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Podcasts

Jonny Hunter Of Underground Food Collective On Thinking Bigger in the Food System

Jonny Hunter Of Underground Food Collective On Thinking Bigger in the Food System

Jonny Hunter, one of the founders of the Underground Food Collective, talks about the Collective’s growing as a series of horizontally integrated businesses. Their business model works because of infrastructure like a centralized production facility behind them to support their interrelated retail and manufacturing/processing businesses in an efficient manner across multiple product lines (meat, baking, pasta, fermented products) and multiple retail outlets (restaurants, events, butcher shops). He wishes that values around local and sustainable food could be used to create systems that have scalable efficiencies that are affordable to consumers and advocates for working together to build and sustain the infrastructure that would support processing and other means to scale up the local food system.

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A Steady, Slow Growth Path For Quince and Apple’s Niche Domination

A Steady, Slow Growth Path For Quince and Apple’s Niche Domination

Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld are the married duo behind Quince and Apple, a national brand of small-batch, well-balanced preserves that are often paired with cheese and charcuterie. When they started their business, they realized that because they have a labor-intensive, artisanal product, their best strategy was not to compete on quantity or price. Instead, they chose to compete by dominating an emerging niche (pairing their products with specialty cheeses) while telling the defensibly unique story of their brand’s artisanal processes.

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How Love The Wild Built A National Brand For Frozen Farmed Fish

How Love The Wild Built A National Brand For Frozen Farmed Fish

Love The Wild CEO Jacqueline Claudia managed a fish farm before launching Love the Wild with co-founder Christy Brouker in 2014 to fill the gap in the market for convenient, delicious and environmentally friendly, freshly frozen seafood. The knowledgeable food entrepreneur community in Boulder helped Jacqueline understand the realistic path to building a national food brand, including meeting investor expectations and how much money it would take to grow the company’s top-line sales. Love the Wild is in the current cohort of companies in the Chobani incubator and counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor.

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Refining Your Processes and Building Great Financial Packages For Your Food Business

Refining Your Processes and Building Great Financial Packages For Your Food Business

Dan Lemmer of the Wisconsin SBDC’s capital access team talks about how there is value in having a process for financial management and fine-tuning it as you learn more about your business. For example, if you project your needed cash or total sales based on a specific set of assumptions and track it accordingly, you can see how accurate you were and get better at projecting as a result. The more you have the ability to analyze what went right or wrong, the more useful your financial model and plan are to making business decisions. Being able to have both an accurate history and a record of making realistic projections that were met can give entrepreneurs credibility with lenders, investors and the business’ board of directors.

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How Your Food Business Can Build Great Financial Systems

How Your Food Business Can Build Great Financial Systems

Dan Lemmer of the Wisconsin SBDC’s capital access team talks about building great financial systems and realistic projections for food, beverage and value-added agriculture businesses. From the entrepreneur’s perspective, the most important thing when using an accounting package is to ensure accurate setup and data entry so that they are able to produce accurate financial statements. Dan cautions entrepreneurs to only track the information they plan to use. One of the biggest decisions entrepreneurs make in setting up their financial systems is figuring out how much to outsource vs. do in-house. While entrepreneurs need to understand their financial statements and financial drivers, they can often have an outside person come in monthly or quarterly to help take on the more complicated accounting and tax issues, including adjusting journal entries. Then, once the business grows, they can hire someone in-house to help them manage that process as well as help with financial analysis and projection.

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Food Business Brands Evolve With The Consumer

Food Business Brands Evolve With The Consumer

Sara Parthasarathy and Partha Sabniviss, the married couple behind Flavor Temptations, an organic Indian recipe pack brand which includes a traditional Indian recipe with the exact amounts of fresh, organic spices needed to cook the recipe. Originally branded as Ethnic Spicery, they changed their brand name to Flavor Temptations to fully communicate the joyful, family-building experience of making memories through Indian cooking so that their brand resonated more deeply with their target consumer. They also changed their packaging to match their brand promise, better share their values and to stand out on grocery store shelves.

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The Capital Conundrum of Rural Economic Development

The Capital Conundrum of Rural Economic Development

The USDA’s programs serve not just agricultural producers but also rural businesses and rural people more broadly since farmers need strong small-town economies, institutions and infrastructure. This includes programs meant to incentivize and leverage private dollars for investment in rural areas. However, there is a big need to educate investors and entrepreneurs about realistic opportunities for investment and business development in rural America to leverage private as well as public dollars for the good of rural America.

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Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Biological farming is treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. Midwestern BioAg is a company that provides farmers with consulting and products (mostly inputs) that help their farm’s yields, resiliency and profitability by using biological farming methods i.e. treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. While the company started focused on small dairy producers (50-400 cows in a herd), their customers now include large farms and vegetable producers.

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New Product Development and Rollouts For National Food and Beverage Brands: A Process

New Product Development and Rollouts For National Food and Beverage Brands: A Process

Big food and beverage companies start the new product development process by focusing on their target consumer and the value proposition they are offering that consumer through their brand promise. Discovering and defining a consumer driven product is much harder to do than making a food product. For big food companies, the new product development process includes “screening people in” i.e. finding people who already your target customer and have the right attitude toward your potential new product but are still finding their needs unmet in the current marketplace.

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Shared-Use Kitchens And Their Tenants: A Shared Path to Financial Sustainability

Shared-Use Kitchens And Their Tenants: A Shared Path to Financial Sustainability

FEED Kitchens is a shared-use kitchen that also serves as a business incubator for food businesses like small-batch bakers, sauce makers, caterers and food carts. Started with $1.4 million of initial investment, their current location includes 5,400 square feet and 3 and 1/2 full time equivalent employees. Their kitchen is in use on average about 35% of the time. They would need to be at about 45%-50% use (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) with a few more “anchor tenants” using the space on a more regular basis to completely cover costs with fee-for-service revenue only. Currently, about 80% of their revenue is from fee-for-service use of the kitchen.

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