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Zach Fishbain, Co-Founder & CEO of Spread the Love

This episode of the RETHINK Retail Podcast was recorded live at Groceryshop 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 22, 2022.

On the mic this week is guest host Michael LeBlanc, who is joined by Zach Fishbain, Co-Founder & CEO of Spread the Love, a consumer goods company specializing in clean-label nut butters and jams.

Zach and his wife Val founded Spread The Love after gifting jars of homemade peanut butter to wedding guests back in 2013. Since then, the self-funded challenger brand emerged as a leader in their category with an omni-channel strategy in commercial food service, online grocery, and traditional retail. Award-winning Spread The Love nut butters are bestsellers on Amazon and Walmart.com.

If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know by subscribing to our channel and giving us a 5 star rating us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

– – – – – – Host: Michael LeBlanc, Co-Host of The Remarkable Retail Podcast Produced by Gabriella Bock & Fritz Finlay

Post Transcript

Michael LeBlanc:
Well, good afternoon, good evening, or good morning, whenever you’re listening to this. My name’s Michael LeBlanc, podcaster, consumer growth consultant, and today very happy to be guest host on the RETHINK Retail podcast. And I’m here with my very special guest, Zach Fishbain. How are you, Zach?

Zach Fishbain:
Michael, I’m doing fantastic. Thank you so much for being the guest host today for RETHINK, for inviting me to be part of this amazing platform.

Michael LeBlanc:
For inviting us both. We’re live here at Grocery Shop. Now you rolled off the stage, you’re on the stage, you’re learning lessons, you’re dropping knowledge. I think it was a family event. You got a great new brand, but let’s start at the beginning.

Zach Fishbain:
So I’m Zach Fishbain. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Spread The Love. This is a brand that my wife and I started on our wedding day. We didn’t know it at the time. We started this brand on our wedding day. Back in 2013 when we got married, we gave away jars of homemade peanut butter to our friends and families who came in from all over the country. My wife’s from the Philippines. Before we were married, at her bridal shower, she got this Vitamix blender as her bridal gift from all of her girlfriends.

And we were having all kinds of fun things like the butternut squash soup. I’m a big fan of the milkshakes. We were looking for all these cool reasons and ways to be using this Vitamix. And Val would see me going to the store and coming back with peanut butter, and she would look at the back of the ingredient deck and she would just be like, “What are you eating? Why are you eating hydrogenated or palm oil?” or “Why are you eating this type of sugar or this type of ingredient?” that neither she nor I knew how to pronounce anyway properly.

So she’s like, “Why don’t I just make the peanut butter that you’re going to eat each week?” I’m like, “All right, cool. Let’s do that.” And this is right in the thick of our wedding planning process, and it must have been over one of these breakfasts where we’re having the homemade peanut butter, where we’re like, “Why don’t we make this the wedding gift for our friends?”

And so we called it Spread the Love. We made 150 of these jars. We made it in our Vitamix blender. That took a couple of weeks because the Vitamix blender would keep overheating. And so we could only make about 10 jars at time.

Michael LeBlanc:
I mean, not to get into details, but you’re now making a product. So you do get into the details of manufacturing.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. Well, this is way before manufacturing. This was just like-

Michael LeBlanc:
Kitchen table stuff.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. Kitchen table stuff.

So after we made these jars of peanut butter, we’re like, “All right, we never got to do this again. I’m sure the Vitamix blender will be very grateful.” But sure enough, people were really impressed and inspired and people started asking us right away, “Can I get some for the office? Can I bring some home? Can I have some for myself? I need to send some for a gift.” And we just kept rolling with this partnership and here we are today. My wife just got off the stage. We launched this new product. The audience-

Michael LeBlanc:
Tell me-

Zach Fishbain:
This is our chocolate hazelnut butter, but this is our Nutella alternative. You know what I mean? So this is only five ingredients.

Michael LeBlanc:
So no palmitic acid. I’m suspecting?

Zach Fishbain:
You suspected correctly, good job, Michael.

