isn't horribly expensive compared to regular farming, as a lot of people believe. It's actually better for you, it's better for the planet, all that other stuff. But there's a myth out there and then all the layers of the cost involved in terms of getting your product on the shelf, that's why there's a stigma to it. We can help lower that by giving you a significantly better advantage. That's where I come in. Well, let's go one step further. If we can help the industry, the world, et cetera, understand the value of the healthy nutrients that you're making available to kids, to people, et cetera, that's the goal at the end of the day.

You made a comment about produce products. I know we're kind of bouncing around a little bit. I love that idea. I think that's great. I would use more produce if it was easier to use. What I mean by that is produce is seasonal. So being able to get fresh quality, good stuff, different times of the year, sometimes it's difficult. Especially when you live in a climate that doesn't necessarily support that like Colorado. How would you recommend a brand ... How would you recommend consumers brands, et cetera ... Put it this way. How would you recommend retailers better support the customers that they're serving with products that provide that kind of value? In terms of getting away from the seasonality.

Krissy: Got you. You know, I think it's a balance. I think there is somewhat of the beauty about following that cherries and peaches and when those things are happening, but I do just think that those are just kind of fun when they're tasting the best when they're available. But then you just really you can't just fall into all the seasonality, you really just have to really focus on making some core basic produce items part of your diet every day, in some way or in many ways. I think both are really valuable and there are more and more varietals coming out in produce. I don't even know how many types of apples there are these days. Oh my goodness gracious. There's a lot of new varieties coming out in every type of produce.

But I really, really just say that even our pear, we actually use a combination of pears, we use a combination of apples and we do that based a little bit on that seasonality because when one, maybe have a lower Brix, one has a higher Brix. Just to kind of make it the most beautiful tasting apple puree, we don't just stick with the same type of apple all year long or the same pear all year long.

I mean, if there's a pair that's coming in sweeter ... You know, I don't think we talked about this but thinking about how all of our backgrounds kind of lead us to where we are today, prior to purees, a little bit with my last career as Vice President of Sales, one of the items that we took to market was cold-pressed juices and that whole cold-pressed juice craze. Which is still the Wild West and there's a lot of products I love out there that deal with it but it is crazy. So being typically green juices sell the most but we had great watermelon juice and everybody was loving the watermelon, loving the watermelon and it was delicious, it was fantastic.

But the watermelon, sometimes we would find ourselves without it because of Mother Nature or it wasn't sweet enough, maybe because of Mother Nature. If it's hurricanes or whatnot. The idea is you can't just pack a watermelon juice or a puree just because it's the right type of fruit for what the label says. I mean, really, there definitely has to be some of these Brix standards and stuff that are put in place. I do have to give a little credit for my background of having that kind of ... I think now that you and I are talking about it, I think that gave me a little more sensitivity to making sure that we're just not picking fruits and vegetables in puree form, that we're actually making sure that it tastes great all year long. Not just kind of offering it because it's available but only putting it in there and making sure that it's great.

That's where science has goofed things up a little bit earlier because maybe if the watermelon didn't taste so good, they add sugar to make it sweeter. In this case, it's just, you know, not an option. If we just have to make sure that whatever we pack has the minimum, you know, kind of sensory experience or else it isn't something we would do. Great question though. You brought back a lot of wow moments. I remember all these juice recipes and they'd be great half the year but then all of a sudden things are out of season and things change.

Maybe you've had that experience in the cold-pressed juice, where all of a sudden it was like, "I thought this tasted better than it did last time." Maybe that's part of the reason why the juice, you know, the category does have some challenges because the same ingredients and the same varietals and the same bottle just won't taste the same unless different varietal or what may be more in season. It gets kind of crazy, Mother Nature is not easy to deal with all the time, right? She's tricky.

Dan: Well, thank you for sharing that. Thank you for adding that context. It's actually on my list wanting to go back to that. I love how creative you are. How you're able to understand this. That's so critically important because as someone's getting to know you and your brand, being able to understand how you're thinking through those things and how you're able to answer those questions. Again, that goes back to your story in a shelf, how do you help the retailer communicate more effectively? You know, one of the things that ...

I think we talked a little bit about our original call was that I believe that the produce is the gateway to the rest of the store. There are a lot of retailers that say, you know, "Produce is number one, that's our most important department." However, they pay, in my opinion, a lot of lip service to it. There's a lot more than simply just putting a bunch of produce on a stand and say, "Here, come buy this. Here's a sign or whatever." I remember when they started putting pictures of the local farmers that produced it, I thought that was kind of cool.

