Episode #8 – David Benzaquen: Collaboration Is The Best Way To Sustainable Success
“In any other business, if you had 2 cheese companies, they would say they’re competitors. But in this business, I’ve had clients tell me not only do they not mind that I work with their competitors, but they want them to succeed because it grows the category and helps save more lives.”
Google David Benzaquen and chances are your first hits will be of a South American Kabbalah master… who looks very much like David Benzaquen, the CEO and founder of PlantBased Solutions. So much that I just had to ask that he’s not by chance leading a double life.
He’s not. But David and his company probably aren’t well known to you if your main contact with plant-based brands is as a consumer. It’s very likely that you buy a brand or two that he’s involved with, though. David started PlantBased Solutions as a B2B company offering marketing and brand management services to other companies, which, incidentally, is definitely a runner-up for the list of plant-based business ideas with great potential. The funny thing is, he started the company without much knowledge of brand management or marketing, with just a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish… the how he learned as he went along.
Today, his clients range from established food brands like Gardein to exciting new startups like Ocean Hugger, the maker of Tomato Sushi (and when I say exciting, I also mean both David and me are personally excited about the idea of vegan tuna chunks made with tomatoes and not much else). Basically, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been on the market for over a decade or if you’re just starting out – you should be paying attention to the things we covered in this interview. Things like how to cater to vegans and non-vegans. How to make the biggest difference with your products and how to brand and market them so your potential clients don’t feel like their way of life and eating is being challenged.
The most important thing, however, is the overlying message of collaboration. It’s what sets the plant-based sector apart from others (another thing besides tomato sushi being a phenomenal idea that David and I agree on wholeheartedly); the fact that there is a larger sense of mission that goes beyond mere profit, but of course doesn’t prevent it in any way. Just the opposite – working together we can accomplish more on all levels. Thank you, David, for that nugget!
Now go push play. You’ll be glad you did.
Plant-Based Solutions – Main website
David’s business email
Mentioned as a big source of inspiration for his ideas on taking marketing tactics employed by companies like Coca Cola and applying them to healthy food: Jeff Dunn
Jeff Dunn actually ran Coca Cola, before he became the Chief Carrot Officer at Bolthouse Farms
Another huge influence on Plant-Based Solutions, and their Managing Director: Mary McGovern
The movement for transitioning to a plant-based diet that started in Hong Kong and now spans the globe: Green Monday
A very similar initiative launched over a decade ago in the US: Meatless Monday
A plant-based company that shifted to calling their products an ‘option’ as a way to reach more hesitant customers: Gardein
‘Honest Seth’, founder of Honest Tea – praised by David for transparency in his business: Seth Goldman
Honest Tea Story: »We Were Thirsty«
The company where Seth is currently Chairman of the Board (you’ve probably heard of it): Beyond Meat
Seth’s book: Mission in a Bottle*
How Pinnacle Foods bought Gardein – Food Navigator
Tyson foods invest in Beyond Meat – Fortune
The vegan research panel David is collaborating on: Faunalytics
Ocean Hugger Foods – Tomato Sushi
Tomato Sushi on Twitter
Tomato Sushi on Facebook
Founder of Tomato Sushi and future guest on the show, Masterchef Jimmy Corwell
Try Tomato Sushi at Fresh & Co
*This is an affiliate link – purchasing through it won’t cost you extra, but I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale, which I’ll gratefully use to create more great content for this site.
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