Taste Radio Insider Episode 42

The One Surprising Question Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Ask Themselves

+ Rick's Picks: Rick Field


In his fourteenth year as an entrepreneur, Rick Field, the founder and CEO of premium pickle brand Rick’s Picks, says he’s always happy to share advice and insights on what it takes to make it in the food business. However, in an interview included in this episode, he noted that every meeting with a potential entrepreneur starts with one question that will determine the length of their conversation.

“If you answer it ‘yes,’ we can talk for an hour,” he said. “If you answer it ‘no,’ the interview is over and you’ll know why. The question is: ‘Do you love paperwork?’ Because if you don’t love paperwork, you’re not going to make it in the grocery industry. And I’m dead serious. It’s a very sobering thing to realize that a lot of the fantasy elements that people associate with their culinary lifestyle and experience give way to a really difficult business and filled with, frankly, a lot of people who could care less about your fate. You’re just a data input in a spreadsheet. You have to resign yourself to that.”

As part of our conversation, Field also discussed the origins of his brand and how he identified white space in a legacy category. He also explained why he describes the Rick’s Picks journey as “champagne on a beer budget,” the dangers of hitting an entrepreneurial plateau and how innovation spurred a renewed interest in his brand.

In this Episode

1:22: Thoughts On Sustainability and a Nu Take on Milk — With three of the regular hosts out of the office this week, Mike Schneider was joined by BevNET managing editor Martín Caballero and NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg for a conversation that included insights on sustainability trends in food and beverage, Oatly ice cream hitting the U.S., and their thoughts on NüMilk, a make-your-own almond milk machine available in select Whole Foods stores.
16:50: Interview: Rick Field, Founder/CEO, Rick’s Picks — In an interview recorded at the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show, Taste Radio editor Ray Latif sat down with Field, who is the creator of Rick’s Picks, an innovative brand that helped usher in a super-premium tier for the pickle category. Field spoke about the early days of the brand and how selling at farmers’ markets led to a partnership with upscale fast food chain Shake Shack. He also discussed how the brand focuses on “extreme differentiation” in terms of flavor profiles and creating multiple day part uses for its products, the story of how Rick’s Picks landed at Whole Foods, “premium-izing” pickle sets at conventional retailers, and how the company identifies its core consumers. Later he explained why he views entrepreneurship as being an “army of one” and often a lonely pursuit.

Also Mentioned

Rick’s Picks, Guayaki, Nestle, Vita Coco, Liquid Death, Good Mylk, Modest Mylk, NüMilk, Aqua Vitea, Oatly, Belgian Boys, Honey Mama’s, Farmhouse Culture, GoodBelly, Vlasic