Krissy: I love those stories.

Dan: Those are great but we're still not doing enough. We're not doing enough to help people understand how the products beyond the produce section are usually made from or come from these products right here. I think. No, we don't, and we need to do more of that. That's one of the things I love about as far as, you know, we're talking about all your missions. The fact that you're bringing in local, the fact you're talking about all of that using your products and other mocktails and cocktails, et cetera, that's so cool. So you're expanding people's awareness. Krissy, what else are you doing to help expand people's awareness around the importance of healthy produce?

Krissy: I love that question actually. It's funny, even in terms of ... My whole career has been about calling it the value-added produce, which is what the purees are. While I have a tremendous network of grower partners within the fresh produce department, with the commodities and whatnot, there's a small set where its value-added and that's where I feel like really my role and mission always has been because if you're buying guacamole, if you're buying cold-pressed juices, if you are engaging the easy kind of things that you deal with, you're shopping in a great space.

So you're surrounded by the rainbow and the rainbows of colors. I think while I have a background selling salad dressings, it was going with a vegetable, it was going with lettuce. I always felt like my career and my mission was to, as with the purees, is to look within the grocery store, the entire grocery store, wall to wall, and how we can weave produce into all of our eating habits and more and more produce. I mean, that's what's so fun about all these recipes, is really I'm taking ingredients from all across the supermarket but I'm making sure that you know, great-tasting produce is weaved into it. That's what I've always kind of done, is really added those complementary type of products to making eating healthy a little bit easier but not getting and keeping it produce focused.

It's funny, we were talking about half the plate. I had a few retailers laughing, no one seems to be listening to me right now. But I said, "If we're supposed to be eating half the plate, it seems like the supermarket should be half the store." Because it definitely is a very kind of small part of the footprint of supermarkets, usually. I mean, it's big but it's small in retrospect. I think you have a really good point. What can grocery brands or shelf-stable brands do to talk about ... You know, I love seeing all these like chia and all the bars, obviously have some just really good, you know, nuts and grains and all these wonderful things. But sometimes, you know, there is a big backstory about the farmer, about what it really means and where it's grown and how has it grown.

There's something very romantic about some of these ingredients that are part of these products within the entire grocery store that comes from produce and from the farm and from farmers. I look forward to people doing a little bragging and spotlight on really where these foods come from as we look at traceability, as we look at sustainability. It's funny, you would think all these growers and farmers are shy. They must be because no one hears from them. But I tell you, they are not shy. They're a very social friendly bunch out there. Definitely, I think there's a lot of ...

Many of them are for families and fifth-generation families. I think as people feel better about what they're eating, I think it would only help to understand how it just came about. It didn't rain from the sky. How did this really happen? That was the rain was sometimes a lot part of it but there's so much more to it. So I love what you're saying. I think there's a big opportunity in our organic natural, better for you type eating to really think about that and maybe what we can do to celebrate the whole ingredients and the farmers and the growers that are behind it before it comes up in a package. Good point.

Dan: Thank you. Absolutely. This is why we have a podcast. This is why we're having this conversation. I believe in effect, this is what I do to help brands. This is what I believe brands need to do a better job. In other words, I can go grab a jar of anything or a box or whatever it is off the shelf and take it home and eat and consume it. I mean, okay, great. No matter how good the product is. But if I can develop a relationship with you, the owner, and understand your passion and your connection to those farmers, and I can understand the connection to not only the farmers but the values that you put into all your products, why this is important, why you refuse to skimp, why you refuse to cut corners. Most consumers want to align themselves with that unique consumer.

But yet, our go-to-market strategy, instead of that, it's all commoditized. This is how much margin, we need to squeeze out one single flavor of whatever you're making. Instead, let's talk about the relationship between your product, your customer and the products that your customers buy over and above what they buy from you. For example, a new mom, the first child always ... We always joke about this, especially over on Kimberly Clark, "You spare no expense. Organic milk, not a problem. I don't care how much it cost." Fifth child, whatever. Anyhow, but we just tease about that. But my point is that you ...

Krissy: I was the first child, by the way.

Dan: So you got all the good stuff. By the third child, it's like, "What's the kid's name?" Do you know what I mean? The point is, if a retailer is smart and if they're paying attention, being able to leverage the relationship that you have with your customers and the value that you add to their customers, which are new moms, et cetera, and realizing that that is the most valuable customer they have in their store and that customer they can convert him from an occasional customer into a loyal evangelist and then keep them or hope to encourage them or not invite them to go shop in their competition, that's where I'm going with this, that's the opportunity. I think that's where retailers really mess up. Sharing your story is so critically important. What have you done to uniquely differentiate your message to retailers beyond your competition?

