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March 23, 2022

Jason Karp (HumanCo) - How he started Hu Kitchen & Hu Chocolate, The Rebranding of Coconut Bliss to Cosmic Bliss, His Value System within Food and His Mission with HumanCo

Jason Karp (HumanCo) - How he started Hu Kitchen & Hu Chocolate, The Rebranding of Coconut Bliss to Cosmic Bliss, His Value System within Food and His Mission with HumanCo

So this was our first LIVE episode, which we recorded at Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden in Austin, TX during SXSW. To everyone who came out and was there in the flesh, thank you thank you thank you and a special thanks to Marc Nathan for organizing the event as it was a ton of fun. I chatted with Jason Karp, Founder of Hu Kitchen, Hu Chocolate and CEO of HumanCo. HumanCo is a holding company that’s invested in healthy living. We’re going to learn more about their brands Snow Days, Against the grain and Cosmic Bliss. We discuss the rebrand of Coconut Bliss to Cosmic Bliss and question if there is a current bifurcation within the better for you movement.

Here are some of the questions I ask him:

  1. How has your health journey shaped your professional journey?
  2. Did you have experience in the CPG space before?
  3. Was the goal always to start a chocolate company and eventually create other products?
  4. Why did you sell Hu to Mondelez?
  5. What is HumanCo?
  6. When you think about introducing new products at HumanCo, what is your value system within better-for-you?
  7. Your products, both at Hu and now HumanCo, are premium-priced. Can you talk about the pros/cons of premium pricing and why you believe people are willing to pay more?
  8. A couple of years ago you acquired Coconut Bliss, which was a plant-based ice cream company. You recently decided to introduce dairy ice cream and rebrand Coconut Bliss to Cosmic Bliss. What was the thinking behind that decision?
  9. What was the reaction?
  10. Do you think there is a divide or polarization within BFY?
  11. As we take a step back and look at the marketing/branding within better-for-you products overall, what marketing resonates with you and marketing that you don’t like?
  12. What’s your approach?
  13. It seems like the term “plant-based” is everywhere within the better-for-you space (it certainly was all over Expo West). Do you think the term has lost its meaning?
  14. What are your thoughts about adding genetically modified ingredients to food to make it sustainable?
  15. Do you consider lab-grown meat genetically modified?
  16. What’s one part of the better-for-you movement that’s most misunderstood?
  17. What’s one piece of advice that you have for founders in this current climate?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:12.400 --> 00:00:17.039 Hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, Michael but 2 00:00:17.120 --> 00:00:20.920 and on this show we talked about the world of venture capital and innovation in 3 00:00:21.000 --> 00:00:25.480 both consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, you could 4 00:00:25.480 --> 00:00:30.480 subscribe to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT sub stackcom, to get each 5 00:00:30.519 --> 00:00:34.799 new episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. Hey everyone, 6 00:00:34.840 --> 00:00:40.520 so this is our first live podcast episode, which we recorded at cosmic coffee 7 00:00:40.520 --> 00:00:44.759 and Beer Garden in Austin, Texas, during South by southwest. To everyone 8 00:00:44.759 --> 00:00:47.560 who came out and was there in the flesh, thank you, thank you, 9 00:00:47.600 --> 00:00:50.920 thank you. It was great to meet you, and special thanks to 10 00:00:50.960 --> 00:00:55.000 mark Nathan for organizing the event. It was so much, so much fun. 11 00:00:55.039 --> 00:00:58.679 I chat with Jason Carp who is the founder of Hugh Kitchen, Hugh 12 00:00:58.840 --> 00:01:03.719 chocolate and CEO and founder of Human Co. Human Co is a holding company 13 00:01:03.759 --> 00:01:07.239 that's invested in healthy living. We're going to learn more about their brands now 14 00:01:07.359 --> 00:01:11.280 days, against the grain and cosmic bliss in my chat with Jason, and 15 00:01:11.400 --> 00:01:15.359 also we're going to discuss the recent rebrand of coconut bliss to cosmic bliss. 16 00:01:15.799 --> 00:01:21.799 This is a great episode as we question what are the values within better for 17 00:01:21.920 --> 00:01:26.159 you and if there is a bifurcation and maybe separation within the better for you 18 00:01:26.200 --> 00:01:33.560 movement. Without further ADO, here's Jason. Thanks mark. Thanks everyone so 19 00:01:33.640 --> 00:01:37.359 much for Lennus Prash the wake up CPG your your monthly event. This is 20 00:01:37.400 --> 00:01:38.879 could be a lot of fun and Jason, thanks so much for for being 21 00:01:38.920 --> 00:01:42.239 here. Yeah, I'm happy to be here. This is great. For 22 00:01:42.359 --> 00:01:45.400 those you don't know, Jason is the funder and CEO of Human Co. 23 00:01:45.560 --> 00:01:48.439 We're going to learn a lot more about that today. If you're interested in 24 00:01:48.480 --> 00:01:53.040 better for you products, this is absolutely the best place to be. So 25 00:01:53.239 --> 00:01:57.040 let's get started. So, Jason, you were a hedge fun guy. 26 00:01:57.040 --> 00:02:00.840 How is your health journey help shape your professional journey? Why did you kind 27 00:02:00.840 --> 00:02:04.920 of transition into like CPG? Yeah, so some of you probably know this 28 00:02:05.000 --> 00:02:07.560 because I see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Thank you for 29 00:02:07.599 --> 00:02:09.439 coming. By the way, I was in the Finance Industry for just over 30 00:02:09.479 --> 00:02:14.039 twenty years. In my early s I got really sick. This is back 31 00:02:14.080 --> 00:02:17.199 in two thousand and one two thousand time frame, and I was diagnosed with 32 00:02:17.240 --> 00:02:21.719 a few different auto mean diseases and and I was actually going blind. When 33 00:02:21.719 --> 00:02:24.840 I was twenty three years old and they they told me what I had was 34 00:02:24.919 --> 00:02:30.400 incurable. I've always been someone who thought I was healthy. I couldn't believe 35 00:02:30.439 --> 00:02:34.159 that I got that sick that quickly after college and I just did a lot 36 00:02:34.199 --> 00:02:38.039 of exploration. I went into a lot of what at the time seemed bizarre, 37 00:02:38.039 --> 00:02:42.560 but now they called functional medicine, which is this sort of philosophy about 38 00:02:42.560 --> 00:02:46.560 treating the root causes of disease instead of the symptoms, and I cured myself 39 00:02:46.599 --> 00:02:49.479 over the course of about a year and a half with food. As you 40 00:02:49.520 --> 00:02:53.120 can probably see, I'm not blind. After that, I stayed in the 41 00:02:53.120 --> 00:02:55.000 finance industry, but I had to live a much healthier life. I had 42 00:02:55.039 --> 00:02:59.240 to be very focused on what I put in my body and on my body 43 00:02:59.400 --> 00:03:02.759 and I became a really interested in, you know, what's causing illness in 44 00:03:02.800 --> 00:03:07.800 modern society and I wanted to change that. In Two thousand and ten my 45 00:03:07.840 --> 00:03:12.000 family and I, my wife and my brother in law, Jordan Brown, 46 00:03:12.080 --> 00:03:15.680 we created a restaurant in New York City called Hugh Kitchen. Que stands for 47 00:03:15.759 --> 00:03:19.560 human. Most people know about you from our chocolate, but the philosophy and 48 00:03:19.639 --> 00:03:23.520 our slogan back then was get back to human because a lot of my research 49 00:03:23.560 --> 00:03:27.800 and a lot of my training over the last twenty years was really around anthropology, 50 00:03:27.879 --> 00:03:32.479 human evolution and how we are living today with the way we've evolved. 51 00:03:32.479 --> 00:03:36.039 That was the beginning of kind of how I got into health and wellness. 52 00:03:36.039 --> 00:03:38.599 It started off as really a journey to try to get myself healthier and then 53 00:03:38.680 --> 00:03:42.719 it became a much bigger mission on trying to help everyone else get healthier. 54 00:03:42.919 --> 00:03:46.840 I appreciate that. So was the goal like the breakout product of the first 55 00:03:46.840 --> 00:03:50.199 product with huge chocolate, which I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with? 56 00:03:50.680 --> 00:03:54.120 Was the goal always to start with the chocolate company and eventually create other 57 00:03:54.199 --> 00:03:58.879 products or what was kind of like the first test per se? No, 58 00:03:59.039 --> 00:04:00.639 I think a lot of people don't realize that huge chocolate was kind of an 59 00:04:00.680 --> 00:04:05.400 accident. It wasn't intentional. If I had known then what I know now, 60 00:04:05.439 --> 00:04:08.680 I probably never would have done it. You know, it started as 61 00:04:08.719 --> 00:04:12.159 a restaurant. For those of you who had visited Hugh kitchen when it was 62 00:04:12.199 --> 00:04:15.800 open in New York City, the whole restaurant was gluten free, dairy free, 63 00:04:15.840 --> 00:04:19.680 refined sugar free, every animal product in the store was was sourced and 64 00:04:19.759 --> 00:04:25.199 a sustainable way from wild animals. The beef was grass fed, pastor raised. 65 00:04:25.720 --> 00:04:28.800 The chickens were free range and organic. Right before we open the restaurant 66 00:04:28.800 --> 00:04:32.040 we were making a lot of glue grain free and gluten free items, things 67 00:04:32.079 --> 00:04:38.399 like cookies, muffins, scones, etc. But we couldn't find chocolate chips 68 00:04:38.439 --> 00:04:41.439 that met our guard rails. We had very strict guard rails of what we 69 00:04:41.480 --> 00:04:45.079 allowed and we couldn't find chocolate chips that had no refined sugar, had no 70 00:04:45.160 --> 00:04:50.120 dairy, had no chemicals, preservatives or even emulsifiers. And there were a 71 00:04:50.160 --> 00:04:55.360 few healthy chocolates at the time, but we thought they didn't taste great and 72 00:04:55.439 --> 00:05:00.439 so we ended up having to make our own chocolate chips for the baked goods 73 00:05:00.480 --> 00:05:02.959 and the chocolate was so good that we had the idea of converting them into 74 00:05:03.040 --> 00:05:06.800 chocolate bars, which originally just sold in the store, and then we got 75 00:05:06.879 --> 00:05:11.120 kind of lucky. One of our chefs, his girlfriend worked at the Columbus 76 00:05:11.120 --> 00:05:15.560 Circle Location a whole foods and he kept bringing her home our chocolate bars and 77 00:05:15.639 --> 00:05:17.360 she said these are the best tasting, healthy chocolate I've ever had. Can 78 00:05:17.399 --> 00:05:20.839 we start selling him in whole foods and we said okay, and that was 79 00:05:20.839 --> 00:05:27.000 how we got into the CPG business. Wow, that's that's fascinating because right, 80 00:05:27.079 --> 00:05:30.319 doughts entreprior is there just, you know, calm buyers and buyers and 81 00:05:30.399 --> 00:05:32.120 buyers at whole food. So that's super lucky. That kind of had that. 82 00:05:32.160 --> 00:05:36.199 It was totally lucky. And originally we had no outside investors. My 83 00:05:36.240 --> 00:05:41.360 family controlled a hundred percent of the company. It was really a passion project. 84 00:05:41.399 --> 00:05:44.639 For those of you who know restaurants, they're generally not good investments. 85 00:05:44.639 --> 00:05:48.040 I was a professional investor by training and so I sort of knew the odds 86 00:05:48.079 --> 00:05:54.319 of me doing a restaurant were very poor and it was more a passion project 87 00:05:54.319 --> 00:05:56.720 where, frankly, we wanted a place where we could eat every day and 88 00:05:56.720 --> 00:05:59.000 we wanted a place where we could prove to the world that there was a 89 00:05:59.000 --> 00:06:01.639 way to make healthier stuff actually taste good. That's great. With you, 90 00:06:01.720 --> 00:06:04.800 chocolate. You eventually do raise money, right, yeah, and then you 91 00:06:04.800 --> 00:06:09.319 still the business. You event why did you end up selling to mandalize much 92 00:06:09.439 --> 00:06:12.199 later in our journey? So, you know, it's kind of interesting. 