What an interesting pair! Founder of Upton’s Naturals, Daniel Staackmann, and V.P. Nicole Sopko, have each been vegan for over twenty years. In addition, Upton’s Naturals doesn’t have any outside investors and never has. Further, Upton’s Naturals doubled its business 2017 over 2016 and it is looking like it will be the same for 2018.
“At Upton’s Naturals we’re unique in the category. We have maintained our position as an independent brand and we have no outside money. And we are vegan. So we can do whatever we want. We don’t have to make everything about making back money or paying back an investor,” Nicole said, as you will hear in this candid, no-frills interview.
These two unassuming veterans also discuss their work lobbying in D.C. with the Plant Based Foods Association.
“There are inequalities in the ways foods are made available and marketed to consumers. There are a lot of people who don’t know what federal subsidies do. I have had the opportunity to go to D.C. to lobby on behalf of our industry. People are receptive to our message as they do see the inequality and they do see that we can’t keep throwing money and tax dollars at a dying industry just to keep it afloat. Things have to move in the direction that consumers are moving,” Nicole explained.
Daniel and Nicole and I also dish on Upton’s Naturals new line of Thai meal kits available in Whole Foods nationwide in August and how they came to work with jackfruit. And, of course, we talk seitan and Upton’s Breakroom!
“There are stereotypes about who eats our products. Come eat in our vegan restaurant, The Break Room, and you will see all ages, all backgrounds. I don’t think it is possible to pigeon-hole the people who are enjoying these kinds of products. It is literally everyone.”
Listen in and enjoy this interview with Daniel and Nicole of Upton’s Naturals.
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