37: Caroline Burnell, Marketing Manager of Good Food Institute

About Caroline Burnell:

The Good Food Institute (GFI) Senior Marketing Manager Caroline Bushnell has a long-standing love of all things plant-based. Caroline is using that passion to help leading retailers and manufacturers expand their market for plant-based foods beyond vegans and vegetarians to include flexitarians and meat eaters.

Prior to joining GFI, Caroline served as the Director of Marketing for Celestial Seasonings. With a background in brand management, finance, and consulting, she is intimately familiar with the challenges and opportunities of the food business. She brings this expertise to GFI where shes ushering in a new era of plant-based business opportunity, assisting companies in bringing plant-based products to a broader consumer base.

About The Good Food Institute:

We work with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs to make groundbreaking good food a reality. We focus on clean meat and plant-based alternatives to animal products—foods that are more delicious, safer to eat, and better for the planet than their outdated counterparts.

Website: https://www.gfi.org/

Our Conversation

Caroline and I first met at the Menus of Change summit at the Culinary Institute of America. (If you’re not familiar with the Menus of Change event, check out my blog post about it at https://www.ccphotoandmedia.com/menus-of-change/) I had heard of GFI prior to that, but was happy to have made the connection.

The Good Food Institute is an organization that is truly intriguing, both in the areas in which it focuses, but also in how it goes about doing the work of its mission. I’m fascinated by topics surrounding food technology, as well as the state of using science to influence food and what we eat. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, or an animal rights activist, in fact, I quite enjoy eating meat and animal products, but I do see the value of eating more plants, and at the very least, calling into question how meat is produced – insofar as to increase the sustainability of the food system. That’s why I found it so fascinating to talk to Caroline and learn more about the GFI.

It took a while for us to connect, but we finally did and this interview was recorded in January 2019, after being on hiatus from podcasting for a handful of months. I am releasing it now, in September 2019.

Our conversation covers several topics from plant-based eating, to marketing alternative food companies. Caroline stays on message with GFI and covers the main talking points about plant-based, meat alternatives, lab-grown meats, and so on. It’s a great intro to the state of the industry (as of Jan 2019). We also delve into Caroline’s extensive marketing background and have some marketing/branding tips for food businesses. 

All in all, an interesting conversation.

Topics include: 

  • Plant-based eating – basics
  • Sustainability and the food industry
  • Marketing alternative food products
  • Why meat alternatives are no longer just for vegans/vegetarians
  • The state of lab-grown meat
  • And more…

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