93 00:06:12.240 --> 00:06:15.319 I was obviously very fortunate in my previous career to be able to fund a 94 00:06:15.399 --> 00:06:19.519 business like you kitchen, on my own. We didn't take an outside investors 95 00:06:19.519 --> 00:06:26.279 for the first many years, primarily because what our philosophy was at the time 96 00:06:26.920 --> 00:06:30.360 was controversial. It was the prices of everything we're much higher. Our sourcing 97 00:06:30.399 --> 00:06:33.720 standards were higher than anybody, but we knew of in terms of the quality 98 00:06:33.759 --> 00:06:39.879 the ingredients, how we source the ingredients, are commitment to things like fair 99 00:06:39.879 --> 00:06:46.439 trade and fair practices and I as a professional investor, I had seen that 100 00:06:46.519 --> 00:06:50.199 a lot of professional investors, particularly in the public markets, professional investors and 101 00:06:50.240 --> 00:06:56.399 companies of all the big food companies that are public stocks. Most professional investors 102 00:06:56.439 --> 00:07:03.680 care strictly around shareholder returns and I didn't want to have arguments with professional investors 103 00:07:03.720 --> 00:07:11.800 about should we have more humane, more sustainable sourcing around certain products because it's 104 00:07:11.839 --> 00:07:15.199 more expensive in our margins are lower. I never wanted to have that argument 105 00:07:15.199 --> 00:07:18.560 with an investor because I heard those arguments. I heard those arguments around chicken. 106 00:07:18.600 --> 00:07:23.879 I remember we had an argument. We had very expensively sourced free range 107 00:07:24.040 --> 00:07:30.040 organic chicken and we worked with specific farms and it was twice the price of 108 00:07:30.120 --> 00:07:33.040 just what I'll call conventional organic chicken that didn't have standards the way we had 109 00:07:33.079 --> 00:07:35.160 it. And you know, they said, well, why don't you just 110 00:07:35.240 --> 00:07:39.279 use the regular chicken? Nobody's going to notice the difference, and I said 111 00:07:39.319 --> 00:07:43.720 I'll notice the difference and I don't ever want to violate trust because I've had 112 00:07:43.800 --> 00:07:47.040 to get to where I got in terms of my own health by being very 113 00:07:47.160 --> 00:07:50.560 strict, and so I never wanted to have that discussion. And so we 114 00:07:50.600 --> 00:07:56.439 eventually did take outside money and we eventually had a Mandoli's, who's the largest 115 00:07:56.480 --> 00:08:00.279 snacking company in the world, take a small minority position in our company in 116 00:08:00.279 --> 00:08:05.279 two thousand and nineteen and we weren't intending on selling it, and this is 117 00:08:05.279 --> 00:08:11.000 all public information, but we ended up having another very large company make an 118 00:08:11.040 --> 00:08:16.240 unsolicited bid for Hugh, which created a bidding war and because we did have 119 00:08:16.319 --> 00:08:20.240 outside investors at that point and I'm a fiduciary, the price got to a 120 00:08:20.319 --> 00:08:24.040 level where I had to sell it for fiduciary reasons, and so we sold 121 00:08:24.079 --> 00:08:28.800 it to Mandeli's. I thought they were the best of the partners. They've 122 00:08:28.839 --> 00:08:33.480 acquired several better for you brands like takes cookies and perfect bar were some of 123 00:08:33.480 --> 00:08:37.559 their more recent acquisitions and they showed us while they were an investor and they 124 00:08:37.559 --> 00:08:43.159 were also on our board, they showed us that they're actually very responsible, 125 00:08:43.200 --> 00:08:48.480 they're really focused on making snacking healthier and I watched their behavior over the course 126 00:08:48.519 --> 00:08:52.080 of two years and I thought they would be a good steward of our family's 127 00:08:52.159 --> 00:08:54.240 legacy. That make fun of sense, I think, looking back, would 128 00:08:54.240 --> 00:08:58.600 you've taken outside money if you had to start you all over again? Yeah, 129 00:08:58.639 --> 00:09:01.159 you well, yeah, I would have, because I think we were 130 00:09:01.279 --> 00:09:05.320 very deliberate of who we chose. Yeah, you know, we sort of 131 00:09:05.360 --> 00:09:07.320 curated who our investors were and, by the way, we've done the same 132 00:09:07.320 --> 00:09:11.960 thing with human co you know, we've been very thoughtful about who our investors 133 00:09:11.000 --> 00:09:16.440 are, because it was really important to me that the people understood why we're 134 00:09:16.480 --> 00:09:22.279 doing what we're doing. It was important to me that people authentically want to 135 00:09:22.320 --> 00:09:26.399 help everybody and that people authentically want to make the world a better place and 136 00:09:26.440 --> 00:09:31.399 that they kind of walk the talk, and so we were very thoughtful about 137 00:09:31.720 --> 00:09:35.279 who joined us. We also wanted to have strategic investors, and by strategic 138 00:09:35.320 --> 00:09:39.600 I mean people that can actually help with things that money can't buy, you 139 00:09:39.639 --> 00:09:43.879 know, and we had plenty of kind of vocal ambassadors who care about the 140 00:09:43.879 --> 00:09:50.799 mission and sort of raised awareness that there are ways to do healthier food without 141 00:09:50.840 --> 00:09:54.559 compromising and so we've had some amazing investors over the years that, through their 142 00:09:54.600 --> 00:10:00.120 own channels, through Instagram, through twitter, through social through their own network, 143 00:10:00.159 --> 00:10:03.840 have just promoted the awareness of both hugh and human come. That's great 144 00:10:03.879 --> 00:10:07.840 and so and I'm glad you about a human go because for those aren't familiar, 145 00:10:07.879 --> 00:10:11.720 what is human co? So Human Co, if you now know what 146 00:10:11.840 --> 00:10:13.919 by family and I did with you, Human Co is sort of my second 147 00:10:13.960 --> 00:10:18.679 chapter. It's really the culmination of kind of everything I've done over the last 148 00:10:18.679 --> 00:10:22.799 twenty two years. Human Co is a is a holding company, or you 149 00:10:22.840 --> 00:10:24.919 could think of it as if you think of like what general mills is or 150 00:10:26.039 --> 00:10:30.799 Unilever, proctor and gamble. These are called conglomerates. There also called holding 151 00:10:30.799 --> 00:10:33.799 companies where it's a parent company at that sits at the top, that has 152 00:10:33.879 --> 00:10:39.799 multiple brands underneath. The same philosophy and ethos that we did with Hugh. 153 00:10:39.480 --> 00:10:45.320 But Hugh was strictly from a consumer package because perspective, he was really chocolate, 154 00:10:45.320 --> 00:10:50.639 cookies and crackers. She'll stable snacking and as a conscious consumer, and 155 00:10:50.679 --> 00:10:52.759 I have a family and I have two children who are my daughter is strictly 156 00:10:52.759 --> 00:10:58.320 gluten free. Also, I wanted to create more brands that had the same 157 00:10:58.320 --> 00:11:03.080 philosophy and ethosis Hugh, but in different categories, in the categories that, 158 00:11:03.159 --> 00:11:07.120 frankly, I think consumers need better options. And we learned to ton both 159 00:11:07.200 --> 00:11:13.360 good and bad in the hue kind of journey and along the way we created, 160 00:11:13.399 --> 00:11:18.279 almost by accident, like an ecosystem of all sorts of different resources, 161 00:11:18.279 --> 00:11:22.759 from where to source and Gord organic ingredients, how to deal with supply chain, 162 00:11:22.799 --> 00:11:26.159 how to deal with logistics. You know, we've become friendly with many 163 00:11:26.279 --> 00:11:30.840 executives at many big companies who are trying to move the ball forward and we 164 00:11:30.840 --> 00:11:33.720 sort of looked around and we realize we had all of these kind of unique 165 00:11:33.720 --> 00:11:41.000 advantages in an ecosystem that would make us more qualified and more able to create 166 00:11:41.000 --> 00:11:46.279 and invest in companies that are trying to do better for the world. And 167 00:11:46.360 --> 00:11:50.080 so human costarted is just an idea. It was started by me and my 168 00:11:50.080 --> 00:11:54.480 partner, gentleman named Ross Burman, who's been a dear friend of mine for 169 00:11:54.480 --> 00:11:58.600 about twenty years, and our idea was to create kind of the first mission 170 00:11:58.679 --> 00:12:05.279 driven holding company that can provide better options than a lot of the big food 171 00:12:05.279 --> 00:12:09.200 companies. And as a professional investor who studied all the big food companies for 172 00:12:09.240 --> 00:12:11.720 the last twenty years, you know many of them are actually trying to do 173 00:12:11.759 --> 00:12:16.919 better, but they have some constraints, which is they have a lot of 174 00:12:16.039 --> 00:12:20.799 very unhealthy options that are the bulk of their business and it's very hard for 175 00:12:20.840 --> 00:12:26.279 them to shift without cannibalizing their core business. And so if we if we 176 00:12:26.320 --> 00:12:31.519 start with something that's new, that doesn't have those legacy shackles, we can 177 00:12:31.559 --> 00:12:35.480 do things a new way. And that was basically the idea behind human co 178 00:12:35.679 --> 00:12:39.159 and today. We started at about two and a half years ago. We 179 00:12:39.159 --> 00:12:43.600 were sort of like a covid baby in some respects and we now have three 180 00:12:43.600 --> 00:12:50.000 brands. We created one from scratch called snow days, so that was sort 181 00:12:50.000 --> 00:12:52.679 of the second company I built from scratch. Snow days is the first. 182 00:12:52.679 --> 00:12:58.360 We was really meant to go after the sort of frozen appetizer section. We 183 00:12:58.480 --> 00:13:03.080 started with a very healthy, organic, sustainably sourced pizza bite. I grew 184 00:13:03.159 --> 00:13:07.559 up on Totino's pizza rolls. If any of you know put Totino's pizza roles. 185 00:13:07.600 --> 00:13:11.639 I used to think they were delicious, but I never used to look 186 00:13:11.639 --> 00:13:16.000 at the ingredient label. And if you look at the ingredient label it's pretty 187 00:13:16.000 --> 00:13:20.519 shocking. It's over seventy ingredients it actually uses and it says on the label 188 00:13:20.600 --> 00:13:24.759 imitation cheese, and it's not because it's Vegan. It's actually just imitation. 189 00:13:24.799 --> 00:13:26.840 You know, I have kids who like convenient food and I like finger food 190 00:13:26.879 --> 00:13:30.879 and we wanted to create something that had never have been done before. So 191 00:13:30.919 --> 00:13:35.159 we have the first hundred percent organic Bouton Free Grain Free Pizza Bite. We 192 00:13:35.279 --> 00:13:41.279 use grass fed, sustainably sourced Mozzarella cheese, we infuse seven vegetables into the 193 00:13:41.279 --> 00:13:45.480 sauce. It has the nutritionals of a meal and we also only use olive 194 00:13:45.559 --> 00:13:48.320 oil as opposed to refine CONOLA oil, which is in a lot of products. 195 00:13:48.360 --> 00:13:52.919 And that was the first brand that we created and then we also bought 196 00:13:52.919 --> 00:13:58.480 two brands. We bought the largest grain free gluten free pizza company called against 197 00:13:58.519 --> 00:14:01.080 the grain. They're based out of Brattleboro, Vermont. It's a family company. 