Food Marketing Nerds Restaurant and CPG Marketing Podcast

Food Marketing Nerds is an interview series with restaurant marketing experts, the best in CPG marketing, and entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry. In this weekly podcast series, show host, Alex Oesterle, talks marketing, branding, and social media, diving into the hard and sometimes uncomfortable questions to uncover what's working and what isn't in world of food and beverage marketing. From CMO's to social media managers, the ideas and strategies will change the way you approach your CPG or restaurant marketing. If you're in the food and beverage space or intend to launch your own venture, these interviews are an amazing resource for practical tactics you can implement from day one. After co-founding a digital agency aimed at helping food and beverage brands boost sales to millennials, Alex started interviewing experts in the field to get insights into what makes the best food and beverage brands so successful. He created this podcast to share these interviews with you, and to help other food and beverage businesses achieve their goals in an actionable and entertaining way! Visit for show notes, interview transcripts, and free resources to help you achieve your restaurant marketing or CPG marketing goals.
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Food Marketing Nerds Restaurant and CPG Marketing Podcast




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Now displaying: 2017
Aug 23, 2017

We’ve got an awesome interview lined up for you today.

I’m chatting with Nik Ingersoll, Co-Founder of Barnana. Nik is on the list of Forbes 30 Under 30 and just an all around cool dude.

Before starting Barana, Nik founded a digital agency which eventually formed into an augmented reality firm. And today, we dive into how he’s leveraged creative thinking and guerrilla and social marketing tactics to grow Barnana so quickly.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How creative food startups are opening doors with big retail partners using Facebook Ads
  • What it takes to pull off an attention grabbing PR stunt
  • Why traditional industry thinking might stunt your company’s growth

And so much more. It’s a bit of a shorter episode, but it is packed with tons of unfiltered, actionable advice for food marketers. 

We discuss a lot of extremely useful Facebook Ad Tactics in a short amount of time, so rather than having you pause and write down notes every couple seconds, we’ve compiled all the best tips into a downloadable PDF, at

Aug 10, 2017

On the show today, we have Lauren Shafer of Michele’s Granola, and we’re talking all about social media, and how to find what works for your brand.

Michele’s Granola is a fast-growing brand that makes delicious, small batch granola products you can find in stores across the country. Since joining the company, Lauren has grown into her role of marketing manager, where she leverages the social media data, to constantly improve how Michele’s Granola communicates with their customers.

In the episode, you learn

  • Why your current approach to Facebook and Instagram is probably too similar
  • What brand partnerships can do for you on social that influencer marketing doesn’t
  • How to organically get more positive reviews on Amazon

And plenty more.


Recommended Read:

No LOGO: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies - Naomi Klein

To learn more about Michelle's Granola, check out their website here.

For links and show notes, visit

Jul 28, 2017

Today we’re chatting with Serafina Palandech of Hip Chick Farms. Serafina’s company makes a line of extremely high quality organic chicken products, like nuggets and tenders, and was founded 4 and half years ago in an effort to provide healthy food to people and children on a mass scale.

From being on a reality show to selling out of inventory on QVC, her company has had amazing success and is growing like crazy.

 On the show today, we discuss:

  • How being on QVC works and what effect it has on your business
  • What core marketing areas you should focus on to grow a cult like following
  • How to use data to know when a packaging redesign might be in order 

And a lot more...

Recommended Read:

Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart - Sheryl O'Loughlin

Jul 13, 2017

Fred Hart is joining us on the show today. We had Fred on the podcast back at episode #30, and if you haven’t listened to that interview yet, we talked all about honing brand strategy, and I’d definitely recommend checking that one out.

Fred is a Partner and Creative Director of Interact, one of the most sought after packaging design firms in the industry.

Part of Fred’s job as creative director is keeping a pulse on industry trends and how to leverage that knowledge to set brands up for the future. Fred and his team recently returned from the Fancy Foods show in New York, and on the show today, we talk about:

  • Interesting categories and trends popping up in the Natural Products industry
  • How Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods could have a huge impact on packaging design
  • What steps you can take to get your brand strategy buttoned up

And plenty more…

Fred is a rock star in the industry and has plenty to teach us all in his approach to keying in on trends, branding, and design.


Pics of Notable Trends at the Fancy Foods Show

Check Interact Out on Instagram

Jun 29, 2017

On the show, we’ve got Kate Weiler, co-founder of DrinkMaple- and we’re talking about being the champion of your own new category. Kate’s maple water is now sold in over 12,000 stores, which has taken years of grit, passion, and in her words “blissful ignorance” to make happen.

