Taste Radio Insider Episode 76

Why ‘Wood Fires’ Are The Key To Long-Term Trends

+ Mark Alexander, Icelandic Provisions


When assessing the long-term potential for trendy product concepts, Mark Alexander, the CEO of fast-growing skyr brand Icelandic Provisions, uses a “warm” analogy. 

“Paper fire burns really bright, and then it’s out before you know it,” Alexander said in an interview included in this episode. “A wood fire is going to last and burn for a while. That’s how we look at things: is this [trend] a paper fire or a wood fire?”

Following a nearly 30-year career at the Campbell Soup Company, Alexander joined Icelandic Provisions in February 2019. A brand of traditional Icelandic skyr, Icelandic Provisions launched in 2016 and has tapped into growing demand for high-protein, low sugar cultured dairy. The company’s products, known for rich flavor and velvety texture, are sold in over 10,000 locations nationwide, including Whole Foods, Wegmans and ShopRite. 

As part of our conversation, Alexander spoke about his transition from Campbell to Icelandic Provisions, lessons and takeaways from working at a CPG conglomerate that he’s incorporated into his current role and how the skyr company navigates consumer demand for premium and affordable offerings.

In this Episode

1:05: Elevators In Studios, Major Raises & Vegan Pork Rinds — The episode’s hosts opened the show with a chat about BevNET’s Elevator Talk Livestream, which gave brand founders and CEOs and opportunity to be interviewed live via remote video and discuss new products and brand updates that they would have been featuring at Expo West 2020. They also spoke about recently completed funding rounds for sparkling water brand Spindrift and non-alcoholic beer company Athletic Brewing and munched on a new line of vegan pork rinds.
8:40: Mark Alexander, CEO, Icelandic Provisions — In a call with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Alexander discussed his ambition to become the CEO of a company, the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working at a food conglomerate and what drew him to Icelandic Provisions. He also spoke about the steepest part of the learning curve in leading an entrepreneurial brand, why the industry is seeing greater numbers of big company CPG executives migrating to entrepreneurial brands, how hype affects emerging trends and how Icelandic Provisions responds to consumer backlash to added sugar.

Also Mentioned

Icelandic Provisions, TeaRiot, Bobo’s, Sol-ti, Ayoba-Yo, Greenbelt Craft Kombucha, The Good Bean, Spindrift, Athletic Brewing Co., Beanfield’s, Snacklins, Clif Bar, Pepsi, Campbell’s