198 00:14:01.120 --> 00:14:05.159 They had no outside investors. They source their ingredients from local Vermont farms 199 00:14:05.159 --> 00:14:09.320 and the two founders of that company. You're both seventy years old and really 200 00:14:09.320 --> 00:14:15.159 wanted somebody to preserve their legacy of doing things right, and so we net 201 00:14:15.200 --> 00:14:18.759 and against the grain is predominantly pizza, but also has a grain and gluten 202 00:14:18.799 --> 00:14:22.679 free breads. And then the third company, which we bought you about a 203 00:14:22.759 --> 00:14:26.519 year and a half ago, is called cosmic bliss. It was called COCON 204 00:14:26.600 --> 00:14:33.080 up lists. COCON UP LISTS is also a sixteen year old family business that 205 00:14:33.200 --> 00:14:37.519 was known for its plant based organic ice creams. Got It. No, 206 00:14:37.840 --> 00:14:39.440 don't. Thanks so much. So, to be clear, him and Co 207 00:14:39.720 --> 00:14:45.840 Holding Company, conglomerate, you own. Obviously you you do MNA purchase brands 208 00:14:45.879 --> 00:14:48.639 but also incubate your own brand. Correct. You don't have minority and destins 209 00:14:48.639 --> 00:14:52.919 for any organized for that thing. We have a couple minority you gustments. 210 00:14:52.000 --> 00:14:56.080 We have a minority investment in a plant based cheese company called MONTY's. Okay, 211 00:14:56.120 --> 00:15:00.679 but we are not a fund and you know the different is is, 212 00:15:00.759 --> 00:15:05.120 you know, we are a singular company and our goal is to grow our 213 00:15:05.120 --> 00:15:09.559 brands all under one umbrella, as opposed to just investing in them and then, 214 00:15:09.600 --> 00:15:13.000 you know, having to sell them to be paid we don't. We 215 00:15:13.039 --> 00:15:16.440 don't take fees. You know, we're all completely aligned with our investors. 216 00:15:16.480 --> 00:15:20.600 I'm the largest shareholder and investor in Human Co and so I wanted to have 217 00:15:20.679 --> 00:15:26.600 a sort of singular focus where everybody has the exact same alignment in building, 218 00:15:26.639 --> 00:15:31.639 you know, better companies together. So how do you think about introducing new 219 00:15:31.679 --> 00:15:35.480 products at Human Co, whether it's looking at an evaluating other brands looking to 220 00:15:35.480 --> 00:15:41.320 buy or you incubating your own products within better for you? What's your value 221 00:15:41.320 --> 00:15:45.000 system within better for you? This is a good question, this concept of 222 00:15:45.039 --> 00:15:50.399 a value system, and over the years I've I've seen lots of different values 223 00:15:50.399 --> 00:15:52.799 in food. It can be a controversial area because a lot of people have 224 00:15:52.799 --> 00:15:56.879 different values. Most of the time you can try to do better and sort 225 00:15:56.919 --> 00:16:02.440 of all values, but at times you know you have to make compromises in 226 00:16:02.440 --> 00:16:06.559 certain areas. And so our approach, and we sort of say that our 227 00:16:06.639 --> 00:16:12.919 approach or philosophy for Human Co is making healthier living more approachable and more sustainable. 228 00:16:12.960 --> 00:16:17.440 But there's kind of pieces in that. And so our approach is human 229 00:16:17.519 --> 00:16:22.080 health first, if we had to sequence or order them, human health first, 230 00:16:22.120 --> 00:16:26.120 Planet Health Second, and sort of animal welfare third, and that's not 231 00:16:26.159 --> 00:16:29.559 to say that all three aren't immensely important, but sometimes you have to make 232 00:16:29.600 --> 00:16:33.240 trade off, and I'll give you an example huge chocolate. When we first 233 00:16:33.279 --> 00:16:36.879 started developing huge chocolate, you know there's food safety issues that you have to 234 00:16:36.960 --> 00:16:41.919 adhere to to have scalable products for people and we wanted to show that we 235 00:16:41.960 --> 00:16:45.879 could have much better, organic, fair trade chocolate, more reachable to more 236 00:16:45.879 --> 00:16:48.919 people. But to keep the chocolate food safe and for, you know, 237 00:16:48.960 --> 00:16:53.720 preserving it and making sure it actually survived, we had to wrap the chocolate 238 00:16:53.759 --> 00:16:57.600 and plastic. And so if any of you bought huge chocolate a year ago, 239 00:16:57.679 --> 00:17:03.839 our outer wrapping is a compostable and recyclable paper wrapper, but the inside 240 00:17:03.880 --> 00:17:07.160 is what's called a plastic flow wrap. I hate plastic. I try to 241 00:17:07.160 --> 00:17:11.640 avoid single use plastic every chance I can, but that was the only option 242 00:17:11.720 --> 00:17:14.960 and so we sort of had a decision like do we not sell huge chocolate 243 00:17:15.039 --> 00:17:17.799 or do we have to have it with a plastic rapper? And we're always 244 00:17:17.880 --> 00:17:22.200 trying to do better and about four months ago, through the help of Mondeli's, 245 00:17:22.519 --> 00:17:26.759 we actually found a compostable rapper. So now if you buy new huge 246 00:17:26.799 --> 00:17:30.599 chocolate and you open it up, you will see that there is a compostable 247 00:17:30.680 --> 00:17:33.000 inter wrapper and that was sort of progress that we had to make. But 248 00:17:33.240 --> 00:17:38.599 I think our value system is really around humans first, because I believe that, 249 00:17:38.720 --> 00:17:42.720 you know, we have multiple crises or epidemics going on simultaneously. We 250 00:17:42.759 --> 00:17:47.000 have a climate crisis, we have a human health crisis. I mean, 251 00:17:47.000 --> 00:17:49.480 we have a war going on right now. There's always things that we have 252 00:17:49.519 --> 00:17:53.720 to worry about and for me, given what I went through when I was 253 00:17:53.720 --> 00:17:56.880 sick, and you guys have probably noticed this, when you're sick, like 254 00:17:56.960 --> 00:18:00.319 when people are sick, you can't do anything, you can't help anybody. 255 00:18:00.359 --> 00:18:03.920 It doesn't matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter what your resources 256 00:18:03.960 --> 00:18:07.279 are, if you don't have your health, you of zero. And so 257 00:18:07.359 --> 00:18:11.680 I believe that we have to restore human health first, and that's sort of 258 00:18:11.720 --> 00:18:15.279 the sequence we make. You know, and there's other people, by the 259 00:18:15.279 --> 00:18:18.440 way, and this is obviously subjective and everyone has different values. There are 260 00:18:18.480 --> 00:18:22.839 some people who are putting planet health over human health, and that's okay too, 261 00:18:22.960 --> 00:18:25.680 but for us, human health comes first and that's why we're called human 262 00:18:25.680 --> 00:18:27.599 gump. Do you think that within better for you? I think that you 263 00:18:27.599 --> 00:18:32.039 started to allude to it, but there's a kind of a bifurcation or separation 264 00:18:32.200 --> 00:18:36.559 between those that are putting products that are maybe better for the planet but I 265 00:18:36.559 --> 00:18:41.079 actually better for you first over, better for you versus better for the planet. 266 00:18:41.119 --> 00:18:44.440 There's plenty of examples of that happening right now and you know, I 267 00:18:44.440 --> 00:18:48.319 think I'm pretty outspoken it about it. You know, I think to solve 268 00:18:48.440 --> 00:18:53.720 these simultaneous sort of crises or epidemics, we need a lot of solutions. 269 00:18:53.759 --> 00:18:59.039 I'm for all solutions as long as people are open minded and educated about them. 270 00:18:59.119 --> 00:19:00.440 You know, I think there's been a lot of terms that have been 271 00:19:00.440 --> 00:19:06.880 greenwashed. There are many plant based items that are definitely better for cows but 272 00:19:06.960 --> 00:19:11.640 are worse for humans, and I think we should know that there are many 273 00:19:11.640 --> 00:19:15.960 planet based items that are highly processed, that are filled with many chemicals that 274 00:19:15.000 --> 00:19:19.680 are being touted as being healthy. Some of them are actually not healthier for 275 00:19:19.720 --> 00:19:22.759 the planet. Some of them are, some of them are unequivocally better for 276 00:19:22.839 --> 00:19:26.400 cows, but many of them are are not healthy for humans. And and 277 00:19:26.519 --> 00:19:30.279 you know, I sit on the board of the tough nutrition school, which 278 00:19:30.279 --> 00:19:33.200 is the top nutrition school in the United States. We have several professors. 279 00:19:33.200 --> 00:19:37.119 The Dean of the Tough Nutrition School is actually on our board, as is 280 00:19:37.160 --> 00:19:41.759 the head of sustainability of toughs, and I just think it's important that everyone 281 00:19:41.839 --> 00:19:45.519 sort of is open minded and open, eyes wide open about this stuff. 282 00:19:45.559 --> 00:19:49.000 So there are plenty of things that are being created right now that are addressing 283 00:19:49.000 --> 00:19:52.680 different needs and I think as consumers, you just have to decide what's more 284 00:19:52.720 --> 00:19:56.039 important to you and it's everyone's prerogative to choose that. Yeah, I mean 285 00:19:56.039 --> 00:20:00.519 it seems like even the the term plant base, it seems like it's kind 286 00:20:00.519 --> 00:20:03.599 of a catch all term for being, you know, better for you when, 287 00:20:03.640 --> 00:20:06.359 as you point out, there's, I'm sure, a lot of plant 288 00:20:06.359 --> 00:20:08.680 based products that might be better for the planet, but are they actually better 289 00:20:08.759 --> 00:20:14.559 for you to actually digest? So, yeah, no, I totally agree 290 00:20:14.559 --> 00:20:17.279 with you. And now I mean all this realm and like the better for 291 00:20:17.319 --> 00:20:21.480 you. And of course, with human human co it's all very premium, 292 00:20:21.480 --> 00:20:23.480 premium pricing. I know you brought up like the chicken story about how it's 293 00:20:23.480 --> 00:20:27.119 double the price. Yeah, because of saying these hours. Can you talk 294 00:20:27.160 --> 00:20:32.119 about maybe like the pros and cons of be maybe in the premium space and 295 00:20:32.119 --> 00:20:34.240 what and why you think people are actually willing to pay more? Yeah, 296 00:20:34.279 --> 00:20:38.440 this is a controversial topic. I don't think it should be. In many 297 00:20:38.480 --> 00:20:45.680 other categories outside of food, people have shown a proclivity for better value, 298 00:20:45.680 --> 00:20:48.920 better quality, this concept of you get what you pay for. For some 299 00:20:49.000 --> 00:20:55.079 reason in this country with food we've sort of gotten away from that and, 300 00:20:55.119 --> 00:20:57.640 like anything, you do get what you pay for. I have personally, 301 00:20:57.680 --> 00:21:03.920 I have disdain for ultra cheap, ultra process junk because, ultimately, you 302 00:21:03.960 --> 00:21:08.359 know, I think ones what you put in your body is literally the greatest 303 00:21:08.359 --> 00:21:12.279 investment you can make. I think for a lot of people health is a 304 00:21:12.359 --> 00:21:18.240 slow moving, glacial process and so it's hard to observe the detrimental effects of 305 00:21:18.279 --> 00:21:22.440 eating, you know, ten twenty years of really poor food. If you 306 00:21:22.519 --> 00:21:27.839 go to other countries like Japan, France or Italy, they take pride in 307 00:21:27.880 --> 00:21:32.880 the quality of their agriculture, the quality of their ingredients. They actually have 308 00:21:33.000 --> 00:21:36.880 disdain for really cheap food. And if you go back forty, fifty years 309 00:21:36.920 --> 00:21:41.880 ago this country, we used to spend roughly the same as a percentage of 310 00:21:41.920 --> 00:21:45.799 our income, so normalized for income levels, on food as a percentage of 311 00:21:45.799 --> 00:21:49.599 our sort of annual compensation. We used to spend the same percentage as those 312 00:21:49.599 --> 00:21:55.079 countries and today we spend roughly half. We spend half as a percentage of 313 00:21:55.079 --> 00:21:57.759 our income on food that they do. I think a lot of consumers are 314 00:21:57.799 --> 00:22:02.680 learning that you do have to vote with your dollars. I think there's like 315 00:22:02.720 --> 00:22:07.079 a skepticism and I think