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Eliminating waste in the banana fields where their products are sourced is important to Nik Ingersoll, cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer of Barnana. With is co-funders with Caue Suplicy and Matt Clifford Barnana has taken the organic snack market by storm. Barnana is a healthy organic banana snack with flavors like coconut/banana, banana chocolate and many more. They are in over 5000 stores including Safeway and Whole Foods and are in the US, Japan, Canada and Australia. There company is on a mission to end food waste at banana farms.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:10] Jeremy’s introduction to this episode of the podcast with Nik Ingersoll.
  • [2:03] How Nik and the company got into Japan and Australia.
  • [6:04] The use of bananas and the company’s approach to utilize more (less waste).
  • [9:19] Guerrilla marketing busts and booms.
  • [12:11] Utilizing relationships from Expos and events.
  • [15:38] Scrambling to meet the demand once Whole Foods was a reality.
  • [18:14] The process of finding the right suppliers and distributors.
  • [27:10] Nik’s prior work as a ranch hand.
  • [29:10] Growing up in Nebraska.
  • [33:41] How Nik met his co-founders in college.
  • [37:41] What the initial products looked like.
  • [40:06] The biggest challenges from the manufacturing side of things.
  • [50:10] Attracting a high level advisory board.
  • [53:45] The milestones that propelled the business forward and navigating the financing.
  • [1:03:10] The choice to be certified organic.
  • [1:07:40] Nik’s lowest moment in business so far and how he pushed through.
  • [1:10:48] Some of the proudest moments Nik has experienced.

In this episode…

Food waste is a monumental problem in all areas of the food industry. Much of it exists because the companies that are creating food products don’t pay attention to the places in their supply and distribution chain that cause the issues. Nik Ingersoll and the team at Barnana have made the issue of food waste one of their top priorities, examining everything from sourcing to shipping to eliminate food waste in their company.

Nik and his co-founders at Barnana noticed that many of the bananas used to source their products were wasted, in large part because companies that use bananas only wanted certain sizes or types of bananas, so those that don’t meet the requirements are rejected and left to rot. Nik and his partners decided that they could find ways to utilize those waste bananas and Barnana was born. You can hear the Barnana story on this episode of Inspired Insider.

One of the turning points for the Barnana team was when the contact was made and the contract was signed with Whole Foods. It was a powerful push forward but didn’t happen without its problems. The team had to scramble to find the necessary funding to enable them to produce the products to fill the Whole Foods order, but once it was done they had the account rolling and were able to use profits to build the business from there.

One of the reasons that things like certified organic status and non-waste of food matters to Nik Ingersoll is because he grew up in a farming community in Nebraska. He realized at an early age that the pesticides sprayed on crops were not a good thing in the long run, especially since the water table where he lived was near the surface. So when it came time to build the products for the Barnana brand, Nik was convinced that they had to take the high road.

When you run a business you can’t live inside a bubble. The normal difficulties and losses of everyday life still affect you even though you have to continue producing in the business. One of the difficulties Nik had to face was the loss of his father. You can hear how he weathered the storm and the impact it continues to have on him daily by listening to this episode.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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