Taste Radio Episode 131

Health Warrior: Shane Emmett


No matter what you’re hired to do at Health Warrior, your first assignment is always the same. The company, which makes plant-based snacks and foods, including a flagship line of chia bars, makes all of its new employees build their own desks, without any building materials or instructions. According to co-founder and CEO Shane Emmett, the DIY activity is designed to instill an entrepreneurial mindset from day one.

“A start-up is hard,” Emmett said in an interview featured in this episode. “You have to do everything yourself. You have to build the systems while you’re growing the business. [Building your own desk] is a metaphor for the fact that no one’s going to do anything for you.”

Since launching in 2011, Health Warrior has become one of fastest growing natural food companies in the U.S., built on a roll-up-your-sleeves approach that permeates every aspect of the company, including sampling events. In addition to desk-building, all employees, including executives, are asked to participate in sampling demos, which Emmett believes teaches them “more about the brand and product than doing anything else.”

“You get to have hundreds of conversations with real people that don’t care that you used to be an investment banker… and will tell you exactly what they think of your product,” he said.

Listen to our full-length interview with Emmett, who discussed his decision to leave behind a promising career in law and start a food brand, how the company has cultivated and enhanced its relationship with Amazon, why trusting your gut over syndicated data can lead to better decisions, and what he says has been the biggest surprise since the company was founded.

In this Episode

1:23: Survey Says! — Since launching the podcast in April 2016, we’ve heard from many listeners who’ve responded to our call for questions, comments and ideas for future episodes. Thank you to all who’ve reached out — it’s been a tremendous help to us. And as Taste Radio continues to evolve, we’d like to ask for a little more assistance. We’ve created a short survey that asks listeners a little about themselves and their podcast listening habits. The results of the survey will help us better understand our audience and how to craft new and interesting content. Please take 2-3 minutes to complete it and once you do, you’ll be eligible to win a $25 gift card.
3:17: Interview: Shane Emmett, Co-Founder/CEO, Health Warrior — In an interview recorded at Natural Products Expo East 2018, Emmett explained how Health Warrior’s rapid rise was fueled by an early focus on direct-to-consumer sales, a media spotlight on ancient ingredients and serendipitous partnerships, including those with several NFL players and teams. He also discussed how the company’s relationship with its key retail partners, Amazon and Whole Foods has evolved, and how Health Warrior incorporates social mission into its business strategy.

Also Mentioned

Health Warrior