Ep. 6: Decarbonizing with Data with Tanvi Patel of SPINS

In this episode Keith is joined by Tanvi Patel, Senior Data Analyst for Climate and Sustainability Data at SPINS. SPINS is a data technology company specializing in wellness, health, beauty, food, and beverage, at the heart of where innovation meets sustainability. In this episode, we delve into Tanvi’s unique career journey, which beautifully intersects retail data, consumer packaged goods (CPG), and the pressing issue of climate change. We explore the remarkable framework developed by Tanvi and SPINS to enrich the SPINS product intelligence suite, unveiling the invaluable insights it offers to brands and retailers. Join us as we uncover the trends and transformative potential that lie at this powerful intersection. 

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Welcome to Decarbonizing Commerce, where we explore what’s new, interesting, and actionable at the intersection of climate innovation and commerce. I’m your host, Keith Anderson, and together we’ll meet entrepreneurs and innovators reinventing retail, e commerce, and consumer products through the lenses of low carbon and commercial viability.

Keith Anderson: Hi, and welcome to the Decarbonizing Commerce Podcast. I’m your host, Keith Anderson, and I’m really excited for today’s guest, Tanvi Patel, who is Senior Data Analyst for Climate and Sustainability Data at SPINS, a data technology company helping brands and retailers in the wellness, health and beauty, food and beverage, and adjacent spaces.

When I found Tanvi, I had to meet her because her career sits at the intersection of three topics that are near and dear to my heart and my career. Retail data, CPG, and now climate and we talk about the framework that she and SPINS are using to develop attributes and append them to the SPINS product intelligence suite, who’s using that data and how they’re using it, and some of the trends that she sees on the horizon.

I really enjoyed meeting her and covering some of her work, and I think you will too. So here’s Tanvi Patel.

Tanvi, it’s great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us for the show.

Tanvi Patel: Thanks, Keith, thanks for having me.

Keith Anderson: Well, I think to kick us off, it would be great to learn more about your career trajectory and trajectory and especially the work you’re doing now with SPINS.

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. So to give you a quick background on myself. So I’m from Phoenix, Arizona. And I’ve always been interested in sustainability and the environmental space. I went to school at Arizona State University, which was really lucky. It’s I believe it was one of the first undergraduate programs for sustainability in the country and it happened to be in my home state, so that was really cool.

Love the program and I decided I wanted to add more of a business context to what I was learning, more generally in sustainability. So, decided to add a supply chain management degree as well. And just fell in love with sustainability. I did some consulting work in undergrad. I interned for a company working on, circular packaging and recycled packaging for them, as well as shaping their sustainability strategy.

And then, after college, I went to work. At Gatorade, so working with PepsiCo at the Gatorade production facility, which was more of a supply chain role, but definitely incorporated elements of sustainability into that. So, I was measuring greenhouse gas emissions for them for EPA reporting. I did a water conservation project, and also worked on their Zero Waste to Landfill goals.

From there I went to work at a company called Chicken of the Sea, it’s a seafood company. I actually did supply planning for them, so kind of shifted back to more of the supply chain management side of things, but still always had that really strong interest in, in sustainability, and was able to work on packaging and initiatives wherever I could.

I did some consulting in there as well for Beauty for All Industries, now called IPSY, doing some life cycle analysis stuff for them. And that is what brought me to my current role. So, I’ve been with SPINS now for six months. I’m the Senior Data Analyst in Climate and Sustainability for them and, I think it just perfectly combines everything I love about this industry. I’m able to work with product data, and consumer brands. And really empower brands in the sustainability space to grow sales if they’re doing innovative things, but also to empower them to work on more sustainability initiatives, we know that consumers care more than ever about sustainability and that’s proven not to just be a trend even through inflationary times and through COVID, it’s something that people are really, putting their dollars behind, so, yeah, I’m excited for what I’m able to do in this role and excited to get into it with you.

Keith Anderson: When I saw your background, your career sort of sits at the intersection of three topics that I have a deep interest in CPG, sustainability, and product data. So I thought, boy, I’ve got to meet Tanvi and learn more. For those that may not be familiar with SPINS, can you just describe a bit more about the company and unpack some of the data that you work with?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, definitely. So, SPINS is a, basically a retail data company, so we provide product data, for a huge number of products, about 3 million products, 3 million UPCs and counting, we’re always adding to that, mostly in the health and wellness space, and I’ll get into that a little bit later, so, basically anything you’d buy at the grocery store, mostly food and bev, but also health and beauty, vitamins, supplements, things like that. We are taking in all that information, all those data points, so we’re looking at ingredient statements, nutrition fact panel, data, certifications, claims, even like the romance copy, so the little advertising language that’s on package, plus things like pack type or container material.

Basically aggregating all of that, and then overlaying our product intelligence on top of it. So, we have a very intelligent and educated team of product intelligence R&D people, that are subject matter experts in their area, from nutrition to areas like climate sustainability, which is what I do.

So, not only are we looking at things like claims and certifications, we’re able to develop really complex attribution around that. And I can also talk to you about how we get some of that data. So, we get data from a couple of different areas. Either directly through partnerships that we have with retailers.