Krissy: Thank you for that. I am a bit of a category disruptor, looking for purees that have never been featured in the produce department and the refrigerated section. It's so funny because a lot of the inspiration, to my surprise, I mean, to me, it feels like a no-brainer. We have diced prosciutto, we have zoodles and all these different forms and functions of produce in different ways. But there are no purees so it seemed just like an empty, easy gap. I would say it's so funny that I feel that consumers call it quick conversation, I don't have to say very much, and consumers just light up, they are so excited about it. They are so passionate.

With retailers, I always feel like I have to do a little bit more talking. Consumers, they get the ... You know, they're like, "This is exactly what I needed." Actually, it's the consumers and the people, they really speak and it is the power of their voices. It really matters and things like this, it surprised me. I mean, I thought I had a good idea but they just kind of further validate it. So fortunately with my career, I've been able to build these relationships with buyers where ... I love that the retailers, though, do challenge me. We were talking, I was thinking, which is baby food, retailers are like, "Kristyn, guess what? There's more than that."

I go, "Yeah, you're right. Good idea." So we're actually going to shift our label just a tad to have that broader appeal. You know, what's the bottom line is really it's beautiful to see people wanting people to win. You know, I'm feeling the love and the heart and I just ... You have to be a little bit not stuck in your ways and, you know, keep your ears open for like, "Yeah, I didn't really think about that." That's where I would say consumers right away, "I love this, I love this, I love this idea."

But it's wonderful to have the retailers kind of go, "Yeah, but you know, how about if you do that?" And I'm like, "Oh my God, that was brilliant." Having that collaboration and those relationships with the trade and consumers, it's a big deal. So obviously, the consumers can't ... They can help you so much before you're on the shelf then we'll have a lot of fun. I always am a big fan of doing a lot of guerrilla marketing and creative things outside of calling it the TPRs and whatnot.

But though the whole idea about Krissy Farms is about a lifestyle brand. It's about we're starting with purees and I think there's a lot of really neat places that we can go with line extensions. I think this is the perfect place to start from the first bite and then we'll just keep going and going and going. It's really nice to see consumers being so receptive.

But we're at the ground level but we're moving pretty fast. It's pretty fun. That's kind of great. I don't have to do a lot of talking people into that concept, so that kind of surprised me and it is really special. I almost feel like the stars have lined up. I thought there would be a little bit more hurdles or pushback. It's been just the opposite. It makes sense but ...

Dan: Well, it's good to hear. I'm glad that retailers are starting to get on board. I was going to say is a sad commentary about our industry, that the retailers don't get what the consumers want because the reality is that the retailers want to give the consumers the products that they want. I have a belief that a retailer spends most of their time trying to sell some stuff on their shelves, rather than selling us the stuff we want to buy. Hopefully, you can help change that conversation.

Krissy: I hear you. I guess it's again, I'm using that word balance again. There are just so many items, obviously out there, but yeah, just like we always have to constantly be ahead of the consumer, almost, in a way and not get too comfy, I guess, and call it current or current offerings or what has worked and, you know, what can work in the future. You're very right, it could be very different.

Dan: Well, the old strategies that work for your great grandfather aren't going to work for you today. So your guerrilla marketing, want to talk a little bit about that. But let's back up really quickly and talk about food waste and the bees. How do those fit into your mission? What does that mean?

Krissy: Wow. You know, it's funny, I kind of think where I first started hearing about food. Let's even back up a little bit more. I remember going into some retail appointments a few years back and I'm saying, "Well, we have this ... you know, we're really proud of our ..." I have a full page on a deck about sustainability and about how we're getting rid of paper towels, about how the different aspects of our waste where we're going into compost and making golf courses. We have this whole big story and all the expensive measures we were really taking to be a sustainable company.

We're so excited because we're going to be zero landfill brands and this is so awesome. So if you support us, you should feel good about supporting a company that is making a smaller footprint. There are more and more food companies that are using solar to power and stuff like that. There were times when it just seemed like that the grocery industry was glazed over, it was like ...

That's a good way to make in the conversation or the presentation when you get to the sustainability page, it was like, "Is it time to go now?" Because it just was kind of a yawner and it also it's about talking about negative things, which isn't fun. It's kind of a downer. Usually, in the sales process, it's about uses and experience and all those things, but once you get on a page about sustainability, you kind of want to cry because you think of things that could happen. It wasn't a great topic.