As you’ll hear from Kate, there are pros and cons to creating a product that’s the first of it’s kind, especially as a start-up bootstapping it to the top.

Kate’s got hustle, and is a wealth of information about entrepreneurship and marketing.

In the episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why grit outweighs experience as a CPG startup founder
  • What it takes to go from 1 store to over 12000
  • How to use a small budget when educating consumers is your biggest hurdle

And plenty more...

Kate has some hilarious stories of the early days and lessons learned which I think you’ll really enjoy, so let’s go on and get after it.

Recommended Reads:

David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell

Crush It! - Gary Vaynerchuk

Jun 22, 2017

We have Terra's Kitchen's CEO/Co-founder, Mike McDevitt, on the show today. Terra’s Kitchen is a meal prep company out of Baltimore and they are sweeping the nation with their one of a kind meal prep delivery service.

They were founded in 2016 and already have a run rate of $20 million a year. Pretty phenomenal.

Their business model is unique to the industry, which allows them to offer up to 60 different meal choices at a time. Terra's Kitchen is set up in a really interesting way, allowing them to focus heavily on customer acquisition and retention, which is primarily what you’ll hear more about from Mike in a second.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to growth hack digital advertising without sacrificing your brand
  • Why analytics should be your marketing teams best friend (if it’s not already)
  • How to make sure your marketing dollars are used as efficiently as possible

And so much more.

Mike is an extremely savvy marketer and outstanding business man, and you’ll have plenty to learn from his approach to growing Terra’s Kitchen


Book Recommendation:

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life - Russ Roberts

Jun 16, 2017

On the show today, we have Luke Lahman, who is the field marketing manager for E&J Gallo. If you’re not already familiar, Gallo is the largest producer of wine in the world, and they own and distribute a number of the popular wine and spirit brands you’ll see at most liquor and grocery stores, like Barefoot, Apothic, and New Amsterdam Vodka.

From being on the front lines to training and managing over 30 salespeople, Luke has spent his career in the industry and where he’s really making a name for himself.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to hire and motivate a strong sales team
  • What’s a recipe for success when it comes to in-store marketing
  • What trends are emerging in the wine and spirits industry

And plenty more… So let’s go chat with Luke.

May 24, 2017

We have Eric Pierce, Director of Business Insights for New Hope Network. If you’ve been following the podcast, we had Eric on the show back at episode 19.

It’s been one of our most popular episodes so we asked Eric to come back on the show to share some more insights on trends and he graciously obliged.

Eric is incredibly talented in helping entrepreneurs and companies uncover opportunities in the market, and I always walk away from our conversations feeling more in tune with what’s happening emerging in the industry.

In this episode, Eric answers the following questions:

  • What trends are providing big growth potential in food and beverage?
  • How can you test new product concepts without breaking the bank?
  • Could retailers benefit from thinking more like Zara or H&M?

 And plenty more…

 So let’s go chat with Eric..

May 17, 2017

Today, we're talking with Ben Fenton of Boulder Food Group about the do's and don'ts if you're looking for outside investment for your food or beverage company.

Ben is a VP over at BFG, which if you're not familiar with this firm, is a venture capital group that partners with early stage food and beverage brands, and they partner with some brands like Barnana, Birch Benders, Chameleon Cold-Brew and plenty more.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What firms like BFG consider potential red flags when assessing potential brand partners
  • Which metrics on your income statement are the most important to investors
  • What founder attributes make you more marketable to VC's

...and plenty more.

If seeking outside funding is on the horizon for your company, you'll have plenty to learn from Ben in this episode.


Book Recommendations:

The Book of Joy - Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dalai Lama

May 10, 2017

Today we’re talking with Koel Thomae, Founder of Noosa Yoghurt.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Noosa brand in the thousands of stores they’re in across the country, and today, Koel discusses what it was like growing the business with an extremely tight budget.

Before partnering with an investment firm, Koel and her business partner had bootstrapped their way to a projected $100M a year in revenue. Everyone loves to talk about big investments and overnight successes, which is why I wanted to dig into the early years of Noosa, what it was like growing the company in the early stages to where it is now.

In the episode, you’ll learn 

  • How flexibility in your growth strategy can actually be a good thing
  • Why tactically picking your retail partners is essential in scaling a food startup
  • How to market a brand with a small team and small budget

And plenty more…

Books Mentioned in the Episode

Penguin Bloom

May 5, 2017

On the show today, we have Tripp Hughes, Director of Brand Management for a company whose marketing I absolutely love, Organic Valley.

