After launching and scaling Honest Tea, and then helping take Beyond Meat public, why would I want to go back into the shallow end of the pool (or is it the deep end?) and start up another enterprise?
Because the work isn’t done, and I love the challenge.
First of all, I’m hungry. Just like Honest Tea was my solution for a less-sweet drink, I have yet to find a delicious snack that is nutrient-dense, (other than nuts and berries). My co-founder Spike Mendelsohn and I have developed some fun and delicious foods that answer that hunger, and we can’t wait to share them.
Climate change is real. So is our power to act. I refuse to be a bystander to a crisis that threatens all of us, not to mention future generations.
We’re not healthy. Our nation’s eating habits have been moving in the wrong direction. The national obesity rate has grown from 30% in 2000 to more than 40% today. And despite all our advancements in science, health and technology, U.S. life expectancy has actually gone down from 2017 (79.5 years) to 2019 (78.8), placing us 34th in terms of global life expectancy. We need to eat fewer empty calories and consume more nutrient-dense foods.
I love the creative process of bringing together a team of passionate activists to make change happen. I love creating brands and campaigns that inspire people to embrace new foods, new thinking, and new habits. Not too long ago, I actually considered shifting to the political arena, but have opted to stay in the private sector where I believe I can most effectively drive a shift toward planet-friendly diets, and a more virtuous form of capitalism – one that balances the imperative to deliver profits with our aspiration to uplift all stakeholders, including consumers, employees, suppliers and the planet.
Some might question the choice to launch a new enterprise in the middle of a pandemic, but I believe this is exactly the right moment. One of my favorite Chinese proverbs is “If we don’t change the direction we are going, we will end up where we are headed.” COVID-19 has highlighted how so many of the choices we have made around our diets and our planet are literally killing us. We need to set a new course, and the brand we have created, Eat the Change™, is intended as a call to action. We hope our efforts, in conjunction with the efforts of thousands of other companies and non-profits, can help us change the direction we are headed.