Michael LeBlanc:
Yeah. Well, little bit… Let’s take a step back. Let’s talk about the core product, right? So listen, you’re disrupting a category. There are natural peanut butters. There are natural spreads. There’s mass market spreads. I mean, it’s a big category though.

Zach Fishbain:
It’s a big category

Michael LeBlanc:
And a big industry. What was your approach and how did you think you could go to market and be successful? So walk me through how you went to market with your product.

Zach Fishbain:
So when we went to market, we had something that was very different than what we have today. When we went to market, we thought that we were going to be the foodies choice. Our first product had cayenne pepper and cacao in it.

Michael LeBlanc:
Kind of the bespoke positioning, Right?

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly.

Michael LeBlanc:
You take the bespoke positioning.

Zach Fishbain:
And we were at the Melrose Place Farmer’s Market back in early 2014, hustling our wares. People were like, “Oh, cool. I like this cinnamon flavor profile. This is good. This is great. Cool.” We realized really quickly that it was not the best use of our time. The hours that it took to set up, break down, the amount of fails, the fees. I was like, you know what? Let’s start getting this into some of the local retail stores. And when we would be doing the demos, people were like, “This is good. This is cool, but can you please do something maybe without the agave? I don’t want added sugar.” Or, “Can you do something without the cinnamon or the cacao? I’m looking for more of a pure flavor profile.” So we were thinking, you know what? Let’s introduce a naked version and we’ll have something for these people when they come and ask for it. Sure enough, that is what made everything else pale in comparison.

Michael LeBlanc:
That became the Pareto’s law product. That was the 80% product. Right?

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. And so we realized, cool. Our value proposition is very clear. Our purpose is very clear now.

Michael LeBlanc:
When you were thinking of grocery distributions, just to talk trade craft here for a bit, were you thinking that the whole foods, the natural goods grocer, were you thinking you might take a crack at the more mainline grocery store?

Zach Fishbain:
So in the beginning, our metric of success, what I thought, was how many doors are we going to get into? How many specialty groceries can we get into” The whole foods, I don’t think Sprouts was around at that time.

Michael LeBlanc:
Did you have a broker helping you with that or-

Zach Fishbain:
No, no-

Michael LeBlanc:
Or you’re knocking on the door yourself?

Zach Fishbain:
We were knocking on our door ourselves. And so we learned very quickly that the grocery retail game is, it’s an expensive game.

Michael LeBlanc:
Listing fees or participation or co-op dollars-

Zach Fishbain:
The distributors, the chargebacks, the TPRs.

Michael LeBlanc:
It’s a big value chain.

Zach Fishbain:
Huge. And so we really made a decision early on to lean into E-commerce.

Michael LeBlanc:
You got both retail and wholesale. That’s smart. Super smart.

Zach Fishbain:
And so we wanted to continue growing this business as a profitable business. And we’ve been profitable since we’ve started.

Michael LeBlanc:
Oh, fantastic.

Zach Fishbain:
And we’ve managed to lean very heavily into E-commerce. And so we’re ubiquitous on amazon.com, on walmart.com. We got our D2C customers off of our website. We work with different online grocers throughout the country. We also work with some more traditional grocers, but we curate them as much as they’re curating us because we want to make sure that we’re investing profits into our biggest areas of growth, which continue to be on E-commerce.

Michael LeBlanc:
Drop some knowledge about that, which I’m sure your wife was doing on the stage, because it’s one thing to get on a big marketplace like a Walmart or an Amazon. It’s another thing to be seen to be successful at being distributed. I mean traditionally, that’s part of the challenge, is you got to spend, it’s not like it’s, if you’re not spending trade dollars, you’re still spending dollars with someone.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. And so we are aggressive with our trade spend on those platforms, especially on Amazon.

Michael LeBlanc:
And that works for you? Find that it-

Zach Fishbain:
It works very effective. It works very well. We’ve discovered our partners at shows like this. It was at Grocery Shop. It was before COVID, certainly. So I guess it would’ve been-

Michael LeBlanc:
Was at 2019, I guess would be?