Organic Valley seems to have figured out the recipe behind viral marketing content, and before the interview, I wondered how they consistently put out content that was on brand, and always felt so genuine.

You’ll get to hear more about it in just a second, but Organic Valley’s business model is extremely unique. With some context, you'll start to understand why their marketing is so strong.

In the episode with Tripp, you’ll learn…

  • Why transparency is crucial in building a successful company
  • How to empower your team to create great marketing that’s on-brand
  • Why listening to your customers is essential to launching strong campaigns

And plenty more…


Book Recommendation:

Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

Apr 26, 2017

It’s episode number 38, and definitely one of my favorite interviews we’ve done, and I don’t say that often.

We have Brandon Rhoten on the show, who get ready for this title, is the VP, Advertising, Social Media, Media, and Digital Marketing for Wendy’s. It’s a mouthful, and I don’t know how he does it, but everything you see with a Wendy’s logo on it, is the work of Brandon and his team.

This episode is all about how Wendy's went from middle of the pack, to a front runner with one of the strongest brands in the industry. Of course, we discuss the insane amount of publicity they've received from Carter's quest to 18 million Retweets - and more importantly, how to create a culture where partners and employees can do work that gets those kinds of results.

Brandon has a history of transforming brands, and since joining the company in 2011, he’s done the same for Wendy’s in an industry that’s notorious for commoditizing it’s products.

To give you a little more context, since Brandon joined Wendy’s, their stock price has increased nearly 200%, not to mention the 15 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales they’ve had – which is unreal in that industry.

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • Why leaving silos between marketing teams is a big mistake
  • How to sell a brand when your competitors are selling a commodity
  • Why consistency is crucial across every customer facing platform
  • And so much more.

Yes, this is a food marketing podcast, and yes, we talk about food marketing, but the a lot of the advice in this episode is universal to building a great brand in any industry. So grab a pen a paper, and get ready to jot down some notes, because Brandon is about to lay down some knowledge on you.

Apr 20, 2017

On the show today, we have Katie Washburn, Manager of Marketing Partnerships for Suja Juice. Katie has been with Suja since they were just local San Deigo brand selling a few hundred bottles per week, to where they are now bottling 800k bottles per week. 

Today’s episode is all about influencer marketing. We’ll be diving into how Suja’s launched their midnight tonic last October with an influencer campaign that was so successful, it crashed their website and they sold out of the product in just three days.

On the episode, Katie discusses

Why a follower count isn’t the only thing you should look at when selecting influencers

How to build an influencer program that’s sustainable for the long term

What platforms you should focus on for the most effective influencer marketing…

And of course, what made the launch of their midnight tonic so ridiculously successful. If you’ve had influencer marketing on your radar or you’re thinking it’s time to up your game, you are in for a treat.

Book recommendation:

The Leader Phrase Book - Patrick Alain

Apr 12, 2017

On the show today, we have Lacie Mackey, co-founder and COO of Caveman Coffee. If you’re not already familiar with the story behind Caveman, then you’re in for a treat.

Lacie is a professional stunt trainer and crossfit athlete with a business background in guerilla marketing. Her co-founders Keith Jardine and Tait Fletcher are both professional MMA fighters who combined have either acted in or did stunts for Breaking Bad, Maze Runner, Jurrassic World and a lot more stuff you’ve probably seen or heard of.

We’re talking with Lacie today about how she and her cofounders stumbled upon their successful business idea, and then leveraged their skills to grow their business through social media, podcasting, and just being themselves.

On the episode, you’ll learn:

  • What benefits and challenges come with starting an e-commerce first brand
  • How Caveman leveraged social media and their community to grow their brand
  • How to stay sharp and focused when you have a massive to do list

And plenty more.

Caveman Coffee is doing a lot of things right, tapping marketing channels most companies haven’t even thought about yet, and it’s paying big off for them in a big way. You’ll learn a lot from Lacie in this episode, not just about how to approach business, but managing the lifestyle as a marketer and entrepreneur.

Apr 5, 2017

On the show today, we’re talking with Billie Jo Waara, who is the CMO of a brand doing some really interesting things in a sector that’s flooded with competitors with deep pockets. We’re talking about Taco Johns.

Here’s a fun little fact about Taco John’s. They actually invented and own the trademark for the term Taco Tuesday. See, you already learned something new and the interview hasn’t even started yet.

Billie Jo spent the first part of her career in advertising before joining Taco Johns as their CMO, so she has a lot of great stories and insights we talk about in the interview.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to create demand for your products before having a presence in a new market
  • What you can do to fan the flames around good online conversations about your brand
  • How to use product innovation to engage a younger audience

And a ton more.