it's well deserved that when you see more expensive items 316 00:22:07.079 --> 00:22:10.039 that you're being ripped off. You know what we try to do a human 317 00:22:10.079 --> 00:22:12.880 cos we try to be transparent about how we source, what we source, 318 00:22:14.039 --> 00:22:17.400 how we work with farms, how we work with with people and, you 319 00:22:17.440 --> 00:22:22.400 know, better practices and it is more expensive. It is more expensive to 320 00:22:22.440 --> 00:22:25.599 do things better, but I think in the grand scheme of things it's about 321 00:22:25.599 --> 00:22:29.599 discretionary choices. We've spent a lot of time on this at toughs and there's 322 00:22:29.599 --> 00:22:33.079 been a lot to research on this. There's a myth that you have to 323 00:22:33.119 --> 00:22:37.200 be wealthy to eat healthy and it turns out that you only have to spend 324 00:22:37.200 --> 00:22:41.880 one to two dollars a day incremental to dramatically upgrade your diet in terms of 325 00:22:41.880 --> 00:22:45.480 fruits, vegetables, more organic food, better practices and and basically anyone who 326 00:22:45.519 --> 00:22:49.680 has a smartphone, anyone who has a streaming service, whether it's Netflix or 327 00:22:49.680 --> 00:22:55.359 spotify or Hulu or whatever, anyone who's ever had a starbucks, they can 328 00:22:55.440 --> 00:22:59.880 all afford to have healthier options. They're choosing not to. I think part 329 00:22:59.920 --> 00:23:03.799 of our job is to show people the the return, to show people that 330 00:23:04.160 --> 00:23:11.359 spending more on better quality products goes towards creating better practices at the end of 331 00:23:11.400 --> 00:23:15.319 the day, and so I think it's a good fair discussion about how to 332 00:23:15.359 --> 00:23:21.119 sort of raise awareness around that. And it's really an invisible hand kind of 333 00:23:21.160 --> 00:23:26.359 economy. If more people demand better practices and pay for the better practices, 334 00:23:26.039 --> 00:23:30.559 more farms, more companies will start actually doing it, because that's where the 335 00:23:30.559 --> 00:23:36.160 money is. And so, you know, I'm a big proponent of showing 336 00:23:36.160 --> 00:23:40.279 people that you do get what you pay for and also being very clear with 337 00:23:40.319 --> 00:23:42.039 everybody when they look at a hug chocolate baror they look at anything in Human 338 00:23:42.039 --> 00:23:45.680 Co and they're like wow, that's really expensive. You know, I'm happy 339 00:23:45.680 --> 00:23:48.759 to show you that our margins are half of what the big food companies are, 340 00:23:48.759 --> 00:23:52.559 that we're making actually way less money than the junk food because we're sourcing 341 00:23:52.599 --> 00:23:56.160 things and passing it to you as the consumer, and I think that's really 342 00:23:56.200 --> 00:24:00.160 important, that you're just basically buying better stuff with better practice. A couple 343 00:24:00.240 --> 00:24:03.240 years ago, and I know you pointed out, that you acquired cooking a 344 00:24:03.319 --> 00:24:08.240 bliss, which was a plant based ice cream company, and you decided to 345 00:24:08.279 --> 00:24:15.759 introduce dairy and obviously rebranded to cosmic bliss. What was the rethinking behind that 346 00:24:15.799 --> 00:24:19.160 decision? Yeah, so this is a really interesting learning lesson. If you 347 00:24:19.160 --> 00:24:23.440 guys have have seen this, there's a lot to reflect on this. So 348 00:24:23.640 --> 00:24:30.400 the background is is cocon up lists is about sixteen years old. It was 349 00:24:30.240 --> 00:24:36.000 known as a plant based Vegan ice cream company. It's actually was owned by 350 00:24:36.119 --> 00:24:41.359 a dairy farming family and Eugene Oregon. All public information because they wanted to 351 00:24:41.400 --> 00:24:48.079 have a plant based option. The daughter of the family was really interested in 352 00:24:48.160 --> 00:24:52.359 more plant based options and dairy free options and you know, part of our 353 00:24:52.400 --> 00:24:57.000 job is to talk to lots of consumers and and to sort of understand where 354 00:24:57.000 --> 00:25:00.279 people's desires are. And it turns out, you know, at this point 355 00:25:00.319 --> 00:25:03.839 in time, obviously plant based is well understood and well accepted and we're a 356 00:25:03.880 --> 00:25:07.799 big fan and advocate of that. You know, most of Hugh products, 357 00:25:07.799 --> 00:25:10.839 for example, or Vegan. But there are a lot of people who still 358 00:25:10.880 --> 00:25:14.440 consume animal products, is still consume dairy. In fact it's over ninety seven 359 00:25:14.440 --> 00:25:18.759 percent of people and over ninety seven percent of ice cream sold in this country 360 00:25:18.960 --> 00:25:23.920 is still dairy, and the vast majority of that dairy comes from factory farms. 361 00:25:23.960 --> 00:25:30.440 And as a company, Human Co is against factory farming and against unfair 362 00:25:30.480 --> 00:25:34.960 treatment of animals and we wanted to provide a better option for those people who 363 00:25:36.119 --> 00:25:40.839 still like consuming dairy from time to time. And it didn't exist. You 364 00:25:40.839 --> 00:25:42.799 know, there are a few organic ice creams out there. I have not 365 00:25:42.880 --> 00:25:48.960 found a scaled grass fed dairy ice cream in the country and I haven't found 366 00:25:48.039 --> 00:25:52.680 one that focuses on regenerative and organic practices. And so we spent a long 367 00:25:52.759 --> 00:25:56.279 period of time over the last, you know, really year, talking to 368 00:25:56.279 --> 00:26:02.000 different farms, talking to different people about is there a way to do a 369 00:26:02.119 --> 00:26:07.400 much better dairy and there's something in the in the animal welfare community called the 370 00:26:07.440 --> 00:26:11.400 five freedoms, and the five freedoms is considered sort of the gold standard for 371 00:26:11.440 --> 00:26:15.119 animal welfare and it's things like, you know, is the animal free from 372 00:26:15.200 --> 00:26:19.519 pain? Is it free from hunger is it free to enjoy the way that 373 00:26:19.519 --> 00:26:22.119 they live in the wild, like eat grass, which is what cows eat 374 00:26:22.160 --> 00:26:26.839 in the wild, and we wanted to produce a better option for people who 375 00:26:26.839 --> 00:26:30.279 still like dairy and it turns out that a lot of people still prefer dairy 376 00:26:30.319 --> 00:26:34.000 based cheese to plant based cheese and a lot of people still prefer dairy based 377 00:26:34.039 --> 00:26:37.279 ice cream to plant based ice cream. But there wasn't an option that we 378 00:26:37.319 --> 00:26:44.839 felt was much more humane, a much better choice than the industrial, factory 379 00:26:44.839 --> 00:26:48.920 farming choice and frankly, it's actually much more delicious. So we developed what 380 00:26:48.079 --> 00:26:52.880 is now a launched this week. It's the first hundred percent grass fed, 381 00:26:52.440 --> 00:26:59.039 organic clean label ice cream in the country and and we're very proud of it. 382 00:26:59.079 --> 00:27:02.480 But what was interesting thing, and you know I think it's it's interesting 383 00:27:02.519 --> 00:27:06.880 for this crowd, is that it was very well received by most people. 384 00:27:06.920 --> 00:27:10.920 You know, we're trying to be more inclusive and provide better options for everybody 385 00:27:10.960 --> 00:27:15.160 and our general approach and are sort of implicit. It's not an it's not 386 00:27:15.200 --> 00:27:18.440 really an explicit slogan, is sustainability for all diets, no matter what your 387 00:27:18.440 --> 00:27:22.480 diet is, no matter what your preference is no matter what your value system 388 00:27:22.599 --> 00:27:26.039 is. If you want to live better, we want to provide you with 389 00:27:26.079 --> 00:27:30.119 better options. And we had a small minority, but a very vocal one, 390 00:27:30.200 --> 00:27:36.200 come out that's very anti any animal products, any animal practices, whether 391 00:27:36.200 --> 00:27:40.119 it's dairy or meat or leather, and it was really interesting to sort of 392 00:27:40.119 --> 00:27:45.440 hear this conversation because we're trying to preach tolerance. We're trying to preach tolerance 393 00:27:45.480 --> 00:27:48.960 for other people's value systems and to not judge. And you know, I 394 00:27:49.039 --> 00:27:55.400 feel like some of and I applaud all the plant based innovations that are coming 395 00:27:55.480 --> 00:28:02.039 because we're all trying to solve these problems, but some of the community is 396 00:28:02.079 --> 00:28:06.880 doing it in a method of shaming and we are very much against the notion 397 00:28:06.960 --> 00:28:11.519 of shaming or intolerance, because I've just met so many people over the years 398 00:28:11.519 --> 00:28:15.680 that have so many different value systems and it's been an interesting conversations and and 399 00:28:15.799 --> 00:28:19.319 unfortunately there have been some people that are not tolerant and not understanding. When 400 00:28:19.359 --> 00:28:22.759 you look around and you think about brands within the better for you space, 401 00:28:22.880 --> 00:28:27.160 like how do you approach your marketing and branding behind your products? I mean 402 00:28:27.200 --> 00:28:30.680 I think they all have some similarity. You know, I think one of 403 00:28:30.680 --> 00:28:34.119 our other value systems, which I didn't talk about, is there is a 404 00:28:34.160 --> 00:28:40.400 bifurcation happening right now in health and wellness. There are many companies that are 405 00:28:40.400 --> 00:28:42.920 taking the approach of what I call sort of techno food or Foodtech. You 406 00:28:42.960 --> 00:28:48.480 know, these are things like growing flesh in a peatree dish or using dprinting 407 00:28:48.480 --> 00:28:56.119 methods to print meat or synthetically using genetics and bioengineering to create things, which 408 00:28:56.160 --> 00:29:02.359 all obviously have the noble goal of reducing environmental footprint. But I still think 409 00:29:02.359 --> 00:29:07.279 there's a lot of opportunity in working with farms and working with agriculture and going 410 00:29:07.359 --> 00:29:11.240 back to a way, and this is really what regenerative agriculture is trying to 411 00:29:11.440 --> 00:29:15.839 espouse, is there are many ways to still work with nature that reduces our 412 00:29:15.880 --> 00:29:21.000 footprint, that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, that's much more humane and how you 413 00:29:21.000 --> 00:29:25.400 work with animals. That's been a big focus of ours from a value system 414 00:29:25.480 --> 00:29:29.519 perspective is still working with nature. If you look at all of our brands 415 00:29:29.519 --> 00:29:32.599 and all of our products, they are all of our ingredients or source from 416 00:29:32.640 --> 00:29:36.799 farms. We don't do anything that's that's produced in a laboratory or bioengineered, 417 00:29:37.160 --> 00:29:41.160 and so we market our things as wholesome. We describe them. You know, 418 00:29:41.279 --> 00:29:44.000 most of what we do, everything we do is no GMO, everything 419 00:29:44.039 --> 00:29:48.359 we do is gluten free, almost everything we do is organic, and it's 420 00:29:48.400 --> 00:29:52.160 really about creating better options. It tastes amazing and we focus on foods that 421 00:29:52.240 --> 00:29:56.799 bring joy and that's really an outgrowth of kind of what I went through, 422 00:29:56.920 --> 00:30:00.799 you know, when I was sick and I had to eat a very restricted 423 00:30:00.839 --> 00:30:03.200 diet. I had to eat a lot of healthy things that tasted like shit 424 00:30:03.200 --> 00:30:07.599 and it really was depressing and if any of you ever had to been on 425 00:30:07.680 --> 00:30:11.559 different diets, you'll notice it. Like I believe food is a part of 426 00:30:11.559 --> 00:30:14.839 community and food is something that should bring joy and pleasure and food is an 427 00:30:14.839 --> 00:30:19.440 inherent aspect of human culture. And so we focused on comfort foods that historically 428 00:30:19.960 --> 00:30:25.920 have been really junky filled with a lot of crap, and really try to 429 00:30:26.000 --> 00:30:30.480 upgrade them and make them so they're still amazingly delicious. Our first variables always 430 00:30:30.599 --> 00:30:33.519 is it delicious? Does this pass the kid test, like, will my 431 00:30:33.599 --> 00:30:37.599 children eat it and not know it's healthy? And if the answers yes, 432 00:30:37.680 --> 00:30:42.000 we go and so that's like a big part of how we sort of describe 433 00:30:42.079 --> 00:30:45.279 what our brands stand for. No, no, no, that makes that 434 00:30:45.400 --> 00:30:49.880 of says. How do you also feel specifically about cell based meat? And 435 00:30:51.039 --> 00:30:53.240 there's a few brands starting to like come into market and there's been a ton 436 00:30:53.279 --> 00:30:56.359 of research about it. It's, as you would say, technico food, 437 00:30:56.440 --> 00:31:00.240 right, it's built in a lab, but a lot of people don't think 438 00:31:00.279 --> 00:31:04.960 that's actually genetically modified. As I an option of being sustainable and maybe better 439 00:31:06.000 --> 00:31:08.079 for the planet, but also may be better for you too, I'd say 440 00:31:08.119 --> 00:31:14.119 on a lot of these innovations I'm more agnostic. I'm not anti I'm just 441 00:31:14.160 --> 00:31:18.559 agnostic, and I'm agnostic with a skeptical mindset. And the reason is is 442 00:31:18.599 --> 00:31:22.400 because, you know, it's also based on my own learnings and my own 443 00:31:22.400 --> 00:31:27.119 study, which is around anthropology and human evolution and and sort of how we 444 00:31:27.160 --> 00:31:32.400 evolved our diets as human beings, how we evolved as human beings, you 445 00:31:32.440 --> 00:31:34.599 know, particularly since we've been hominids and been on two feet, and you 446 00:31:34.640 --> 00:31:40.440 can learn a tremendous amount by just studying kind of evolution of both animals and 447 00:31:40.519 --> 00:31:45.359 humans. There have been many food products in the last fifty years, or 448 00:31:45.400 --> 00:31:52.640 something involved in the food system that the FDA deemed safe at one point and 449 00:31:52.680 --> 00:31:57.279 ten years later when whoops not safe, whether it was carcinogenic glyphosate, which 450 00:31:57.319 --> 00:32:01.759 is the herbicide that Monsanto is very well known for, is banned in many 451 00:32:01.759 --> 00:32:06.839 countries because it's a known carcinogen. There have been plenty of drugs that were 452 00:32:06.839 --> 00:32:09.680 proven safe that later we're proven unsafe, even things like Trans Fats, at 453 00:32:09.759 --> 00:32:15.400 one point where deemed safe. Oh Lester was deemed safe, and so I 454 00:32:15.440 --> 00:32:19.680 adhere to this notion of long term human safety studies. I do not want 455 00:32:19.680 --> 00:32:23.119 to personally subject me or my family two things that don't have long term human 456 00:32:23.160 --> 00:32:28.559 safety data. And we've learned a lot about what humans can eat and not 457 00:32:28.680 --> 00:32:32.119 eat over two hundred thousand years, which is a long period of time. 458 00:32:32.160 --> 00:32:37.519 And so when it comes to cell based meats, you know, my personal 459 00:32:37.640 --> 00:32:42.519 view is when you eat the flesh of an animal, part of what makes 460 00:32:42.599 --> 00:32:47.279 animals and US robust is our ability to survive stressors. We have become robust, 461 00:32:47.359 --> 00:32:52.680 we have become what we have because we have survived and dealt with millions 462 00:32:52.759 --> 00:32:58.119 of stressors. You know, whether it's gravity or its wind or its bacteria 463 00:32:58.200 --> 00:33:01.240 or its viruses, like we are who we are because we've survived all of 464 00:33:01.279 --> 00:33:07.319 these, you know, bombardments of stressers, and when people try to understand 465 00:33:07.440 --> 00:33:10.759 like is the meat grown in a peatrie dish the same as a meat of 466 00:33:12.119 --> 00:33:15.200 a wild, organic chicken on a farm? And the way I try to 467 00:33:15.200 --> 00:33:17.960 describe it is, you know, you look like a healthy guy. If 468 00:33:19.000 --> 00:33:22.559 I were to eat you, you know, you clearly have a lot of 469 00:33:22.039 --> 00:33:24.680 stuff that you've been through over the last I don't know how old you are. 470 00:33:24.720 --> 00:33:28.799 You know you have muscle, you know you probably work out. You 471 00:33:28.839 --> 00:33:31.359 know, or you know, if you take like a perfect specimen of of 472 00:33:31.599 --> 00:33:37.440 like a beautiful human, you know, take like Brad Pitt in fight club, 473 00:33:37.480 --> 00:33:40.000 you know, and clearly he looked like somebody if you were a cannibal 474 00:33:40.039 --> 00:33:45.759 you'd probably want to eat. If you took Brad Pitt and cloned him and 475 00:33:45.799 --> 00:33:51.799 then grew him in a matrix like pod, as a clone with no gravity, 476 00:33:51.839 --> 00:33:55.400 no food, no walking around, no working out, is that bread 477 00:33:55.519 --> 00:34:00.960 pit going to be the same flesh as the Brad Pitt who grew up? 478 00:34:00.000 --> 00:34:02.799 And the answer, of course, is unequivocally no, it's not. And 479 00:34:02.839 --> 00:34:08.760 there are many things in science that we still can't measure and and I am 480 00:34:08.880 --> 00:34:14.320 very humble that there are many things in science that we still don't know and 481 00:34:14.360 --> 00:34:17.800 we can't measure. And just because flesh grown in a peatree dish might have 482 00:34:17.840 --> 00:34:22.239 the same amino acid profile, might cook the same, might smell the same, 483 00:34:22.320 --> 00:34:24.440 might taste the same, it doesn't mean it's the same. There might 484 00:34:24.480 --> 00:34:28.639 be things that we're not measuring in the creation of flesh, and so I 485 00:34:28.719 --> 00:34:31.800 just try to be agnostic about out this stuff and I obviously applaud that it 486 00:34:31.880 --> 00:34:37.000 is way, way, way better for sustainability to do it that way, 487 00:34:37.039 --> 00:34:40.280 but I don't know if it's good for humans and I don't know if it's 488 00:34:40.280 --> 00:34:45.519 food safe and we need probably ten, twenty years a data before we know 489 00:34:46.400 --> 00:34:52.440 that. If we genetically modify a molecule that has never been ingested in human 490 00:34:52.480 --> 00:34:57.400 history and then we start eating it and the FDA spends two years on saying 491 00:34:57.480 --> 00:35:00.039 it's safe, I don't know if it's fully safe because we have plenty of 492 00:35:00.119 --> 00:35:04.480 evidence that there's other things that were deemed safe that ultimately we're not proven SAMEE. 493 00:35:04.679 --> 00:35:07.480 Yeah, I think you alluded to it that in this area we're still 494 00:35:07.480 --> 00:35:12.000 super early and at very much like the tip of the iceberg, and so 495 00:35:12.280 --> 00:35:15.960 there's still a ton of data we don't know, just because these brands are 496 00:35:15.960 --> 00:35:20.119 just startings, may become on the market and obviously in food sciences is a 497 00:35:20.239 --> 00:35:24.119 very just new territory that we're experiencing. So we're in some cases also kind 498 00:35:24.119 --> 00:35:28.360 of the test stummies to right if you actually try and actually eat the stuff, 499 00:35:28.400 --> 00:35:30.719 and I'm all for innovation. I just want to make sure we're grounded 500 00:35:30.840 --> 00:35:37.840 that there are risks to ingesting technology that's never been ingested in human history and 501 00:35:37.880 --> 00:35:39.920 I just think we have to be we have to have an open conversation about 502 00:35:39.960 --> 00:35:44.800 it and we have to let you know. There are some opponents of what 503 00:35:44.840 --> 00:35:50.239 I'm saying who aren't for transparent labeling because they don't want the consumers to get 504 00:35:50.280 --> 00:35:54.440 scared, because they want to progress the agenda, but I think all consumers 505 00:35:54.440 --> 00:35:59.840 should have all full information and make their own decisions. Yeah, no, 506 00:35:59.840 --> 00:36:02.159 no, of totally. So with human code, let's kind of know a 507 00:36:02.159 --> 00:36:06.360 bit more about the future. You're obviously in the pizza business, you're in 508 00:36:06.400 --> 00:36:08.760 the pizza bye business and you're in the ice cream business. How do you 509 00:36:08.800 --> 00:36:15.920 think about new categories urges in and are you also thinking about going beyond food 510 00:36:15.920 --> 00:36:17.800 within health of wellness? Yeah, I mean, you know, a big 511 00:36:17.840 --> 00:36:23.519 part of what we do is we look for categories where we think the market 512 00:36:23.599 --> 00:36:29.840 leader of that category isn't doing things that's good enough for what we think should 513 00:36:29.880 --> 00:36:31.760 be in the world. You know, our state admission is to focus on 514 00:36:31.800 --> 00:36:36.840 anything that you put inside of your body or anything that you put on your 515 00:36:36.840 --> 00:36:40.360 body. So inside of your bodies obviously food, beverage, supplements, nutrition, 516 00:36:40.840 --> 00:36:45.519 anything you put on your body is everything from personal care to household products, 517 00:36:45.559 --> 00:36:50.400 you know, things like lotions and soaps and shampoos etc. We've looked 518 00:36:50.400 --> 00:36:54.840 at many hundreds of companies over the last three years and we both incubate and 519 00:36:55.000 --> 00:37:01.039 by we like to partner with entrepreneurs who has share our philosophy and share our 520 00:37:01.039 --> 00:37:05.119 mission of making the world a better place, because there aren't a lot of 521 00:37:05.119 --> 00:37:07.719 places for those kind of entrepreneurs. You know, many entrepreneurs don't want to 522 00:37:07.719 --> 00:37:14.199 sell to a large public corporation and many entrepreneurs want to keep doing what they're 523 00:37:14.239 --> 00:37:17.840 doing, and so, you know, we're focused on basically creating a home 524 00:37:19.199 --> 00:37:22.320 for entrepreneurs to just keep doing what they're doing and trying to make stuff that 525 00:37:22.360 --> 00:37:27.480 people want and make stuff that, you know, is really helping people live 526 00:37:27.519 --> 00:37:30.599 healthier, more sustainable lives. Yeah, I mean that that makes a lot 527 00:37:30.639 --> 00:37:32.639 of sense. I think it was also pretty interesting too, is the categories 528 00:37:32.639 --> 00:37:37.480 that you're in. They're obviously very large categories, right. There not nothing 529 00:37:37.519 --> 00:37:39.559 new there are you think about remaining when you think about new products, a 530 00:37:39.639 --> 00:37:45.039 better for you version per se in like a large category, or introducing maybe 531 00:37:45.079 --> 00:37:47.239 your own products that are, you know, quite different or or no one 532 00:37:47.320 --> 00:37:52.039 seen before? I mean, we're trying to make a difference, which means 533 00:37:52.039 --> 00:37:54.079 that we have to focus on things that a lot of people are going to 534 00:37:54.119 --> 00:37:59.159 consume. You know, I try to warn a lot of entrepreneurs who are 535 00:37:59.199 --> 00:38:06.320 doing very niche kind of things that if you're actually trying to improve people's lives 536 00:38:06.360 --> 00:38:09.400 and trying to affect change, the first thing is you can't do it if 537 00:38:09.440 --> 00:38:14.079 you don't have a business. So you do have to marry you know, 538 00:38:14.159 --> 00:38:17.719 having an economical business with, you know, doing good, because you can't 539 00:38:17.719 --> 00:38:22.519 help anybody if your business doesn't survive. And it's also difficult if you're focusing 540 00:38:22.559 --> 00:38:29.039 on really, really, really niche areas that aren't approachable for the masses. 