Zach Fishbain:
I think so. I think it would’ve been Grocery Shop 2019. And we met the agency that we use, or the tool, the platform, if you will, that serves the display ads or helps us identify and purchase the keywords at the right time. So our trade spend is allocated across a few different of those levers with this one company. And-

Michael LeBlanc:
And it’s your wife and yourself, but do you have a team that helps?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. Yeah. We have, there’s five employees.

Michael LeBlanc:
Okay, right on.

Zach Fishbain:
We’re five employees. So it’s my wife, it’s myself. We have a chief operating officer, and we also have a couple people that support the marketing endeavors and initiatives that really my wife hones. So my wife is very responsible for the look, the feel, the overall vision, the-

Michael LeBlanc:
The brand.

Zach Fishbain:
Of the company, the brand. I am very happily operating in the shadows and making sure that the business is sustainable and growing behind the brand.

Michael LeBlanc:
Right on.

Zach Fishbain:
And so we have various business units. Like I mentioned, we have a food service operation, we have our D2C, the E-commerce. We even do some private label for some high-end groceries around the country. So making sure that we have multiple streams of revenue, making sure that we’re always cash flow positive and making sure that our growth is in line with our long-term strategic objectives of being profitable.

Michael LeBlanc:
I want get into the product itself. Let’s start with the core product. What makes it different or special?

Zach Fishbain:
So our flagship product is the organic peanut butter. Single ingredient. There’s no other ingredients. And that in and of itself, is very unique. Most other products have, most other nut butters, have a palm oil in it. It’s because when we grew up, I grew up with Skippy, I grew up with Jif, Peter Pan.

Michael LeBlanc:
Sure.

Zach Fishbain:
And you can stick your knife in that and can go and you can come back and your knife is still sticking and being supported by the density of the nut butter around it. Ours has a much more drizzlable consistency. We’re not using the emulsifier, we’re not using the stabilizer to prevent oil separation. In fact, we celebrate it. If you look, even on our jar, drizzlable consistency, oil separation is totally normal. Exclamation mark. We celebrate that. This is part of-

Michael LeBlanc:
That’s part of the brand, part of the product.

Zach Fishbain:
Part of the brand-

Michael LeBlanc:
And all that stuff.

Zach Fishbain:
Educating customers that this is actually what natural peanut butter tastes like. So I think the natural, I think what sets us apart is, not just the ingredients, it’s the lack of ingredients, to be completely honest.

Michael LeBlanc:
And now in your category, let’s talk about the competitive set. Let’s strip back some of the operating stuff. You’ve got your mass market, CPG products, in the natural area. Do you have a lot of competitors? How do you position yourself?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, of course. Yeah. I mean, we do have a lot of competitors.

Michael LeBlanc:
What is it that makes you stand out in the buyer’s mind? And obviously the taste, I mean, you’re successful and direct to consumer, but as you do these other things, what is it that?

Zach Fishbain:
So there’s two things really, in particular. First of all, we want to want to be very public about our brand story. So Val and I, when we created the wedding, how this all started. Listen, we’re coming up on 10 years of marriage, so we can’t keep talking about the wedding, but we’re celebrating something that really started as a labor of loves.

Michael LeBlanc:
Great origin story.

Zach Fishbain:
It’s a great origin story. And it’s an ever evolving story. We have daughters now. You know what I mean? We have other-

Michael LeBlanc:
Thank you.

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. We got other people in our company that have their families. So it’s a family story that continues to evolve and we invite people to be part of this journey and to be part of this story whenever they can. So the story itself is a big component. And then the flavor profile is also very important. It tastes very clean, it tastes very natural. It’s very high quality. You had a chance to taste this. What did you think about this?

Michael LeBlanc:
Well, yeah, let’s talk about this. The new, the Spread The Love dessert. But I thought it was fantastic. This, what you call, drizzlable?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah.

Michael LeBlanc:
Am I saying that right?

Zach Fishbain:
Drizzlable.

Michael LeBlanc:
Drizzlable.

