Overheard At The Food Vision USA Conference

Posted by Marc Simony on November 17, 2017 at 2:54 PM


We overheard some great insights from the 2017 Food Vision USA Conference, in Chicago. Check out what folks from Mattson, Chobani, The Good Food Institute, and others were saying.


“To the consumer, Clean Label is more important than the Nutrition Facts Label.”

  • Who said it: Barb Stuckey, President & CIO, Mattson
  • What she meant: What’s not in the product is more important that what is.
  • Our take: Simplicity is king and R&D needs to innovate around this. It’s not about organic, etc.; it’s about less being more.

“Grasshoppers are the only kosher and halal insect.”

  • Who said it: Dror Tamir, Co-founder and CEO, Hargol FoodTech
  • What he meant: “Grasshoppers are the only kosher and halal insect.”
  • Our take: Who knew? Mind blown!

“Transparency is not equal to more information.”

  • Who said it: Linda Eatherton, Managing Director and Partner, Ketchum Global Food & Beverage Practice
  • What she meant: Consumers won’t look at the backstory and traceability information for every product they buy, but they always want to know that they have access to it.
  • Our take: It goes perfectly with the next quote.

“Transparency equals vulnerability.”

  • Who said it: Greg Fleishman, COO and Co-Founder, Purely Righteous Brands
  • What he meant: Putting yourself and your data out there makes your company more human.
  • Our take: Transparency = Vulnerability = TRUST

“More food is now purchased outside of grocery stores.”

  • Who said it: Tim Brown, President & COO, Chobani
  • What he meant: Home delivery, convenience stores, restaurants, meal kits, dollar stores, etc., in unison now sell more food than Walmart, The Kroger, etc. combined.
  • Our take: Already? So soon?

“You have to move your brand from “value” to “values.””

  • Who said it: Linda Eatherton, Managing Director and Partner, Ketchum Global Food & Beverage Practice
  • What she meant: As she put it, “you have to sell human,” you have to give your story a backstory.
  • Our take: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. (Yeah, we stole that one from Simon Sinek.)

“The quality of the food supply chain has never been higher, but trust in suppliers has never been lower.”

  • Who said it: Tim Brown, President & COO, Chobani
  • What he meant: Exactly what he said.
  • Our take: Get yourself some TraceGains. Duh.

“Consumers are open to processing if the benefits to the consumer are clear.”

  • Who said it: Dr. Liz Specht, Senior Scientist, The Good Food Institute
  • What she meant: Don’t used processed ingredients for your benefits (e.g. lowering your manufacturing costs). Use them when you can derive and explain a benefit for the consumer.
  • Our take: Need awesome ingredients? Source them from our directory.

“The current protein fad is going to blow up.”

  • Miyoko Schinner, Founder, Miyoko’s Kitchen
  • What she meant: People already get enough protein in their diet, and consuming too much protein can be harmful. Manufacturers should focus on the functional properties of their replacement products, not the fads that surround them.
  • Our take: Word.

“Dairy is the canary in the coalmine.”

  • Who said it: Dr. Liz Specht, Senior Scientist, The Good Food Institute
  • What she meant: There is a large-scale, and per her words, “natural” movement toward plant-based diets.
  • Our take: For the food industry to be able to feed the planet, that is probably true. But all x-tarian diets will survive; it’s a matter of geography and context.

“We want to be the leading on-trend nutrition food and beverage company in North America.”

  • Who said it: Seth Kaufman, President of North America Nutrition, PepsiCo
  • What he meant: He knows it’s a journey, but he’s convinced that PepsiCo has the brand cachet and marketing prowess to take their acquisitions into the mainstream.
  • Our take: A laudable goal.

“We believe GMOs are safe, and we believe our consumers deserve to know what’s in their food.”

  • Jeff George, Vice President – R&D, Americas, Campbell Soup Company
  • What he meant: Healthy foods can come from many places.
  • Our take: Campbell’s putting their money where their mouth is. At the end of this year, they will have left The Grocery Manufacturers Association, because GMA wants to suppress GMO labeling. And Campbell's has even launched What’s In Our Food, offering full transparency (and it’s not all roses…).

“The soil is the stomach of the earth.”

  • Who said it: Tim Joseph, Founding Farmer, Maple Hill Creamery
  • What he meant: Tim practices “regenerative agriculture” by treating the land respectfully and organically. By having large ruminants graze (and poop) on farm land, he’s been able to raise natural soil productivity by 60%. “It’s impossible to have a long-term sustainable plant-based food system without animals.”
  • Our take: It’s not about vegetarians vs meat eaters. It’s about using the least destructive inputs for the best outcomes.

“I’m a pathologically optimistic marketer.”

  • Who said it: Greg Fleishman, COO and Co-Founder, Purely Righteous Brands
  • What he meant: Humanity and industry will come around and embrace sustainable food production methodologies. It’s a natural outcome of our survival instinct.
  • Our take: We need more people like Greg roaming the planet.

“Consumers are relying on retailers to be trusted curators.”

  • Who said it: Dr Shelley Balanko, SVP, The Hartman Group
  • What she meant: Too many new brands are popping up all the time and shoppers are overwhelmed. If it’s made it to the store shelf, it is at least partially assumed that the retailer has performed some diligence into the benefits of the product, not just its price.
  • Our take: We know that tightly curated categories perform better than vast selections of the same thing. But who has the power in the relationship? We know it’s not the startup; but is it the corporate buyer or the acquiring power-brand?

“Your size is your enemy.”

  • Who said it: Tim Brown, President & COO, Chobani
  • What he meant: “Large companies are not agile and innovative enough. Their bureaucracies weigh them down."
  • Our take: Which is why they buy up all the small, emerging brands. But can they keep their cultures intact?

“Consumers have a new value paradigm. In order: quality, relevance, experience, quantity, price.”

  • Who said it: Dr. Shelley Balanko, SVP, The Hartman Group
  • What she meant: You’d better figure out how to renovate your products to fit the new paradigm.
  • Our take: This is exactly the reason why all the startups are being gobbled up; because industry behemoths haven’t yet figured out how to go to market in this new environment.

“62% of brands that attract the most loyalty are those that make people’s lives easier.”

  • Who said it: Carrie Bienkowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Peapod
  • What she meant: It’s all about convenience.
  • Our take: It’s all about giving back time.

Did any of these insights resonate with you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Tags: TraceGains, Food Safety, events, food manufacturers, food industry, food product manufacturers