Taste Radio Insider Episode 22

Plant-Based Brands Are Changing Food Faster Than You Think

+ Ben Mand, Harmless Harvest; Michele Simon, Plant Based Foods Association


In this episode, we explored the evolving landscape for plant-based foods through conversations with Ben Mand, the CEO of coconut beverage brand Harmless Harvest and Michele Simon, the founder and executive director of industry trade group the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA).

Mand, who joined Harmless Harvest last year, spoke about the company’s recent revamp of its dairy-free, coconut-based yogurt drink and how lessons from its initial launch have shaped the company’s innovation strategy. He also discussed how Harmless Harvest is exploring opportunities to extend its brand platform while maintaining the integrity of its flagship product.

Later in the show, Simon, who launched the PBFA in 2016, spoke about a shift in how consumers perceive plant-based foods and how brands are responding. She also addressed the growing debate about the proper use of the words “meat” and “milk” and why she believes that lobbyists advocating on behalf of animal-based meat and dairy industries are fighting a losing battle.

In this Episode

1:43: The Ill Subliminal — The hosts discussed Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha’s recent $3.5 million funding round, Landis’ unfortunate illness, GT’s Living Foods’ line of adaptogenic beverages and a visit from cannabis innovator Adam Terry.
11:42: Interview: Ben Mand, CEO, Harmless Harvest — A veteran CPG executive, Mand took the reins of a company that has faced a few challenges to its business in recent years, most notably in the use of its former processing method, HPP. Nevertheless, the Harmless Harvest brand has maintained a loyal following, particularly among consumers in the natural channel. ow the coconut water category has evolved in recent years and the most pressing challenges facing companies in the space.
27:35: Interview: Michele Simon, Executive Director, Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) — Since launching the PBFA, Simon and her team have lobbied for companies innovating with plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg caught up with Michele at the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show for a conversation about the development of the trade group and work on behalf of its member companies.

Also Mentioned

Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, Spindrift, KeVita, Iconic Protein, Koia, LifeAid, Zola, Piknik, GT’s Living Foods, Harmless Harvest, Plum Organics, FRS, Beyond Meat