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. We made it a word. Yeah. So I’m not sure, I don’t know if Webster-

Michael LeBlanc:
I’m going to call it, I’m going to call it spreadable because it’s hard for me to say drizzlable too many times.

Zach Fishbain:
And shareable.

Michael LeBlanc:
And shareable. I like it. But I thought it was fantastic and you call it a dessert butter. I mean, it’s a fantastic positioning. So tell me about the inspiration for this. Was, it’s similar, hey, there’s an opportunity here, we think it’s better.

Zach Fishbain:
So a lot of people, just like the way I grew up with Skippy and Jif and just loving peanut butter the way I thought I loved peanut butter. I myself, and our customers were obviously looking for a better alternative. People who really love Nutella, like the way it tastes, don’t love the way that it’s been produced with everything in there. So we’ve had some of our food service accounts asking like, “Listen, we really don’t want to use this product. We don’t have to. Can, is there something you guys can potentially make?” So we hit the-

Michael LeBlanc:
A little bit of both. So you saw an opportunity, but also the customers were like, had a need.

Zach Fishbain:
We saw an opportunity by listening to our customers. I think that’s what we do as a brand.

Michael LeBlanc:
That’s a great lesson. That’s a great lesson, by the way. For anyone-

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, it’s social listening. I mean-

Michael LeBlanc:
For those listening.

Zach Fishbain:
But that’s how we also started in the very beginning at those very first demos. Think-

Michael LeBlanc:
Your wedding guests, well, you started at the very, very beginning, right?

Zach Fishbain:
The very beginning.

Michael LeBlanc:
Right back to your wedding guests, right? Saying, “Hey, this stuff is really good. You guys might be onto to something.” Right?

Zach Fishbain:
We weren’t trying to push anything on anybody. What we were doing was merely listening to what they were telling us. And so that’s been very central to our company culture. That’s been very central to our mission to deliver premium, quality, healthy boots to as many people as possible. And it’s by listening to them. That’s why we came out with an almond cashew butter, for example. That’s why we came out with a cashew butter. So many of the things that we’re coming out with is because we’re listening to what people are telling us and communicating to us. Our customers are everything to us. We wouldn’t be here without them. And they continue to be our source of inspiration, whether it’s on the food service side, individual customers, we’re here just to listen really.

Michael LeBlanc:
Fantastic. Well, last question for you. What’s next? I mean, that’s a funny question for you because you’ve already got something what’s next? You got a great new product. But what’s next? Drop some hints on where you’re headed with the business.

Zach Fishbain:
So I think in the next six to 12 months, it’s going to be an interesting set of variables we navigate with this inflationary storm, if you will. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the economy. I know that we’re going to definitely be pushing and promoting this with all our influencer partners. There’s a couple other product formats we’re really excited to introduce our assortment with. There’s some new additions we’re looking forward to, including into our assortment, I should say. And really looking to continue to build and lean into the food service, the E-commerce, and-

Michael LeBlanc:
Stay agile because we don’t know what’s coming, right?

Zach Fishbain:
We don’t have to. And that’s one of the benefits of being a self-funded company. You know what I mean? That’s been a very deliberate decision. We’re a profitable company. We’re also completely self-funded. And that means that we don’t have the pressures of other people thinking that they might know what to do better with our business. We don’t have to deal with it. We know what to do with our business. We’re going to focus on our core competencies, delivering value and quality nut butters to our customers. So that’s going to manifest itself in different ways, but that’s what we’re going to continue doing what we’ve always been doing.

Michael LeBlanc:
And where can the folks listing go to learn more about the company, maybe even pick up some of your wonderful product?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, no doubt. So spreadthelovefoods.com. It’s the best way to definitely learn about the story and the product assortment. And people ask, “Where can I get it?” Well, do you got internet? If you got a phone, off our website, and amazon.com, obviously, and walmart.com, as well.

Michael LeBlanc:
All right, big partners. Congratulations on your success. Thanks for joining me on the RETHINK Podcast.

Zach Fishbain:
Hey, thank you so much.

Michael LeBlanc:
I wish you much continued success and great to meet you.

