In this episode I interview Annie Ryu, founder of The Jackfruit Company in Boulder, Colorado in the US.
Annie started the company in 2011 while traveling to India as a pre-med student and trying her first jackfruit. She discovered that this large fruit had many nutritional and ecological benefits, but also that the majority of jackfruit grown in India was going to waste.
Passionate about global health, Annie saw this as an opportunity to improve lives so while she was still attending Harvard, she began building distribution systems, improving market opportunities for farmers, and creating a working international supply chain to make jackfruit more available around the world.
The Jackfruit Company currently works with over 1,000 farming families to supply jackfruit to over 6,000 retailers in the US.
The company makes a range of vegan products from jackfruit – which has been compared to pulled pork and other shredded meats – that are positioned as healthy, ethical and sustainable.
In this interview, which was recorded live at the recent 2019 Plant Based World Conference & Expo in New York, Annie discusses:
• The challenges involved in creating a company based on a product that few people know anything about
• Why marketing a product solely as being ethical isn’t always enough for consumers and the changes she had to implement to make jackfruit more appealing
• The importance of hiring local expertise to scale up the supply chain
• The different stages and methods she’s used to raise capital and hire key strategic staff
• Why she avoids using meat-based names for the company’s products
• And much more
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