Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[5:51] SB: "Hidden Gems is a company that basically extracts nutrients out of food waste to create functional products and ingredients that are innovative. So our very first product is the world's first avocado seed brew. So what we do is we extract the antioxidants out of the avocado seed to make a gut healthy drink that has three times more antioxidants than a green tea. There's apple cider vinegar, so great for your gut health, which is one gram of sugar in every bottle."
[16:58] SB: "Food waste [...] currently is the number one contributor to climate change. And if it was a country [...] it's going to be the third most polluting country in the world. [...]. And a large part of why we even have food waste is because we just don't have the logistical resources to move food from place to place in time. [...] Then there's food waste at the customer level, [...] the industry of that manufacturers' food [...] and then there's wastage at the farm level."
[30:09] SB: "The biggest challenge that we faced was when we first started, we didn't know what an avocado seed brew was supposed to taste like. It could taste like anything. [...] It could fit in anywhere in the beverage category, which means that we don't have an anchor point. [...] We spent like 18 months to really research that and to put it into the hands of customers. [...] I think that with upcycled foods, they do take a little bit longer to take off, because of the amount of like upfront R&D that needs to happen for even this product or idea to exist. And that's, I think, [what's] a little bit scary for a lot of VCs."
[33:08] SB: "I think the Upcycled Food Association is doing a really good job. They started a certification, which is Upcycled Certified. What they do is they validate your system, your entire supply chain to make sure that all of the things that you're getting are actually coming from places that would have gone to landfill, and then making sure that at the end of it that you didn't landfill the product that you got. [...] I think having certifications is going to be a good way to make sure that greenwashing doesn't happen."
[40:08] SB: "We extract the antioxidants out of the avocado seeds. So the antioxidants in an avocado are very similar to those that you find in tea, and as well as in wine. [...] After we're done with [the extraction, the leftovers] actually break down [...] in a compost facility [...] within a week. [...] Our drink is actually 97% avocado seed extract. And every bottle will have the equivalent of approximately two avocado seeds in every bottle."
[53:22] SB: "The functional beverage category is a $48 billion market in the US. [...] So we definitely have our little niche in that market. Our distribution strategy is really to start out with natural retail."