Zach Fishbain:
Cheers. Thank you so much.

Gabriella Bock:
Thank you for listening to the RETHINK Retail podcast. Don’t forget to join us next week for another episode. And if you’re interested in being a guest on the show, apply at rethink.industries/podcastguest. That’s rethink.industries/podcastguest. Follow us on Twitter at rethink_retail and show us some love by subscribing reviewing on iTunes podcast app.

 

Michael LeBlanc:
Well, good afternoon, good evening, or good morning, whenever you’re listening to this. My name’s Michael LeBlanc, podcaster, consumer growth consultant, and today very happy to be guest host on the RETHINK Retail podcast. And I’m here with my very special guest, Zach Fishbain. How are you, Zach?

Zach Fishbain:
Michael, I’m doing fantastic. Thank you so much for being the guest host today for RETHINK, for inviting me to be part of this amazing platform.

Michael LeBlanc:
For inviting us both. We’re live here at Grocery Shop. Now you rolled off the stage, you’re on the stage, you’re learning lessons, you’re dropping knowledge. I think it was a family event. You got a great new brand, but let’s start at the beginning.

Zach Fishbain:
So I’m Zach Fishbain. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Spread The Love. This is a brand that my wife and I started on our wedding day. We didn’t know it at the time. We started this brand on our wedding day. Back in 2013 when we got married, we gave away jars of homemade peanut butter to our friends and families who came in from all over the country. My wife’s from the Philippines. Before we were married, at her bridal shower, she got this Vitamix blender as her bridal gift from all of her girlfriends.

And we were having all kinds of fun things like the butternut squash soup. I’m a big fan of the milkshakes. We were looking for all these cool reasons and ways to be using this Vitamix. And Val would see me going to the store and coming back with peanut butter, and she would look at the back of the ingredient deck and she would just be like, “What are you eating? Why are you eating hydrogenated or palm oil?” or “Why are you eating this type of sugar or this type of ingredient?” that neither she nor I knew how to pronounce anyway properly.

So she’s like, “Why don’t I just make the peanut butter that you’re going to eat each week?” I’m like, “All right, cool. Let’s do that.” And this is right in the thick of our wedding planning process, and it must have been over one of these breakfasts where we’re having the homemade peanut butter, where we’re like, “Why don’t we make this the wedding gift for our friends?”

And so we called it Spread the Love. We made 150 of these jars. We made it in our Vitamix blender. That took a couple of weeks because the Vitamix blender would keep overheating. And so we could only make about 10 jars at time.

Michael LeBlanc:
I mean, not to get into details, but you’re now making a product. So you do get into the details of manufacturing.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. Well, this is way before manufacturing. This was just like-

Michael LeBlanc:
Kitchen table stuff.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. Kitchen table stuff.

So after we made these jars of peanut butter, we’re like, “All right, we never got to do this again. I’m sure the Vitamix blender will be very grateful.” But sure enough, people were really impressed and inspired and people started asking us right away, “Can I get some for the office? Can I bring some home? Can I have some for myself? I need to send some for a gift.” And we just kept rolling with this partnership and here we are today. My wife just got off the stage. We launched this new product. The audience-

Michael LeBlanc:
Tell me-

Zach Fishbain:
This is our chocolate hazelnut butter, but this is our Nutella alternative. You know what I mean? So this is only five ingredients.

Michael LeBlanc:
So no palmitic acid. I’m suspecting?

Zach Fishbain:
You suspected correctly, good job, Michael.

Michael LeBlanc:
Yeah. Well, little bit… Let’s take a step back. Let’s talk about the core product, right? So listen, you’re disrupting a category. There are natural peanut butters. There are natural spreads. There’s mass market spreads. I mean, it’s a big category though.

Zach Fishbain:
It’s a big category

Michael LeBlanc:
And a big industry. What was your approach and how did you think you could go to market and be successful? So walk me through how you went to market with your product.

Zach Fishbain:
So when we went to market, we had something that was very different than what we have today. When we went to market, we thought that we were going to be the foodies choice. Our first product had cayenne pepper and cacao in it.