And a lot of our partnerships I’ll also mention. So, we have tens of thousands of exclusive retailer partnerships. [Note: Tanvi later clarified that she misspoke here; SPINS has hundreds of retailer and brand clients.]

Mostly with brands that are, in the health and wellness space. So natural channels, regional channels, really because these brands are usually innovative and smaller. And so we’re trying to, catch them where in that startup phase, where our data will be the most useful to them.

And so going back to where we get that data from, so we get it directly from retailers and brands. We also have a partnership with Circana, formerly IRI, where we get sales data and volume data from them. And then, we also recently acquired a company called Pinto. And Pinto is really cool. So what we’re able to do with Pinto is take images, high quality images of the product and just pull all the data off of that product.

So all the information and data I mentioned before, ingredients, labels, etc. We’re able to do it automatically and at scale. And so, directly from product images, from retailers and brands, through our partnerships and then finally, we also have partnerships with certifying bodies, so certifiers like Regenerative Organic Alliance, Non-GMO Project, we partner directly with them and are able to get UPC lists directly from them.

So another really key area of our framework that I’m pretty excited about is our circular packaging attributes. So circular packaging or sustainable packaging, basically packaging that’s not, that’s not designed to end up in a landfill. It’s something that is very top of mind for consumers. I think the latest stat I read is that 55 percent of consumers are very, or extremely concerned with the environmental impact of packaging.

So we know it’s definitely something that they’re looking for when they’re searching for products and for sustainable products. And so within our framework, we also have a suite of circular packaging attributes. So that can be things like recycled packaging, packaging made from recycled materials or bio based materials, compostable, refillable, et cetera.

So that is another aspect of sustainability that we’re identifying as. Something that’s important and something that we can track in our data as well. So we have a number of, attributes within that area. So consumers can, sorry, so brands can look at things like container type, container material.

And, with our data automation process, we can evaluate if the main component of a packaging is recyclable or compostable or something like that. So they’re able to track against their own packaging goals. Benchmarking, bidentifying opportunities, all of those things that you can do with the rest of our attributes.

Keith Anderson: are you parsing some of those terms? And I’m no level of mine expert, but my growing sense is, like with organic before it and other claims, there’s not exact standardization or consensus on what some of those terms mean.

So, what kind of complexity does that create for you?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, that’s a very good point. We are, so not only are we capturing what. It says on the package. We know that a lot of those claims can be false sometimes. Sometimes you see it says recyclable and it’s not actually recyclable. In your municipality, or it requires you to take the package into a store drop off, or some sort of other recycling program, right?

So there’s a lot of confusing messages in the recycling space. Our approach has been to go with kind of the industry accepted standards set by the sustainable packaging coalition, for example. So. Within, like, our recycled packaging attribute, we actually have curbside recyclable and store drop off recyclable, as well as TerraCycle.

TerraCycle is one of those, mail in programs that brands can sign up for, and those difficult to recycle types of packages can be mailed in. And so the way that I designed it was basically if. It is a plastic material and it’s a rigid container that we know that can be recycled in over 60 percent of U.

S. households. We’ll say that it’s curbside recyclable. If it’s an LDPE bag, for example, like a bread bag or something like that, one of those flexible plastic materials, we know that that can be generally recycled when you take it into the store at one of those store drop offs. And so the data that we’re collecting, um.

It is in the process of being automated, but it’s also being coded manually by actual people. So they’re able to look at the product image and put in, what the container material is and the container type. So they can say, it’s glass, it’s a colored glass, or it is, it’s a box or a bag or a rigid kind of container like that.

So using all those data points. We can make a fairly accurate assumption, based on that of how to actually recycle it or if it’s compostable. So with compostable, we’re going with certifications instead of claims. So BPI, for example, is one of the certifications that’s verified by a third party and is going to ensure that it actually is compostable and tested.

Keith Anderson: Yeah, that’s, that’s super interesting. I, I’ve waded into, part of the reason that I started with refillable is it candidly seemed to be the most straightforward of all of the emerging, you know, alternatives to single use plastic, basically, you know, not a lot of debate or controversy over what refillable is, ton of debate and controversy over when it makes sense and what are the economics like and, but it, it’s not sort of stuck in a discussion of who should be able to say package is refillable?. That said, it, it is pretty interesting to me that you’ve got more of a fact based approach to identifying packaging at that level. I’m not going to name names, but there’s a large U. S. based mass retailer that has a packaging, and some other claim based, messaging that they’re using both on their site and in some stores to help shoppers find, or in some cases to guide them to products that have many of those, packaging types that you just listed.

And because we’ve been doing all this work on refill, I was looking for examples for the report that we’re working on, and I go to the section of their site where they let you search your filter and we picked refillable and suffice it to say, it’s not a particularly accurate set of results that you get.

So the intent is there, but it’s actually the second example of product level climate and sustainability related faceted search or other attribute or claim driven discoverability and findability that I’ve seen on e commerce sites for major retailers that is clearly, I would say, quarter baked, it’s not even half baked.