541 00:38:29.639 --> 00:38:34.840 So we're generally looking at areas that can help and affect a lot of people. 542 00:38:34.920 --> 00:38:37.480 Some of them are smaller than others, but we're generally, you know, 543 00:38:37.559 --> 00:38:40.119 taking that approach. Yeah, since I'm now, I meant like a 544 00:38:40.119 --> 00:38:45.159 few entrepreneurs here. What's one piece of advice you might have for them in 545 00:38:45.159 --> 00:38:47.360 this current climate? Well, the first one I just mentioned, which is 546 00:38:47.400 --> 00:38:52.320 don't go overly niche. You know, it's very, very hard to change 547 00:38:52.360 --> 00:38:57.239 people's habits unless you have a lot of money to do so that would be 548 00:38:57.280 --> 00:39:00.880 my first piece of advice. My second piece of advice what you think the 549 00:39:00.880 --> 00:39:04.760 world needs, as opposed to just looking at like current Tam. I know 550 00:39:04.840 --> 00:39:07.599 these two things that I'm saying sound a little bit contradictory, but when we 551 00:39:07.599 --> 00:39:12.159 were launching huge chocolate, you know, nine years ago now, a lot 552 00:39:12.199 --> 00:39:15.639 of kind of my investor friends, we're looking at the TAM, which stands 553 00:39:15.639 --> 00:39:19.760 for total addressable market, and they were saying, well, you know, 554 00:39:19.800 --> 00:39:22.199 in the data was never accurate, but they were saying, you know, 555 00:39:22.519 --> 00:39:25.840 well, the Tam for healthy chocolate's only like fifty million dollars and the Tam 556 00:39:25.920 --> 00:39:30.559 for regular chocolates like thirty billion and they were saying, why are you going 557 00:39:30.599 --> 00:39:34.840 into a Tam that's only fifty million dollars? You're not going to really take 558 00:39:34.960 --> 00:39:38.119 much of that. And you know, there's this sort of prevailing view of 559 00:39:38.320 --> 00:39:43.280 you know, you have to evaluate where you're taking share from, but a 560 00:39:43.320 --> 00:39:49.000 lot of times you can shift people's behavior in something that's already well known. 561 00:39:49.079 --> 00:39:52.840 So, for example, chocolate's obviously not a niche category. Some people perceived 562 00:39:52.880 --> 00:39:57.559 healthy chocolate as a niche category, but there were a lot of people they 563 00:39:57.639 --> 00:40:00.320 weren't eating chocolate anymore because they thought it was candy. And most of the 564 00:40:00.360 --> 00:40:05.079 chocolate, frankly, was candy. Lots of refined sugar, lots of chemicals, 565 00:40:05.079 --> 00:40:07.920 lots of junk, and so most of our early consumers are huge chocolate 566 00:40:07.960 --> 00:40:12.960 were not people who are eating healthy chocolate and they were even not people that 567 00:40:13.000 --> 00:40:16.280 were eating chocolate. They were people who were eating full stop and just wanted 568 00:40:16.360 --> 00:40:22.440 to have something that was you know, dark chocolate is unequivocally healthy in terms 569 00:40:22.440 --> 00:40:25.280 of its polyphens, it's Flavin alls and what it does for for your brain. 570 00:40:25.320 --> 00:40:30.239 But there were a lot of people that we basically provided a better option 571 00:40:30.360 --> 00:40:34.840 for who wanted to go back to chocolate. So I think for entrepreneurs it's 572 00:40:34.920 --> 00:40:39.519 really about like studying consumers recognizing what it is they ultimately want. You know, 573 00:40:39.559 --> 00:40:44.159 I think using COSM blisses an example, I talk to a lot of 574 00:40:44.159 --> 00:40:46.719 people who still eat dairy. You know, there are some people who are 575 00:40:46.760 --> 00:40:51.760 in kind of this circle and they're sort of even afraid a little bit to 576 00:40:51.760 --> 00:40:54.639 say out loud that they still like dairy because there is a contingent of people 577 00:40:54.679 --> 00:40:59.599 who want to shame people for eating animal products. And everybody I know who's 578 00:40:59.679 --> 00:41:01.920 educated wants to do better. They want to do better for their family, 579 00:41:01.960 --> 00:41:04.760 they want to do better for the earth, they want to do better for 580 00:41:04.800 --> 00:41:07.719 their health. And so in that example, you know, we wanted to 581 00:41:07.719 --> 00:41:13.599 create a better option for all of those people who still prefer dairy ice creamer 582 00:41:13.719 --> 00:41:15.679 dairy cheese, because there are a lot of those people. I mean there's 583 00:41:15.679 --> 00:41:21.239 literally billions and billions of people who still consume animal products and it's consistent with 584 00:41:21.280 --> 00:41:23.960 their value system, but there aren't a lot of like better options for them. 585 00:41:23.960 --> 00:41:27.760 So that's that's kind of how we approach it, and those would be 586 00:41:27.800 --> 00:41:30.679 probably two of my pieces of advice. Yeah, I mean one of my 587 00:41:30.719 --> 00:41:32.880 takeaways from this is, because I know that you want, of your pieces 588 00:41:32.880 --> 00:41:37.400 of advice is not to go to niche or d try to really like reinvent 589 00:41:37.440 --> 00:41:42.440 the wheel with trying to change maybe a consumer habit, but also that when 590 00:41:42.480 --> 00:41:45.320 you look at categories, look at the overall category, which the premium category, 591 00:41:45.320 --> 00:41:47.639 like your example with chocolate. Looking at you know, if you look 592 00:41:47.679 --> 00:41:51.960 at premium chocolate, it's easy to say that if it's only fifty million dollar 593 00:41:52.039 --> 00:41:54.679 Tam that it's a pretty niche category, right, and you're doing something pretty 594 00:41:54.760 --> 00:41:59.480 niche, when really it wasn't. It wasn't each exactly, because chocolates obviously 595 00:41:59.480 --> 00:42:01.280 a huge cat of are. Yeah, and so I think look at the 596 00:42:01.400 --> 00:42:06.719 entire category, not just the actual premium side to the category, because you 597 00:42:06.760 --> 00:42:10.599 can maybe be able to grow that premium category exe of just relying on trying 598 00:42:10.599 --> 00:42:14.320 to take market share. My last question, and we're going to open this 599 00:42:14.400 --> 00:42:15.639 up to q Anda by the way, if anyone wants to ask a question 600 00:42:15.679 --> 00:42:20.320 for Jason, especially for you, is what's one part that you think is 601 00:42:20.320 --> 00:42:22.920 still kind of misunderstood about better for you overall, and and it may be 602 00:42:23.239 --> 00:42:27.960 launching and premium products. I mean, I think we touched on some of 603 00:42:27.960 --> 00:42:32.840 the misperceptions. Nutrition is a very difficult field because there's not black and white 604 00:42:32.840 --> 00:42:37.519 science. You know, everyone's DNA is different, some people tolerate certain things, 605 00:42:37.519 --> 00:42:43.800 some people are healthier on certain diets versus others. But there are some 606 00:42:43.880 --> 00:42:50.239 myths that are very, very well established that still get kind of recycled in 607 00:42:50.280 --> 00:42:54.639 the newspapers and the common threads that are like unequivocal. You know, fat 608 00:42:54.719 --> 00:42:59.239 is good for you. That is an unequivocal fact in nutrition. You know, 609 00:42:59.280 --> 00:43:04.280 and many other cultures the word fat. In English language, the word 610 00:43:04.280 --> 00:43:07.800 fat is the same as the word fat. Dietary fat is the same as 611 00:43:07.840 --> 00:43:09.760 the word that's fat on your body, and so there's been sort of some 612 00:43:09.800 --> 00:43:14.400 shame over the last fifty years associated with the word fat. If you're like 613 00:43:14.480 --> 00:43:16.800 me and you grow up as a child of the S, there was a 614 00:43:16.800 --> 00:43:22.119 whole fat free trend with brands like snackwells. That was one of the worst 615 00:43:22.199 --> 00:43:28.119 kind of nutritional myths that that was like foisted on society that made a lot 616 00:43:28.119 --> 00:43:31.519 of people much, much unhealthier. So fat is good, egg yolks are 617 00:43:31.599 --> 00:43:36.679 unequivocally healthy. That is another myth the whole like egg white, Ommelett thing 618 00:43:36.719 --> 00:43:40.000 and and you know, there are many, many scientific nutritional facts that are 619 00:43:40.039 --> 00:43:46.360 unequivocal. And then there's many scientific there's many nutritional elements where there's a preponderance 620 00:43:46.360 --> 00:43:52.719 of evidence but it's not conclusive, but there's enough there that you know it's 621 00:43:52.760 --> 00:43:57.119 better. And nutritional studies are really hard to do because, you know, 622 00:43:57.199 --> 00:44:02.199 typical scientific method with with other fields is to have a control group, you 623 00:44:02.239 --> 00:44:06.760 know, where you give them one thing and then to have an experimental group 624 00:44:06.800 --> 00:44:09.159 where you give them another. You can't do that in nutrition because it's not 625 00:44:09.280 --> 00:44:13.800 humane to subject humans to something that you know is not good for them. 626 00:44:13.800 --> 00:44:17.719 And so all the nutritional science that we have today predominantly comes from what are 627 00:44:17.719 --> 00:44:22.280 called Epidemiological Studies, which is like looking at cohorts of people and saying, 628 00:44:22.280 --> 00:44:27.440 okay, this group ate like this, this group ate like this, let's 629 00:44:27.480 --> 00:44:32.320 try to draw inferences. And then there's other studies where you're literally pulling people, 630 00:44:32.360 --> 00:44:36.000 you know over the course of years and saying, what did you eat 631 00:44:36.119 --> 00:44:38.800 yesterday? What did you eat like a year ago? Like most people don't 632 00:44:38.840 --> 00:44:43.840 even remember what the eight an hour ago. And and so those are really, 633 00:44:43.880 --> 00:44:46.639 really imprecise, and so you know, I think there's still a lot 634 00:44:46.719 --> 00:44:52.320 of myths, but there's a lot of of wellknown things and basically one of 635 00:44:52.360 --> 00:44:54.159 the common threads, which is consistent with how we do things a human go, 636 00:44:54.639 --> 00:45:00.079 the more unprocessed you go, the closer to nature you go. Oh, 637 00:45:00.599 --> 00:45:02.599 it's better for you, full stop. You know, whether it's plant 638 00:45:02.639 --> 00:45:07.159 products, whether it's animal products, whether it's everything in between, the closer 639 00:45:07.199 --> 00:45:09.760 you get to nature, the better you are. And this is unequivocal, 640 00:45:09.760 --> 00:45:13.480 and I'll just end on this note because it's important, because we have been 641 00:45:13.480 --> 00:45:16.880 getting a lot of questions recently about different value systems and different diets. So 642 00:45:16.920 --> 00:45:20.559 one of the best things to study, if you guys are ever interested in 643 00:45:20.559 --> 00:45:23.280 this, when you study anthropology and you study human evolution, most of you 644 00:45:23.280 --> 00:45:29.320 probably know that we evolved this hunter gatherers. We were a nomadic species and 645 00:45:29.400 --> 00:45:31.639 today, if you go all over the world, there are some groups of 646 00:45:31.639 --> 00:45:37.800 people and cohorts that still live as indigenous people's and still live in sort of 647 00:45:37.840 --> 00:45:42.519 a hunter gatherer type of lifestyle. That's more consistent than the way it was, 648 00:45:43.000 --> 00:45:45.199 you know, a thousand plus years ago, and they're all over the 649 00:45:45.199 --> 00:45:51.159 world. There are indigenous peoples in the Arctic, their indigenous peoples in South 650 00:45:51.199 --> 00:45:53.960 America, there's indigenous peoples in Africa, there's even some here in America, 651 00:45:54.039 --> 00:46:00.280 and they all have wildly different diets. Obviously, in the Arctic regions like 652 00:46:00.320 --> 00:46:05.239 Alaska, where things are very cold all the time there are very few fruits 653 00:46:05.239 --> 00:46:10.199 and vegetables, there are indigenous peoples that live off of blubber and meat exclusively. 