Members, Supporters, and Friends of PBFA,

As a Founding Board Member who has been committed to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) since its inception, I am so happy to be writing to you today as the newly elected President of the PBFA Board of Directors. For the past decade, my life has been committed to fostering growth and collaboration within our industry and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to facilitate this work in new ways. As part of a plant-based business in my daily role as Vice President of Upton’s Naturals, I share in much of what our members experience and what obstacles are surmounted in the work we do, as I continue to walk this road with all of you. 

2020 has been a challenging year for so many of us, personally and professionally. Despite these hardships, I have been inspired by the dedication, resourcefulness, resilience, and compassion of our members. The continued growth of our industry can be attributed largely to you and your resilience. PBFA’s ongoing Member Solutions calls have been places where you are sharing both your successes and struggles. They have served as a reminder of how now, more than ever we are all connected through this shared experience. The power of this community cannot be understated. As we move into a new year with new goals, PBFA will continue the work of not only addressing these current challenges, but also actively looking ahead to remove obstructions down the road. One of those projects is happening now in Oklahoma where PBFA and Upton’s Naturals are co-plaintiffs in a fight against unfair labeling laws that will affect member companies making meat alternatives. By challenging and being proactive against these unjust laws early, we are hoping to create an easier path forward for the entire industry. 

We currently find ourselves at a place of transition within our organization and in our industry. As awareness of, and demand for, plant-based foods continues to grow, PBFA stands ready to support that growth. The PBFA board has been working to find the right leader to help drive this progress in PBFA’s next chapter, and I am thrilled about the slate of candidates we are currently evaluating. We expect to have this position filled in Q1 and look forward to sharing that announcement with you. This year is going to be an exciting one for expanding our programs and relationships. In the meantime, PBFA’s talented team of experts are committed to continuing to advance our work with retailers, e-commerce, foodservice, distribution, and lawmakers and regulators. I am happy to have the opportunity to work with them more closely in these endeavors.

I want to also take a moment to acknowledge both the continuing and incoming board members, some of whom I have worked with for a very long time, and all of whom I will have the good fortune of working with more closely in the coming year. This dedicated group of volunteers, each coming from one of PBFA’s own member companies, exists largely behind the scenes in supporting the success and execution of an association that is both by, and for, our members. Each representative on the board comes in with the responsibility and intention of representing the best interests of all member companies and I can say that it is genuinely for all of you that their efforts are made. As our organization has expanded from the initial 23 founding members to a total of 180 today, this responsibility only continues to grow.

PBFA was established to be, and remains, an organization that exists for you and for the growth and success of this industry in support of your work. I am committed to uplifting your voices, hearing your perspectives, and doing all that I can to facilitate continuing to create an organization, community, and system that supports all that you are doing.

I wish you all the best in the new year- may it bring more joy and growth to us all. 

With gratitude,

Nicole Sopko
Board President
Plant Based Foods Association