Billie Jo's Book Recommendations:

  • McDonalds: Behind the Arches
  • Then We Set His Hair on Fire
Mar 31, 2017

This week’s episode is a solo-cast - which means you’re hanging out with yours truly. We’re talking about smart Facebook ad strategies to grow your sales without breaking the bank.

As a marketing consultant, I firmly believe there is no better place to spend advertising dollars right now than Facebook, which is why I wanted to do an episode solely focus ed on this topic.

While we have another solocast planned on Facebook ads for restaurant brands, this episode focuses primarily on how CPG brands can grow their sales with a few simple tactics.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should absolutely be advertising on Facebook if you’re not already
  • What are the most common mistakes brands make with Facebook advertising
  • How to set up a process that will drive higher ROI for your brand

And a lot more…

If you’re a Facebook ads whiz, go ahead and skip this episode. But if you’re not, or you’re starting to dabble in Facebook ads and want to up your game, then don’t go anywhere just yet.

For transcripts or more information, visit

Mar 23, 2017

We're changing pace a little bit in today's episode, talking about the new advances in marketing technology and automation. 

Marketers barely have enough time as it is to get their own work done, let alone invest the added time in researching the latest innovations in marketing tech. 

That's exactly why we reached out to today's guest, Andrew Borella, Director of Business Development for Zenreach out of San Francisco. Zenreach is a super interesting company, working to quantify the foot traffic to grocery stores and restaurants as a result of your digital marketing efforts.

They've received some pretty substantial investments lately, and after this interview, I think you'll start to understand why. Joining us for San Francisco, let's go chat with Andrew...

For show notes, and more information on the podcast, visit


Mar 15, 2017

Whether you're thinking of launching a new CPG brand, or just finding ways to differentiate a product that's already on the shelves, today's guest is a wealth of knowledge in the natural foods startup space.

We're talking with Pete Truby, founder of Salazon Chocolate. From working at Mrs. Meyer's when it was in its early stages, to being one of the first employees at Honest Tea, Pete has been a sponge - soaking up knowledge and information when it comes to startups, entrepreneurship, and the natural foods industry.

Today, you'll get to hear how he's applied that knowledge in bootstrapping Salazon into a brand with national distribution.

In our interview, you're going to learn:

  • Why Pete believes branding is equally, or more, important than product value
  • What the pros and cons are of taking outside investment money
  • How to compete in-store with competitors that have deeper pockets than you

And a whole lot more...

Pete teaches at a local university, so I think you'll really appreciate the way he approaches my questions.

For show notes or to get more information about the podcast, go to

Thanks for listening!

Mar 8, 2017

On the show today, we have Taylor West, VP of Marketing for Kodiak Cakes. Taylor has a wealth of experience in the food industry - before making the move into the Natural Products space, he spent around seven years in marketing for General Mills learning how the big dogs roll.

Taylor recently published an incredible article on the state of the food industry in America and what’s driving the success behind natural food brands, which we’re going to be discussing a little more today.

From the world of cost cutting to make shareholders happy, to an environment where focusing the why behind the brand can be all the difference, Taylor offers some amazing insight into what makes natural brands like Kodiak grow 100% year over year.

In today’s interview, Taylor answers:


In short answer, yes. There's a reason big food companies aren't successfully knocking off smaller brands on a regular basis. Sure, there may be some instances, but Taylor discusses why brands like Justin's are pulling huge acquisition deals, rather than having to compete with large companies developing similar products.


Coming from General Mills, Taylor went from one of the largest food companies in the business to practically a startup. He discusses the impact on his career trajectory, along with what one should consider when thinking about a similar change.


Taylor has first-hand experience with leveraging the benefit of being small in marketing, in a way no big can imitate. From sending out gifts to loyal clients, to direct and in-depth surveys, Kodiak Cakes sets the bar for agile, and thoughtful marketing.

And so much more. For anyone in CPG marketing, whether in Big Food or the natural category, you may want to pause and grab a pen and paper before hitting the play button, because Taylor offers a ton of great advice thats actionable and practical.


Mar 1, 2017

For those of you looking to lock down your brand strategy, differentiating yourself in a crowded market, this episode is a gold mine for creative inspiration and how to get your marketing together. 

On the show, we’ve got Fred Hart, Creative Director of Interact, which is one of top branding and packaging design firms in the food and beverage industry, and they’re based in our home state of Colorado - so bonus points in my book.