Michael LeBlanc:
Kind of the bespoke positioning, Right?

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly.

Michael LeBlanc:
You take the bespoke positioning.

Zach Fishbain:
And we were at the Melrose Place Farmer’s Market back in early 2014, hustling our wares. People were like, “Oh, cool. I like this cinnamon flavor profile. This is good. This is great. Cool.” We realized really quickly that it was not the best use of our time. The hours that it took to set up, break down, the amount of fails, the fees. I was like, you know what? Let’s start getting this into some of the local retail stores. And when we would be doing the demos, people were like, “This is good. This is cool, but can you please do something maybe without the agave? I don’t want added sugar.” Or, “Can you do something without the cinnamon or the cacao? I’m looking for more of a pure flavor profile.” So we were thinking, you know what? Let’s introduce a naked version and we’ll have something for these people when they come and ask for it. Sure enough, that is what made everything else pale in comparison.

Michael LeBlanc:
That became the Pareto’s law product. That was the 80% product. Right?

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. And so we realized, cool. Our value proposition is very clear. Our purpose is very clear now.

Michael LeBlanc:
When you were thinking of grocery distributions, just to talk trade craft here for a bit, were you thinking that the whole foods, the natural goods grocer, were you thinking you might take a crack at the more mainline grocery store?

Zach Fishbain:
So in the beginning, our metric of success, what I thought, was how many doors are we going to get into? How many specialty groceries can we get into” The whole foods, I don’t think Sprouts was around at that time.

Michael LeBlanc:
Did you have a broker helping you with that or-

Zach Fishbain:
No, no-

Michael LeBlanc:
Or you’re knocking on the door yourself?

Zach Fishbain:
We were knocking on our door ourselves. And so we learned very quickly that the grocery retail game is, it’s an expensive game.

Michael LeBlanc:
Listing fees or participation or co-op dollars-

Zach Fishbain:
The distributors, the chargebacks, the TPRs.

Michael LeBlanc:
It’s a big value chain.

Zach Fishbain:
Huge. And so we really made a decision early on to lean into E-commerce.

Michael LeBlanc:
You got both retail and wholesale. That’s smart. Super smart.

Zach Fishbain:
And so we wanted to continue growing this business as a profitable business. And we’ve been profitable since we’ve started.

Michael LeBlanc:
Oh, fantastic.

Zach Fishbain:
And we’ve managed to lean very heavily into E-commerce. And so we’re ubiquitous on amazon.com, on walmart.com. We got our D2C customers off of our website. We work with different online grocers throughout the country. We also work with some more traditional grocers, but we curate them as much as they’re curating us because we want to make sure that we’re investing profits into our biggest areas of growth, which continue to be on E-commerce.

Michael LeBlanc:
Drop some knowledge about that, which I’m sure your wife was doing on the stage, because it’s one thing to get on a big marketplace like a Walmart or an Amazon. It’s another thing to be seen to be successful at being distributed. I mean traditionally, that’s part of the challenge, is you got to spend, it’s not like it’s, if you’re not spending trade dollars, you’re still spending dollars with someone.

Zach Fishbain:
Exactly. And so we are aggressive with our trade spend on those platforms, especially on Amazon.

Michael LeBlanc:
And that works for you? Find that it-

Zach Fishbain:
It works very effective. It works very well. We’ve discovered our partners at shows like this. It was at Grocery Shop. It was before COVID, certainly. So I guess it would’ve been-

Michael LeBlanc:
Was at 2019, I guess would be?

Zach Fishbain:
I think so. I think it would’ve been Grocery Shop 2019. And we met the agency that we use, or the tool, the platform, if you will, that serves the display ads or helps us identify and purchase the keywords at the right time. So our trade spend is allocated across a few different of those levers with this one company. And-

Michael LeBlanc:
And it’s your wife and yourself, but do you have a team that helps?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. Yeah. We have, there’s five employees.

Michael LeBlanc:
Okay, right on.

