Taste Radio Episode 96

Beyond Meat: Ethan Brown

+ Grady's Cold Brew, Soozy's


Beyond Meat’s first attempt at its signature product, a plant-based burger, while hailed as innovative and groundbreaking, had a big problem: it just didn’t taste very good.

Perhaps folks along the coasts would be willing to sacrifice some flavor for a vegan option, but founder and CEO Ethan Brown knew that to win over mainstream American consumers, Beyond Meat, which makes a variety of plant-based meat products, had to nail the taste, texture and experience of eating beef. The company has since made significant strides toward that goal, but the focus remains on “continually getting better.”

“Let’s be the group of people on Earth that understand meat better than anyone else — and I mean better than anyone else,” Brown said in a recent interview included in this episode of Taste Radio. “And let’s go about rebuilding it. And that’s what we do.”

Listen to our full conversation with Brown, in which he delves into the perils of falling in love with technology, why he keeps posters with negative comments about Beyond Meat products in his office and why he doesn’t “ascribe to humans eliminating meat,” despite being a vegan.

Also included in this episode: a conversation with Dave Sands, the co-founder of fast-growing coffee brand Grady’s Cold Brew, who explained what Brooklyn Beer and Tom Brady have to do with his company’s development. In this week’s edition of Elevator Talk, we chat with Susan Chen, the founder and CEO of Soozy’s, a brand of gluten- and grain-free muffins.

In this Episode

1:37: Did This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Tide You Over? — Beyond the opportunity to watch oversized men give each other concussions while we celebrate the obesity crisis, the Super Bowl a chance for advertisers to try and sell you stuff you probably don’t need. And WE LOVE IT. The commercials are the best part, right? The hosts discuss highlights and misses from ads aired during last week’s Super Bowl, including those from Coca-Cola, Doritos, Mtn Dew and Wendy’s, along with related marketing campaigns from Moon Pie, Annie’s (Bunny Bowl) and Epic (Bison Bowl).
9:47: Interview: Ethan Brown, Founder/CEO, Beyond Meat — A few episodes ago, we spoke with Pat Brown, who’s the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger. Last week we heard from Josh Tetrick whose company JUST is developing lab-grown meat. This week we hear from Ethan Brown, the founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based meat products, including a groundbreaking vegan burger. We caught up with Brown at the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco where he discussed the company’s mission, business strategy and why he’s focused on distribution in the heartland.
37:24: Interview: Dave Sands, Co-Founder, Grady’s Cold Brew — Dave Sands is the co-founder of Grady’s Cold Brew and — appropriately — a chill dude. Sands and namesake co-founder Grady Laird launched the NYC-based brand in 2011 and have since grown it into a multi-pronged coffee platform that includes bottled concentrates, bean bags and most recently a ready-to-drink product. In a conversation recorded at the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show, we spoke with Sands about the development of Grady’s (which triumphed in BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 3),  including important lessons learned over the years and influential people that have guided his journey as an entrepreneur.
57:17: Elevator Talk: Susan Chen, Co-Founder/CEO, Soozy’s It’s fair to say that most muffins aren’t very good for you. Susan Chen is trying to change that. She’s the founder and CEO of Soozy’s which makes muffins from unprocessed, clean ingredients and contain no gluten or grains. We spoke with Susan at NOSH Live Winter 17, where she explained the mission and development of the brand, included in this edition of Elevator Talk.

Also Mentioned

Coca-Cola, Doritos, Mtn Dew, Annie’s, Epic, Moon Pie, Beyond Meat, Grady’s Cold Brew, Soozy’s