Fred is a thought leader on design thinking, especially in the food and beverage industry, and you’d have to pay a pretty penny for the advice he gives away for free in this interview.

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • Why great design might actually be the worst thing that can happen to a new company
  • How you should approach branding if you don’t have a clear cut strategy
  • What new trends are starting to gain traction in the food and beverage industry

And plenty more. For show notes, visit


Feb 22, 2017

On the podcast today, we've got Rich Hope, CMO of one of the fastest growing restaurant brands in the country, Jersey Mike's.

At over 1,200 locations (and counting), we talk about the catalysts for the growth behind Jersey Mike's. You'll get a peak behind the curtains about how they're adjusting to account for underlying changes in the market.

Jersey Mike's has nailed it when it comes to serving up a great product, but what might surprise you is how the company has adapted to the advancing tech in marketing and the restaurant industry.

If you've yet to fully embrace marketing technology, or are wondering how the fastest growing brands do, there are plenty of takeaways in today's interview with Rich. 

Let's get after it.

For show note and additional resources, visit

Feb 15, 2017

We’re changing gears a little bit in today’s episode, and I think you'll really enjoy it. On the show, we have Barr Hogen, owner of Barr-None Consulting, and we’re going to talking about developing food products with an approach that sets you up for success.

It today's episode, we talk with Barr about her expertise in developing food products that appeal to a specific target demographic’s flavor preferences. Barr is a product development consultant with an extensive background in creating healthy, and delicious food and beverage products.

Before spending nine years at Odwalla creating products they still sell today, Barr helped open one of, if not the first, whole foods restaurants in San Francisco. In other words, Barr was creating nutritious products way before it was trendy.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What flavor profiles you should focus on if you want to market to millennials vs. baby boomers
  • How to approach product development differently if you’re planning to sell mass market
  • What Barr tells every food entrepreneur with a new product idea

And plenty more…

Let’s go chat with Barr. 

Resources from the Episode:

Feb 9, 2017

In this episode, we're chatting with Matt D'Amour, CEO of Yumbutter, about how he built his B Corp from the ground up, increasing his ability to make a positive impact on the world.

Starting with only $900 and zero industry experience, Matt and his business partner launched the business, which has grown in distribution by over 430% this past year.

Through their Buy One, Feed One model, which you'll get to hear about shortly, Yumbutter has helped feed over 150,000 children with malnutrition since 2015. 

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Where the bottlenecks are when it comes to scaling a food CPG company
  • What the challenges and benefits of running a certified B Corp are
  • How to increase awareness around your company's bigger mission when you get into new stores

And a whole lot more.

For more information on Yumbutter, check out their website at 

Feb 1, 2017

Today’s episode is a little longer than usual, but it's well worth taking the time to listen to the podcast. We’ve got Richard Cran on the show who is about to drop some serious advertising and branding wisdom on you.

Richard’s resume would make Don Draper jealous. Throughout Richard’s career, he’s worked with powerhouses like Taco Bell, Nike, Audi, Samsung, and Harley Davidson just to name a few.

Over the past several years, and most relevant to our restaurant marketing nerds out there, Richard was VP of Marketing Communications for Jack in the Box, where he headed up campaigns impressive enough to make it into Facebook’s quarterly earnings reports.

He’s joining us on the show today having recently started his own firm called AdHoc Advertising, which you’ll get to hear more about in a minute.

On this episode, you’ll learn

  • What iconic brands do to truly differentiate themselves
  • How to measure the direct impact of your social media campaigns
  • Why the high cost of working with influencers can actually be justifiable

And so much more.

If you'd like to get in touch with Richard, you can contact him via email at

So sit back, grab a pen and paper, and get ready to learn.

Jan 25, 2017

On the show today, we have Marie Miller, who handles social media and public relations for Four Peaks Brewing Company out of Tempe, AZ.

Marie brings a cool perspective to the table because she’s not only marketing for a brewery with multiple restaurant locations, but also a CPG brand with distribution all over the country. 

Today, we’re talking about emerging social media platforms and how you can leverage things like Facebook Live to grow your business. If you haven’t dabbled in Snapchat or are hesitant to test out live streaming apps, Marie offers some practical advice as someone who has been implementing and strategizing ways to build a national brand.

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • How to take a targeted approach to boost brands awareness with Snapchat geo-filters
  • What to look out for when getting started with Facebook Live
  • How to navigate the red tape that comes with marketing an age restrictive product

And a lot more… it’s a fun and lively episode and I think you’ll all enjoy it.

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