654 00:46:10.599 --> 00:46:14.760 And then if you go to, you know, certain other warmer climates 655 00:46:14.800 --> 00:46:17.199 in the the rainforest, for the jungle, they're indigenous peoples who live off 656 00:46:17.239 --> 00:46:22.039 of fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds, and then their tribes that also 657 00:46:22.079 --> 00:46:27.719 live off of cows meat and blood literally. And guess what? They're all 658 00:46:27.719 --> 00:46:30.360 healthy people and they have none of our modern diseases. They don't have obesity, 659 00:46:30.400 --> 00:46:34.199 they don't have diabetes, they don't have heart disease. They even don't 660 00:46:34.280 --> 00:46:38.000 have things that some people don't view as linked to modern diseases. They don't 661 00:46:38.000 --> 00:46:42.440 have adhd, they don't have allergies, they have no incidence of autism. 662 00:46:42.480 --> 00:46:46.559 And what's common amongst all of these people's and all of these tribes is they 663 00:46:46.639 --> 00:46:52.320 live really close to nature and we are remarkably adaptive as a species and what 664 00:46:52.360 --> 00:47:00.039 we have demonstrated over human evolution is that we do better when we work more 665 00:47:00.039 --> 00:47:04.679 closely with nature and less process. No, that's that's it's amazing. It's 666 00:47:04.719 --> 00:47:07.840 amazing. Well, Jason, thanks again. This has been terrific. We're 667 00:47:07.840 --> 00:47:10.960 going to open it up to Qata. If anyone has a question. We 668 00:47:12.000 --> 00:47:15.159 have a microphone as well that I could grab before I just raise your hand, 669 00:47:15.159 --> 00:47:17.360 I can bring you the Mike. Thanks Mike for Hosting this and thank 670 00:47:17.360 --> 00:47:22.079 you, Jason, for speaking. So my question for you is what is 671 00:47:22.159 --> 00:47:24.400 a better question that you think we should be asking ourselves? And as an 672 00:47:24.400 --> 00:47:28.760 example, you were talking a lot about tolerance, so I'm thinking maybe a 673 00:47:28.840 --> 00:47:32.159 question could be how might we develop more and better pathways to more sustainable lifestyles 674 00:47:32.199 --> 00:47:37.719 and dietary transition? What do you think people should be asking? I think 675 00:47:37.760 --> 00:47:40.320 this week was really interesting with the cosmic bliss launch, and you know there's 676 00:47:40.320 --> 00:47:43.920 some interesting people in the crowd vital farms. As in the crowd, which 677 00:47:43.920 --> 00:47:47.679 I'm a big fan of, I really want to preach more tolerance for different 678 00:47:47.760 --> 00:47:53.840 value systems and this week was fascinating because we had so much positive feedback on 679 00:47:53.920 --> 00:47:58.800 launching, you know, a much better dairy option for ice cream. But 680 00:47:58.840 --> 00:48:01.840 we did get some comments that were very hurtful and we're very, very intolerant, 681 00:48:01.920 --> 00:48:06.360 and from people who believe there's only one way to live. And you 682 00:48:06.360 --> 00:48:09.039 know, and I took it very personally because I've spent the last twelve years 683 00:48:09.079 --> 00:48:14.000 of my life trying to make better options for everybody, I have met people 684 00:48:14.079 --> 00:48:19.440 who have really bizarre value systems, bizarre to me, but they're not bizarre 685 00:48:19.480 --> 00:48:22.679 to them. You know, I've met people who think we shouldn't kill trees 686 00:48:22.719 --> 00:48:25.400 for wood but are not Vegan. I've met pro life from pro choice people. 687 00:48:25.440 --> 00:48:30.199 I've met people who I'll give you another really interesting example in terms of 688 00:48:30.199 --> 00:48:34.000 the kind of questions you should ask. You know, most people don't know. 689 00:48:34.079 --> 00:48:37.280 For example, a lot of what I've been doing and over the last 690 00:48:37.360 --> 00:48:40.920 year is trying to teach understanding about how the whole food system works, and 691 00:48:40.960 --> 00:48:46.599 the food system has some ugly underbelly to it. Most people who consume plants 692 00:48:46.639 --> 00:48:51.159 of any kind don't think about the fact that when you eat plants from a 693 00:48:51.159 --> 00:48:54.079 farm, and industrial farm and most most produce that you get in a grocery 694 00:48:54.079 --> 00:48:59.280 store comes from a industrial farm, meaning a farm that's in the business of 695 00:48:59.280 --> 00:49:02.639 producing lots of plants. Most people don't know that when you have to plant 696 00:49:02.679 --> 00:49:07.480 fields, or this concept of tilling soil, that when you're tilling soil or, 697 00:49:07.519 --> 00:49:13.119 you know, making the soil conducive to plant the seeds, that you 698 00:49:13.159 --> 00:49:19.880 are killing thousands and thousands of the underground insects, animals, snakes, rodents, 699 00:49:19.880 --> 00:49:23.559 moles in the process, and that is a choice that we all make 700 00:49:23.599 --> 00:49:28.480 to consume plants. But most people don't think about that, especially some of 701 00:49:28.519 --> 00:49:32.480 the people who are very angry about any animal products that you're by by creating 702 00:49:32.559 --> 00:49:37.639 a lot more plants that are from farms. To do that, you're killing 703 00:49:37.639 --> 00:49:40.719 a lot of wildlife to do that, and you know, I think that's 704 00:49:40.719 --> 00:49:44.920 okay, because that's the choice we're all making, is human beings. You 705 00:49:44.960 --> 00:49:49.239 know, most people don't realize that when you have like one of these. 706 00:49:49.960 --> 00:49:52.199 You know, most people never seen what the inside of the Fox con factory 707 00:49:52.280 --> 00:49:58.119 looks like when you make this. There are many inhumane conditions that happen in 708 00:49:58.159 --> 00:50:00.599 making this. A lot of people don't think about that, and so I 709 00:50:00.599 --> 00:50:07.559 think the really important questions for everybody is to just understand that the food system 710 00:50:07.599 --> 00:50:10.400 is complex, that we as humans, whether you like it or not, 711 00:50:10.440 --> 00:50:14.840 are at the top of the food chain. We have all made choices about 712 00:50:14.880 --> 00:50:17.639 how we want to live our life. Some people are fine having wood. 713 00:50:17.679 --> 00:50:22.199 This entire structure is made out of wood. That means a lot of trees 714 00:50:22.239 --> 00:50:24.880 are killed to make this structure and I think the biggest question we should be 715 00:50:24.920 --> 00:50:30.320 asking each other is how do we engage in conversations to show that we're tolerant 716 00:50:30.360 --> 00:50:35.119 of other people's value systems? You know, some of these indigenous tribes that 717 00:50:35.159 --> 00:50:38.519 I studied, we would view what they do as barbaric. They don't view 718 00:50:38.559 --> 00:50:43.039 it as barbaric, and so I think that's a really important question that everyone 719 00:50:43.119 --> 00:50:46.400 needs to be asking. That when you hear shaming and when you hear you 720 00:50:46.440 --> 00:50:50.519 know, how could you live this way or how could you do this way? 721 00:50:50.559 --> 00:50:52.519 I was shamed when, if you could believe it, when I was 722 00:50:52.559 --> 00:50:55.800 twenty two years old and I had to give up alcohol and gluten. I 723 00:50:55.840 --> 00:51:00.519 had many friends back then. If you were single in York City in one 724 00:51:00.519 --> 00:51:05.320 thousand nine hundred and ninety nine and you were at a bar not drinking alcohol, 725 00:51:05.400 --> 00:51:07.880 all of my friends shame me, like, what's wrong with you? 726 00:51:07.920 --> 00:51:09.320 Aren't you have a drink? Like, just eat the pizza, it's fine, 727 00:51:09.440 --> 00:51:14.239 have some clute, you'll be fine. Like. Everyone has different value 728 00:51:14.280 --> 00:51:17.280 systems and so I think it's really important that you ask people where they're coming 729 00:51:17.320 --> 00:51:22.639 from, what formed their value system, and then just to recognize that we 730 00:51:22.679 --> 00:51:24.400 just need to be accepting of everybody. Love that. Love that. Any 731 00:51:24.400 --> 00:51:30.239 other questions? This has been very insightful and I really appreciate it what you've 732 00:51:30.400 --> 00:51:36.440 shared. I'm interested to understand more like your philosophy around investing, as you 733 00:51:36.480 --> 00:51:39.719 share like a little. Investors usually focus on margins, on how you exit 734 00:51:39.800 --> 00:51:45.159 your Brandon for or five years, but it would like to understand if more 735 00:51:45.239 --> 00:51:50.039 like longer term investing, I yours. If you have the patients to invest 736 00:51:50.119 --> 00:51:53.280 in, let's say, twenty, fifty years, what would you invest in 737 00:51:53.320 --> 00:51:58.639 within the food of everage space? Yeah, so the question for everybody was 738 00:51:58.679 --> 00:52:02.079 how do we approach longer term investing? It's a great question and and look, 739 00:52:02.119 --> 00:52:06.639 part of the reason we created human code the way we did, which 740 00:52:06.679 --> 00:52:10.079 is as a holding company and not a fund. Most funds have a limited 741 00:52:10.159 --> 00:52:14.800 duration, meaning they have to give the money back after some period of time. 742 00:52:14.880 --> 00:52:15.519 And, by the way, I used to run a fund, so 743 00:52:15.559 --> 00:52:21.119 there's nothing wrong with funds. I built my career on funds. Most funds 744 00:52:21.159 --> 00:52:24.079 the way they get paid is by selling stuff, right. They have to 745 00:52:24.079 --> 00:52:28.880 crystallize their investments and that's how they get paid. And what I witnessed, 746 00:52:28.920 --> 00:52:31.079 and I was an investor and still am in many funds, but what I 747 00:52:31.119 --> 00:52:35.719 witnessed is that there were a lot of really good brands that I thought sold 748 00:52:35.760 --> 00:52:39.880 too early, and they sold too early because the investors controlled the process and 749 00:52:39.920 --> 00:52:43.679 wanted to get paid. And that's fine. It was a good you know, 750 00:52:43.719 --> 00:52:45.920 they were great returns. But if you look at some of the really 751 00:52:46.119 --> 00:52:52.199 iconic brands of today, they've been built over twenty, thirty years and and 752 00:52:52.239 --> 00:52:55.880 they've had many evolutions to get there. And I wanted to create something with 753 00:52:55.960 --> 00:53:00.440 human co that could hold things for ten years plus. I mean fifty years 754 00:53:00.519 --> 00:53:04.760 is crazy like that would be great. I'll take ten. You know, 755 00:53:04.800 --> 00:53:07.719 most people are, you know, wanting to sell things after three but it's 756 00:53:07.760 --> 00:53:13.000 tricky. You know, the food industry in particular is a tough business and 757 00:53:13.119 --> 00:53:15.960 part of what's made it tough is there's a lot of middlemen, and there's 758 00:53:15.960 --> 00:53:19.920 nothing wrong with the middleman that that's how they make their living, but there 759 00:53:19.920 --> 00:53:22.559 are a lot of middlemen who take big cuts along the way. And so 760 00:53:22.880 --> 00:53:28.599 when we first started selling huge chocolate, it costs us about a dollar fifty 761 00:53:28.840 --> 00:53:31.440 to make up a huge chocolate bar and we were selling it at wold foods 762 00:53:31.440 --> 00:53:37.360 for seven dollars. So somebody was taking fifty even though the bulk of the 763 00:53:37.440 --> 00:53:42.559 value, at least in consumer's mind, was us and we were only getting 764 00:53:42.559 --> 00:53:45.199 a dollar fifty of that seven dollars. And that's you know, and the 765 00:53:45.199 --> 00:53:49.719 retailer has to take their margin, which is, you know what they do, 766 00:53:50.199 --> 00:53:52.280 and the distributor has to take their margin and it sometimes there's a broker 767 00:53:52.360 --> 00:53:55.480 or there's another person in the middle. So the food business is tough and 768 00:53:55.559 --> 00:54:00.440 