The PBFA team was thrilled to gather with our members at the fourth annual Reducetarian Summit in San Francisco on May 12-14, 2022. The summit aims to bring together a variety of perspectives and backgrounds from all corners of the world to explore how to reduce societal consumption of animal products. As we know, the impact of industrial animal agriculture on the planet, people, and animals is one of the most pressing matters of our time. Industry leaders from a wide array of backgrounds in the food industry, media, animal and environmental advocacy, and more came together at the summit to discuss potential solutions, opportunities for collaboration, and proactive steps that can be taken to facilitate a shift away from animal-based foods. 

We are proud to share that a number of PBFA members participated in sessions, sharing their thought-leadership and strategy insights. Takoua Debeche of Danone North America spoke on how companies can play a role in transforming the marketplace to promote more plant-based foods; Julie Kunen from Oatly participated in a panel on Conscious Capitalism discussing how to influence plant-based choices for employers, employees, and consumers. Sarah-Marie Cole from MyForest Foods discussed fermentation technology and how it can be leveraged to elevate plant-based foods. PBFA’s Federal Policy Consultant Bev Paul provided insight into efforts to advance plant-based foods on a political stage and PBFA Advisor David Meyer spoke on a panel discussing how funders are approaching philanthropy.

With so much discussion around the significant environmental and social benefits of plant-based foods it was no surprise that from the welcome reception to the closing remarks, the catering showcased an incredible variety of delicious plant-based foods. The event also would not have been complete without a sampling of plant-based brands. The PBFA team enjoyed having a chance to connect with members such as Lupii, No Evil Foods, My Forest Foods, Danone, Atlantic Natural Foods, Kitchentown, and Oatly to try their delicious foods. 

Member Networking at the PBFA Luncheon

Ahead of the summit, PBFA organized a networking lunch for members who would be attending the event. Meeting in person for the first time in many months, the event allowed for the PBFA team and members were able to idea share, build authentic connection, and engage in meaningful dialogue around a table filled with incredible plant-based food from Wildseed. 

While PBFA has over 350 members who offer a variety of foods and services, the common thread that connects them all is the desire to be a part of a larger whole, working to provide plant-based foods to consumers who want them. 

“The networking event was intimate and impactful, and I was able to meet some amazing pioneers in the Plant-Based Food industry,” said GW Chew, Founder and CEO of Something Better Foods and PBFA board member. “The conversation sparked a light in my brain to think deeper about my mission and vision as a company. I see an amazing opportunity for PBFA to curate more of these gatherings to inspire collaboration within our industry.”

Sharing a common mission, PBFA members who attended found themselves sharing solutions and opportunities with other companies:

“The PBFA event was super. We reconnected with colleagues and made new connections,” said Rusty Schwartz, founder and CEO of Kitchentown. “A highlight for me was an inspiring conversation with Chef GW Chew about common areas of interest that could well lead to business opportunities for both of our companies. Impromptu meetings like the PBFA lunch are perfect opportunities to make connections, start conversations and get inspired!”

The event also offered an opportunity for brands in the same category to discuss strategies to message their foods in a consistent way to further the strength of plant-based messaging. 

Sri Artham, founder of Hooray Foods shared: “One thing I love about the plant-based industry is everyone sees this as a community effort, and rather than seeing one another as competitors we see ourselves as allies. Case in point, I had the opportunity to sit next to Sarah-Marie Cole, the CMO of MyForest–we both make some of the best plant-based bacon out there. Rather than hold our cards close, we discussed the question of the best terminology to use for the sort of bacon that Oscar Meyer, Smithfields, and others sell. Real bacon, conventional bacon, and animal bacon all didn’t feel right, so we agreed to use the term ‘pork bacon.’ What could be more clear to all sorts of consumers?”

Sarah-Marie Cole, CMO MyForest Foods echoed the sentiment, stating: “It was energizing to be surrounded with passionate people who are working on similar missions for a better (and tastier) planet. I was thrilled to meet Sri Artham, the founder of Hooray Foods, as we are both making a meatless bacon product. We totally jived on our consumer education and communications plans! I can’t wait for the next event to continue these important conversations.”  

The collective spirit of the event did not end with lunch, however, as the Kitchentown team gave a tour of their facility, so the PBFA team could learn more about their work helping plant-based food companies scale production.

The PBFA team strives to foster connection across our membership and we look forward to more opportunities to do so in the coming months and beyond. 

To learn more about joining PBFA and upcoming network opportunities, click here