That was then, this is now. Now, oh my gosh, it's a wonderful conversation to have about sustainability with retailers and they are looking for it, they're excited about it and we're all on the same mission. That's been really nice to be more, call it, aligned and being a part of that shift is really ... it's easier sometimes than it looks but habits, even in my own household are hard to break sometimes. But as long as we know that the right way will start, doing the right way all the time. With that, the food waste, I started seeing a lot, even on LinkedIn, for instance, a lot more information about various different companies and about, I mean, the staggering amount of food waste that happens on the farm.

You think, how in the world could that happen? It's like, either a person or machine comes by it, you pick it in and there you go. But then you start digging a little bit deeper and, of course, retailers were like ... It happens at retail. I mean, at the farm, it happens ... I mean, all along the path, you're just kind of losing those food waste down to the consumer. So I thought, "Well, gosh ..." When I found out about just beautiful, kind of fresh fruit or almost call it ripe. When it's ripe, it's maybe too ripe or maybe it's too late, it missed a day. I mean, it's so sensitive about specifications, but they're perfect for purees.

I was actually approached by a few different growers saying "We're trying to figure out what to do with our great tasting produce that it didn't work." They're really excited about doing the right thing for the environment. We're starting, looking and getting more and more into those programs. It's just the right thing to do. Especially, it's just it is. I'm glad I'm part of that mission. The bees, actually, that's the funny story. I don't know, I hate bugs and spiders, I hate all that stuff. I shouldn't say hate, don't like I guess is the better word. I don't like killing any bugs. It just breaks my heart. Maybe a little Buddhist or Hindu or something but every time I do, I get bad for the little guys.

I've always tried to do that but meanwhile, it always feels like people want to kill the bee. You know, later will get stung by the pool. In life, I always feel like people are trying to kill hives, kill bees. It just always really bothered me. First, I found out we had a butterfly problem and I found out we had not enough butterflies and I found out we have not enough bees. I thought, "Well, this is a really good opportunity." You know, as we don't want to be using artificial ways to pollinate and all these different things, we want to keep more to nature. Well, the only way we can keep more to nature is if we keep nature happy.

We do something called the Bee Love Project. It basically is just about spreading kindness and love to bees and to be a little bit more thoughtful. If you have a beehive, there are definite ways to relocate them without doing mass murder on the poor little bees. There's just a different way to approach and solve what may feel pesky. But bees are important. The Bee Love Project is something that we're doing various different things with little children and we did some things at the Orange County Fair recently about spreading some bee awareness and make some beeswax candles.

We all found the queen bee. It's just having a lot of fun and really just giving a more warm and loving idea about bees. Then they just kind of have a bad reputation so I'm helping spread a good reputation that helps our food chain and supply and big flowers and produce prettier. That's what it's about. I know it sounds a little silly, but that's the story.

Dan: No, that's great. I appreciate the fact that you're bringing that education. You know, people don't understand, no bees, no humans. It's that simple, it's that black and white. We need to understand that when you're talking about produce, the stuff just doesn't pop up on the ground, someone's got to fertilize it, someone's got to ... There's a lot more involved in simply putting a seed in the ground. You got to put water on it. Well, what is the quality of the water that you're adding in? What is quality ... Anyhow, that's a whole another conversation. But bees are critically important to that. So thank you for sharing that.

Back to the food waste thing. I was hoping you'd say that. I used to work, as I mentioned, as a grocery manager, the amount of produce that we used to throw away, staggering. It would make you sick to think about what we wasted at that level. The sad part is, people, don't understand that. I remember years ago, and I'm not a huge fan of private label, generic et cetera, so I'm not trying to live it.

Krissy: Me, either.

Dan: No, I like the brand itself. I mean, you do know the work. The notion that when a generic product started, it was the ugly tomato that didn't make it into the can of the branded stuff. Being able to reuse that is ... You mean, it's perfectly good, it tastes perfectly good, but it may not be perfectly round or maybe a certain cut. I'm glad you're doing that. Thank you for taking those measures. Well, thank you. It's so critically important. How can we learn more about Krissy Farms and how can we get in touch with you and where can we find your brand?

Krissy: Awesome. Thank you so much. Actually, we have a website, krissyfarms.com, and Instagram, Krissy Farms, and Facebook, Krissy Farms. I kind of got lucky, Krissy Farms was very easy to handle and website to get. I've been getting a lot of compliments on the brands. We're having a lot of fun with that. Right now, we're in some excellent negotiations. When we launched the program, normally, items like value-added would have two resets. One would be in the fall and one would be in the spring, I call it.