so you have to think about how do you finance your business to s vibe 769 00:54:00.519 --> 00:54:04.599 that investment period to get to the point where your business makes money. And 770 00:54:04.679 --> 00:54:07.800 so in the case of us, we found investors that knew we had a 771 00:54:07.840 --> 00:54:13.199 ten year plan, ten year plus plan, who are willing to bear some 772 00:54:13.280 --> 00:54:17.599 losses as we build our platform. You know, it's definitely not profitable in 773 00:54:17.639 --> 00:54:21.960 the beginning, because you're building the platform. You know, Amazon didn't make 774 00:54:21.960 --> 00:54:24.719 money for almost twenty years to build what you know of his Amazon, and 775 00:54:24.760 --> 00:54:30.159 Bezos had to have investors that understood that he had to lose money for a 776 00:54:30.320 --> 00:54:35.800 very long time to build what is now recognized as one of the greatest businesses 777 00:54:35.840 --> 00:54:40.280 on the planet. So I think it's really important that your investors time horizons 778 00:54:40.360 --> 00:54:45.400 and their expectations are aligned with what you were trying to do and if you 779 00:54:45.480 --> 00:54:50.440 have that match, I think you'll be okay. Any other questions? So, 780 00:54:50.519 --> 00:54:52.360 yeah, you talked about like the fact that you know, changing consumer 781 00:54:52.400 --> 00:54:57.519 habits is is really difficult thing to accomplish, but the same time there has 782 00:54:57.559 --> 00:55:01.119 been a lot of success stories in investing in consumer education, vital farms being 783 00:55:01.119 --> 00:55:05.599 one of them. So I'm just curious to hear, like your thoughts on 784 00:55:05.639 --> 00:55:09.119 the balance between, you know, not going to niche versus, you know, 785 00:55:09.320 --> 00:55:15.480 investing in consumer education to really grow out a brand story. Yeah, 786 00:55:15.519 --> 00:55:19.760 look, I the question was about how do you balance changing people's habits, 787 00:55:19.760 --> 00:55:24.119 which is hard, with actually changing people's habits, which a lot of us 788 00:55:24.159 --> 00:55:28.000 want to do. I look, I think it's a balance. You know, 789 00:55:28.119 --> 00:55:32.840 I think it's also understand in consumer psychology and recognizing kind of where they 790 00:55:32.920 --> 00:55:37.159 are and what. You know, again, everything is a hierarchy. You 791 00:55:37.199 --> 00:55:40.800 know, for us when we did hugh kitchen, it was considered preposterous, 792 00:55:40.840 --> 00:55:44.719 like we had. I had so many people that called me an idiot, 793 00:55:44.719 --> 00:55:46.840 that said you go to blow all your money. No one's ever going to 794 00:55:46.880 --> 00:55:51.440 eat like healthier X or healthier. Why? They're not going to spend twice 795 00:55:51.480 --> 00:55:54.320 for better stuff. I've been my whole life basically doing things that people told 796 00:55:54.320 --> 00:55:58.400 me I shouldn't do. So believe me, like I'm trying to be a 797 00:55:58.480 --> 00:56:00.920 change maker. But I think it's also then having discussions about how does this 798 00:56:00.960 --> 00:56:05.639 fit into your lifestyle? Why is this better, and is it something that 799 00:56:05.719 --> 00:56:10.039 actually is irreversible in a good way? You know, the beauty about educating 800 00:56:10.039 --> 00:56:15.000 on nutrition is it when you show people how detrimental like drinking cans of Soda 801 00:56:15.039 --> 00:56:20.000 every day is, it's very hard to go back. Like I never hear 802 00:56:20.039 --> 00:56:22.039 people being like, all right, I'm going to start drinking for Canca soda 803 00:56:22.000 --> 00:56:25.840 to day after they spend like a few hours on how detrimental soda is or 804 00:56:25.920 --> 00:56:32.440 traditional Soda, whereas I think there's other trends that are not permanent, that 805 00:56:32.480 --> 00:56:39.360 are inconsistent with convenience, with people's lifestyles. So, for example, I 806 00:56:39.400 --> 00:56:44.719 have done like the full full key too diet several times. I did it 807 00:56:44.760 --> 00:56:47.760 once for my health purposes. I did it once just to experiment full full 808 00:56:47.840 --> 00:56:51.480 key too. If any of you have done full full key too, where 809 00:56:51.480 --> 00:56:53.840 you're measuring your blood key tones, you can't cheat. You have to keep 810 00:56:53.880 --> 00:56:59.199 your key tones at a certain level. Is extremely difficult to do. It's 811 00:56:59.239 --> 00:57:05.199 also extreme dreamly inconvenient. It makes you a pariah at dinner parties and it's 812 00:57:05.199 --> 00:57:07.920 also for many people and it turns out for me was really bad for my 813 00:57:07.920 --> 00:57:13.119 blood cholesterol and a lot of other blood markers that I measure. Kido is 814 00:57:13.199 --> 00:57:17.519 really big and was really big a few years ago, but it's very inconsistent 815 00:57:17.519 --> 00:57:23.039 with people's lifestyles and very hard to do and debatably has pros and cons to 816 00:57:23.079 --> 00:57:30.360 it. Reducing processed food and refine sugar, I think, other than it 817 00:57:30.440 --> 00:57:32.159 tastes really good, has no cons to it, and so I think you 818 00:57:32.199 --> 00:57:37.119 just sort of have to think about tradeoffs and for us a human co we've 819 00:57:37.159 --> 00:57:43.719 really been about just providing better options for people in things that they already want 820 00:57:43.760 --> 00:57:47.119 in their life instead of trying to say, like, you need to eat 821 00:57:47.159 --> 00:57:52.480 functional mushrooms at four PM, which I love certain functional mushrooms, but I 822 00:57:52.519 --> 00:57:58.960 think getting people to introduce that into their diet is a much harder battle, 823 00:57:59.039 --> 00:58:01.719 you know, than getting getting people to have like better coffee. Any other 824 00:58:01.800 --> 00:58:07.320 questions once? Oh, okay, great, come on down. What's my 825 00:58:07.320 --> 00:58:12.280 biggest mistake? I've so many. I assume you mean in this business. 826 00:58:14.119 --> 00:58:16.400 I don't think you want to hear about like my my personal life mistakes, 827 00:58:16.400 --> 00:58:21.000 which at many of those two. I would say this might sound like a 828 00:58:21.079 --> 00:58:25.280 kind of a perfectionist mistake, and it's not. I should have gotten into 829 00:58:25.320 --> 00:58:30.320 this industry much earlier. Men. I'll tell you why I think it. 830 00:58:30.320 --> 00:58:32.239 And it's not because, like it's more lucrative. I was in a very 831 00:58:32.320 --> 00:58:38.239 lucrative industry that was destroying my soul and destroying my health and literally like actually 832 00:58:38.239 --> 00:58:42.199 destroying my health, and I see this with a lot of people. It's 833 00:58:42.280 --> 00:58:45.239 very hard. You know, I was very good in my previous job and 834 00:58:45.280 --> 00:58:49.239 it was very lucrative and it's what I thought I wanted to do from the 835 00:58:49.239 --> 00:58:52.960 moment I was a kid, but within a few years of me doing it, 836 00:58:52.039 --> 00:58:55.880 you know, I sort of knew it was at odds with my soul. 837 00:58:55.920 --> 00:59:00.000 And and when you do something that's really at odds with your soul, 838 00:59:00.159 --> 00:59:04.119 it does manifest in your health. And I know this sounds a little woo 839 00:59:04.159 --> 00:59:07.840 woo, but it's not. When you do things that are really at odds 840 00:59:07.880 --> 00:59:12.079 with what, like, you truly want to do, it will manifest through 841 00:59:12.119 --> 00:59:15.920 illness, whether it's mental health illness or whether it's actual physical illness. And 842 00:59:16.079 --> 00:59:22.880 I got really sick and and I pushed myself way too far. If any 843 00:59:22.920 --> 00:59:29.639 of you've ever seen that movie whiplash and and the way the drummer pushed himself 844 00:59:29.679 --> 00:59:32.119 in the movie to be the Best Drummer, I did that to myself in 845 00:59:32.159 --> 00:59:36.920 business and and in an odd way I was fortunate that it made me really 846 00:59:36.920 --> 00:59:39.400 sick because it allowed me to figure out, like it was just not good. 847 00:59:39.400 --> 00:59:44.880 And so I think it's a big mistake for people not to be aware 848 00:59:45.239 --> 00:59:50.480 of if they're doing something that is really at odds with what they feel is 849 00:59:50.559 --> 00:59:53.760 right. And I think there's a lot of people today that struggle with that. 850 00:59:53.960 --> 00:59:58.639 And so I think my biggest mistake was not recognizing it earlier and I'm 851 00:59:58.679 --> 01:00:01.400 so much healthier now and so much happier now and now that I've recognized it, 852 01:00:01.760 --> 01:00:07.840 it's great. Any other questions for Jason? You know, one more, 853 01:00:07.960 --> 01:00:09.119 one more, all right, no problem. Thank you so much. 854 01:00:09.119 --> 01:00:15.159 Okay, with all that you done, have you discovered any interesting new distribution 855 01:00:15.199 --> 01:00:17.920 models that could increase the profit to the producer while decreasing the cost of the 856 01:00:17.960 --> 01:00:22.719 customer? Great Question. You know. Obviously directed consumer, you know, 857 01:00:22.800 --> 01:00:29.280 has been a great innovation and there's many consumer products now that deliver right to 858 01:00:29.320 --> 01:00:32.000 your door, you know, whether it's but your box or daily harvest or 859 01:00:32.039 --> 01:00:36.559 you know, most of our businesses have directed consumer. You can order huge 860 01:00:36.599 --> 01:00:39.000 chalcolate directly online, but it's much harder because there's a big footprint on this 861 01:00:39.000 --> 01:00:42.719 stuff, especially if it's frozen food. You know, there's like what if 862 01:00:42.719 --> 01:00:47.039 they're now calling digital grossers, things like Foxtrot and go puff that are much 863 01:00:47.119 --> 01:00:52.440 more like last mile delivery, Amazon fresh, instat cart. You know, 864 01:00:52.519 --> 01:00:54.719 these are kind of coming in, but but they're still charging the same kind 865 01:00:54.760 --> 01:01:00.079 of way. I would encourage any of you to develop better distribution models, 866 01:01:00.159 --> 01:01:06.960 because I think the distribution model of today is kind of archaic. It's sixty 867 01:01:07.039 --> 01:01:13.039 years old and it's like really really in need of like disruption. I haven't 868 01:01:13.039 --> 01:01:16.639 seen anything great, but we're all working on it because I think it's really 869 01:01:16.679 --> 01:01:22.719 important. You won't see more better food until this problem is solved. That 870 01:01:22.760 --> 01:01:28.840 she said, because the producer, who's doing the hardest part of the work, 871 01:01:29.000 --> 01:01:32.760 is not making an enough of the total value and that is discouraging the 872 01:01:32.760 --> 01:01:37.039 producer for making better stuff because it's hard to run a business. It's great. 873 01:01:37.119 --> 01:01:43.960 It's great. Any any other further questions? Anyone? Going once, 874 01:01:44.239 --> 01:01:47.639 going twice? Jason, thank you so much for doing this. It's a 875 01:01:47.960 --> 01:01:52.280 it's an absolute pleasure to have you. Thank you, everybody. Keep up 876 01:01:52.320 --> 01:01:57.159 the good fight. Thanks, thank you. Thanks everyone. Thanks everyone for 877 01:01:57.159 --> 01:02:00.039 coming out and there you have it. I hope you all enjoyed that. 878 01:02:00.039 --> 01:02:04.239 That was so much fun and just really the great time of Jason. I 879 01:02:04.360 --> 01:02:07.960 highly recommend following him on twitter at human cart. If you enjoyed this episode, 880 01:02:08.079 --> 01:02:10.679 I love it if you'd write a review on the apple podcast. You're 881 01:02:10.760 --> 01:02:14.960 also welcome to follow me, your host, Mike, on twitter at Mike 882 01:02:14.960 --> 01:02:19.400 Gelb, and also follow for episode announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening 883 01:02:19.480 --> everyone