Zach Fishbain:
We’re five employees. So it’s my wife, it’s myself. We have a chief operating officer, and we also have a couple people that support the marketing endeavors and initiatives that really my wife hones. So my wife is very responsible for the look, the feel, the overall vision, the-

Michael LeBlanc:
The brand.

Zach Fishbain:
Of the company, the brand. I am very happily operating in the shadows and making sure that the business is sustainable and growing behind the brand.

Michael LeBlanc:
Right on.

Zach Fishbain:
And so we have various business units. Like I mentioned, we have a food service operation, we have our D2C, the E-commerce. We even do some private label for some high-end groceries around the country. So making sure that we have multiple streams of revenue, making sure that we’re always cash flow positive and making sure that our growth is in line with our long-term strategic objectives of being profitable.

Michael LeBlanc:
I want get into the product itself. Let’s start with the core product. What makes it different or special?

Zach Fishbain:
So our flagship product is the organic peanut butter. Single ingredient. There’s no other ingredients. And that in and of itself, is very unique. Most other products have, most other nut butters, have a palm oil in it. It’s because when we grew up, I grew up with Skippy, I grew up with Jif, Peter Pan.

Michael LeBlanc:
Sure.

Zach Fishbain:
And you can stick your knife in that and can go and you can come back and your knife is still sticking and being supported by the density of the nut butter around it. Ours has a much more drizzlable consistency. We’re not using the emulsifier, we’re not using the stabilizer to prevent oil separation. In fact, we celebrate it. If you look, even on our jar, drizzlable consistency, oil separation is totally normal. Exclamation mark. We celebrate that. This is part of-

Michael LeBlanc:
That’s part of the brand, part of the product.

Zach Fishbain:
Part of the brand-

Michael LeBlanc:
And all that stuff.

Zach Fishbain:
Educating customers that this is actually what natural peanut butter tastes like. So I think the natural, I think what sets us apart is, not just the ingredients, it’s the lack of ingredients, to be completely honest.

Michael LeBlanc:
And now in your category, let’s talk about the competitive set. Let’s strip back some of the operating stuff. You’ve got your mass market, CPG products, in the natural area. Do you have a lot of competitors? How do you position yourself?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, of course. Yeah. I mean, we do have a lot of competitors.

Michael LeBlanc:
What is it that makes you stand out in the buyer’s mind? And obviously the taste, I mean, you’re successful and direct to consumer, but as you do these other things, what is it that?

Zach Fishbain:
So there’s two things really, in particular. First of all, we want to want to be very public about our brand story. So Val and I, when we created the wedding, how this all started. Listen, we’re coming up on 10 years of marriage, so we can’t keep talking about the wedding, but we’re celebrating something that really started as a labor of loves.

Michael LeBlanc:
Great origin story.

Zach Fishbain:
It’s a great origin story. And it’s an ever evolving story. We have daughters now. You know what I mean? We have other-

Michael LeBlanc:
Thank you.

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. We got other people in our company that have their families. So it’s a family story that continues to evolve and we invite people to be part of this journey and to be part of this story whenever they can. So the story itself is a big component. And then the flavor profile is also very important. It tastes very clean, it tastes very natural. It’s very high quality. You had a chance to taste this. What did you think about this?

Michael LeBlanc:
Well, yeah, let’s talk about this. The new, the Spread The Love dessert. But I thought it was fantastic. This, what you call, drizzlable?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah.

Michael LeBlanc:
Am I saying that right?

Zach Fishbain:
Drizzlable.

Michael LeBlanc:
Drizzlable.

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah. We made it a word. Yeah. So I’m not sure, I don’t know if Webster-

Michael LeBlanc:
I’m going to call it, I’m going to call it spreadable because it’s hard for me to say drizzlable too many times.

Zach Fishbain:
And shareable.

Michael LeBlanc:
And shareable. I like it. But I thought it was fantastic and you call it a dessert butter. I mean, it’s a fantastic positioning. So tell me about the inspiration for this. Was, it’s similar, hey, there’s an opportunity here, we think it’s better.