We literally raised the market to be in time for the PMA Fresh Summit, which just happened last week. I've been rocking and rolling it try not to get too far ahead of our skis. But actually, it was really perfect. As mentioned, we're going to be making some small tweaks to have a better offering. Retailers were just awesome. They just stopped at my booth and they never left and I just felt like the luckiest girl.

There were 24,000 folks attended the PMA Fresh Summit and the amount of quality time that I had over puree discussion and our organic offering was tremendous. I have a lot of takeaways from the show. We should be on the shelf maybe before the end of the year, so stay tuned. I think we have a good Instagram so keep following. News flash, she will be coming out pretty shortly. That's that.

Dan: Thank you for sharing that. That's one of the reasons, again, why I do what I do. I want to celebrate what you're doing. I want to be able to promote brands that are giving back, brands that are doing more. Back to my mission, if I can help you do more good, to help you sell more that enables you to do more good. That's part of that alignment with your end consumer. If I can help the retailer understand why you matter, because the consumer that gets it, then that retailer can understand that if they support you and they support your consumer, then they can help you do more good on their behalf. It's about managing your time.

Krissy: It's wonderful and I feel it and the first time we talked, I was like, "Wow. Wait, have I known him all my life?" I felt like that.. It was this thing. It was just the most wonderful ... It was just wonderful. I'm really grateful that our paths crossed. I look forward to growing our missions together and just love the alignment that we both have and making all these things more obtainable for each other. Like you said, all the boats rising with the tide sounds good.

Dan: Love it. Thank you. On that note, I promised you that I would help you try to solve your most pressing bottleneck. What can I help you with today? How can I help you grow whatever you need?

Krissy: $1 million would be good.

Dan: I wish I had that. I'm already the hardest working volunteer in the industry. So what else?

Krissy: I just couldn't resist.

Dan: No, no. That's a good answer. That's a good answer.

Krissy: You know, I would say I love what you're asking because manifestation and stuff like that, I mean, I really believe Krissy Farms as a result of that. I would just say, you being you just does so much as we kind of move through this together. I know you're amazing on category, I know. While I have a lot of the passion parts, there's always kind of a balance to fill in some of those blanks. I really look forward to continuing our relationship and how we can present our mutual stories to the trade and the industry.

Just making the world a better place together and have it, you know, it's a family, fun, food, farm. It's a good place to be and it's great to be with you and your support even today was awesome. I don't know how this happened but I have over 8,000 followers on LinkedIn. So I'm excited to post this one. This is very fun. It's a great conversation and it's great to review these things that are so important to us all. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to some listeners, too, that they have some great ideas and help bring great items to the market. Again, we're all really blessed to have retail partners and people like you to help make dreams come true and do good things for the world. So thank you for being part of that journey.

Dan: Thank you. Again, I'm humbled. I appreciate your saying that. Thank you so much. You know, that's why I do the podcast. I don't get paid for this. It's not against sponsor but at the same time, it's about my way of giving back. It's about helping you succeed. Again, my mission is to make our healthy way of life more accessible by getting Krissy Farms more store shelves in the hands of more shoppers. That includes online. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time, I appreciate your insights and thank you for your passion and your enthusiasm and thank you for sharing that with all of us.

Krissy: Awesome. Thank you so much. I hope next time you're in Southern California, I hope I'm here too, we can grab a latte or a dinner together or something like that. Thank you so much.

Dan: That will be fun. I miss walking out on the pier.

Krissy: We'll do that.

Dan: There you go. Thank you so much.

Krissy: Thank you. Have a wonderful day. Thank you to all your listeners, too. Thank you so much.

Dan: Thank you, Krissy. I'd like to thank Krissy for coming on today and for sharing her story. So inspirational. I love it when brands go out of their way to create missions, to focus on missions that are so important to the customers that they serve. I'll be certain to put a link to Krissy Farms in the podcast show notes and on the podcast web page. Thank you again for listening. Today's free downloadable guide is simple solutions to maximize broker distributor effectiveness.

Remember, this all is about execution. How well your brand executed shelf. That begins with how effective you are at managing both your internal and your external sales teams. That includes your broker. In other words, anyone who touches your product. This is one of the most popular downloads that I have, you're going to want to check it out. Anyhow, you can get to it on the podcast web page and in the podcast show notes. You can get there by going to brandsecretsandstrategies.com/session150. Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

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