Gooder Podcast with Janet Lee

September 7, 2020 | by Diana Fryc

What Big CPG Has Learned From Entrepreneurial Brands About Innovation

How can big CPGs capture the magic of smaller brands? Small to mid-size brands have a roll-up-your-sleeves, wear multiple hats, and run with a gut instinct ethic. They’re scrappy, willing to fail, and passionate about their goals. There used to be a time when these small brands shed blood, sweat and tears and then felt bad when they needed to take on the operation superpowers of a multinational. In a desire to gain new consumers and innovations, these large companies used to swallow up these brands and cost engineered the heart out of them – well because operations efficiency is one of their superpowers. But they’ve learned, and are still learning.

In this episode, Janet and I dive deep into the intersection of the innovative entrepreneurial mindset and big CPG operational prowess. Janet shares her insights on what they both can learn from each other on the path to delivering healthy food, beverage, and wellness options to consumers. Listen, learn, and be inspired!

In this episode we learn:

  • That large companies and brands are effectively making a difference in the naturals food and beverage industry.
  • What gets in the way of a large organization’s ability to understand the consumer.
  • How larger brands and teams can mimic the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • How to redefine market opportunity and build different infrastructures to support it.
  • At the end of the day, your instincts are stronger than you think.

About Janet Lee:

Janet Lee is an experienced marketer & innovator who has worked at both big corporates as well as start-ups in the CPG industry. She has had a 13-yr post-MBA marketing career working for brands such as Gatorade and Starbucks.

Janet was the Head of Marketing at Sahale Snacks through its acquisition by the J.M. Smucker Company in 2014 and led its evolution from a specialty brand to a national grocery brand. For the past 4 years, Janet has worked as a Marketing Director for PepsiCo Europe, incubating small brands such as Off the Eaten Path and Kevita as Head of Marketing for the Future Brands business unit as well as mentoring external start-ups through the Nutrition Greenhouse program.

Janet’s passion is helping small brands scale while protecting what makes them special.

In her free time, she is a huge Peloton fan, obsesses about all things food, and is working through 19 seasons of American Ninja Warrior with her husband Charlie and their two sons.

Show Resources

The J.M. Smucker Company – Get to know the leading consumer packaged goods company behind the iconic food and beverage brands and new favorites that people and pets love. From our passion for crafting the tastes families love, to the values that have inspired us for more than 120 years—we are The J.M. Smucker Company.

Sahale – It was back in August 2003, and two best friends were mountain climbing. They had excellent weather, beautiful views and great company. But one thing was missing – wholesome great-tasting snacks. They had no formal experience in the food industry, but that didn’t stop them. They went back to their kitchen the very next day and created combinations of nuts, dried fruits and exotic spices. Many were inspired by a personal memory. While others were influenced by a culinary tradition from somewhere around  the world. And so Sahale Snacks® nut mixes sprang into being. Pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans and all.

PepsiCo an American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. See how we’re working to use our global scale to help build a more sustainable food system.

Nutrition Greenhouse – a 6-month program where 10 selected companies will be paired with a lead PepsiCo mentor, and the team will be challenged to demonstrate collaboration and measurable progress.

Off The Eaten Path – Snacks for the curious. Made with real veggies.

Tesco – a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer with headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by gross revenues and the ninth-largest in the world measured by revenues.

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