Zach Fishbain:
So a lot of people, just like the way I grew up with Skippy and Jif and just loving peanut butter the way I thought I loved peanut butter. I myself, and our customers were obviously looking for a better alternative. People who really love Nutella, like the way it tastes, don’t love the way that it’s been produced with everything in there. So we’ve had some of our food service accounts asking like, “Listen, we really don’t want to use this product. We don’t have to. Can, is there something you guys can potentially make?” So we hit the-

Michael LeBlanc:
A little bit of both. So you saw an opportunity, but also the customers were like, had a need.

Zach Fishbain:
We saw an opportunity by listening to our customers. I think that’s what we do as a brand.

Michael LeBlanc:
That’s a great lesson. That’s a great lesson, by the way. For anyone-

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, it’s social listening. I mean-

Michael LeBlanc:
For those listening.

Zach Fishbain:
But that’s how we also started in the very beginning at those very first demos. Think-

Michael LeBlanc:
Your wedding guests, well, you started at the very, very beginning, right?

Zach Fishbain:
The very beginning.

Michael LeBlanc:
Right back to your wedding guests, right? Saying, “Hey, this stuff is really good. You guys might be onto to something.” Right?

Zach Fishbain:
We weren’t trying to push anything on anybody. What we were doing was merely listening to what they were telling us. And so that’s been very central to our company culture. That’s been very central to our mission to deliver premium, quality, healthy boots to as many people as possible. And it’s by listening to them. That’s why we came out with an almond cashew butter, for example. That’s why we came out with a cashew butter. So many of the things that we’re coming out with is because we’re listening to what people are telling us and communicating to us. Our customers are everything to us. We wouldn’t be here without them. And they continue to be our source of inspiration, whether it’s on the food service side, individual customers, we’re here just to listen really.

Michael LeBlanc:
Fantastic. Well, last question for you. What’s next? I mean, that’s a funny question for you because you’ve already got something what’s next? You got a great new product. But what’s next? Drop some hints on where you’re headed with the business.

Zach Fishbain:
So I think in the next six to 12 months, it’s going to be an interesting set of variables we navigate with this inflationary storm, if you will. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the economy. I know that we’re going to definitely be pushing and promoting this with all our influencer partners. There’s a couple other product formats we’re really excited to introduce our assortment with. There’s some new additions we’re looking forward to, including into our assortment, I should say. And really looking to continue to build and lean into the food service, the E-commerce, and-

Michael LeBlanc:
Stay agile because we don’t know what’s coming, right?

Zach Fishbain:
We don’t have to. And that’s one of the benefits of being a self-funded company. You know what I mean? That’s been a very deliberate decision. We’re a profitable company. We’re also completely self-funded. And that means that we don’t have the pressures of other people thinking that they might know what to do better with our business. We don’t have to deal with it. We know what to do with our business. We’re going to focus on our core competencies, delivering value and quality nut butters to our customers. So that’s going to manifest itself in different ways, but that’s what we’re going to continue doing what we’ve always been doing.

Michael LeBlanc:
And where can the folks listing go to learn more about the company, maybe even pick up some of your wonderful product?

Zach Fishbain:
Yeah, no doubt. So spreadthelovefoods.com. It’s the best way to definitely learn about the story and the product assortment. And people ask, “Where can I get it?” Well, do you got internet? If you got a phone, off our website, and amazon.com, obviously, and walmart.com, as well.

Michael LeBlanc:
All right, big partners. Congratulations on your success. Thanks for joining me on the RETHINK Podcast.

Zach Fishbain:
Hey, thank you so much.

Michael LeBlanc:
I wish you much continued success and great to meet you.

Zach Fishbain:
Cheers. Thank you so much.

Gabriella Bock:
Thank you for listening to the RETHINK Retail podcast. Don’t forget to join us next week for another episode. And if you’re interested in being a guest on the show, apply at rethink.industries/podcastguest. That’s rethink.industries/podcastguest. Follow us on Twitter at rethink_retail and show us some love by subscribing reviewing on iTunes podcast app.