 And, you know, I have to admire the intent, but I think it’s going to take more data like this that is scalable and largely automated. I can totally appreciate the need for human review for near perfect accuracy. But I just think it’s going to be really a key enabler to get that level of granular data at scale, because I think the retailers are showing signs.

They want to help shoppers find products that meet these criteria, but having data that’s up to date and accurate when the suppliers themselves may not yet be reporting it themselves, is challenging.

And in particular with Pinto, are you going beyond what’s observable on the physical package with the attribution that you’re layering in?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely, so we are really trying to create multi layered and dimensional complex attributes. So, some examples of what this means. We have an attribute that is an ancient grains ingredient attribute. So, not only are we looking at the individual ingredients that make up ancient grains, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.

We’re able to say, okay, how do these ingredients appear on the label? Which ingredients actually qualify in the mind of the consumer, in the minds of brands as ancient grains and all the benefits that come with that? So we’re layering on that, that product intelligence.

We can even get more complex. So we have positioning attributes. For example, plant based positioning is a really popular one of ours. So with this attribute, right, the really just straight data approach would be, okay, look at the ingredients in this product. Does it have any animal derived ingredients? No, it’s plant based.

Obviously, that’s going to pull in everything like water or popcorn. Things that just aren’t really valuable as a data point. So our plant based positioning attribute is actually where we’re taking a look at the product, but also the brand and the category that it’s in and understanding beyond the package, looking at their website, looking at their marketing and really all the positioning information to see if it’s a product that’s positioning itself as a plant based alternative to a traditional meat based product, for example.

 So there is a lot of that complexity and dimensionality that we’re adding on top of just the straight data.

Keith Anderson: So the, the point of sale data that you get from cooperating retailers and the Circana partnership really is the starting point to give you a sense of the size of a given market and. Share and how quickly it’s growing and, the, the attribute data really helps you understand that a fairly granular level, what’s driving some of the demand in terms of product characteristics.

Tanvi Patel: Definitely. Yep. And then. What you can do too with, like, the product data is compared against our other attributes. So demographics of the consumer, geographies, sales channels, things like that. Slice it and dice it in every, any way that you want to.

Keith Anderson: Can you tell us more about who is using the data and how they’re using it? Ideally on the retailer and the brand side, I think a lot of data. Like this is often sourced by a consumer and marketplace insights team or similar, so I’m sure they have a seat at the table, but commercially, who else finds this data interesting and what kind of decisions is it informing?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. And I can speak a little more generally or kind of drill down to more of the sustainability and climate attributes,

Keith Anderson: I I think both would be of interest. We can definitely start at a, at a broader level just to contextualize things and then definitely want to get into the climate and sustainability angle.

Tanvi Patel: Cool. Yeah. Yeah. So. The majority of people using our data are people like category managers at retailers, brand managers, there’s also, you know, space for marketing people, sustainability analysts, analysts, when we get more into the sustainability attribution, but there’s a ton of, ton of use cases here, right?

So things like competitive benchmarking, looking at your competitors in your product category. And looking at all that data for your competitors, looking at their sales volume, but also looking at things like what certifications are they using, what label claims, how are they positioning or marketing their products?

To really identify what’s driving sales and growth and how does your product or brand stack up? From a retailer perspective, looking at category management, identifying opportunities, identifying the white space. So, what are the certifications or different product data points that are up and coming and really driving consumer interest?

It’s also a way to inform brands and, different companies on how to innovate. So, what kind of new products can we bring to the market that consumers really care about? Proven by the data. Proven by what is driving sales.

Keith Anderson: And do you have a sense of what cadence people are analyzing this data on, is this data that you look at monthly, quarterly, every day, depending on the use case?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. Our data goes back for years. So, within, like, our dashboard, Satori is, Satori is the, the main software that the users will interact with the data with. And so, they can look at the previous day, the previous week, they can go back several years. It’s really any timeline that they want to.

Keith Anderson: And are they accessing it through a portal, or how, how is the data typically accessed and engaged with?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, so, I mentioned Satori, that’s pretty much our main, software offering. In which, you can go in, you can look at your product data, you can add in all the attributes and just build, like, customized reports depending on what you want to look at. There’s also more of a backend offering. So within our API, you can go in and just directly download whatever data you need, and you can get more access to more data points that way.

Keith Anderson: Got it. You mentioned some of the certifications. Are there examples you can share about, effectiveness or how brands are using data like yours to prioritize among the many certifications they have available?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. So, I kind of mentioned before an example of identifying the white space. Another problem that I see, or another question that I see a lot is brands aren’t really aware of which certifications they should be pursuing. In sustainability, there’s an overwhelming amount of messaging out there, claims, certifications, it’s consuming, it’s confusing for consumers, it can be very confusing for brands as well to understand what they should be prioritizing, and what certifications or what they should be investing in, to gain market share.

And so an example of some cool statistics that we put together with our partnership. So, Regenerative Organic Alliance, is a certifying body that we partner with. They’re doing really great work in setting really stringent criteria for regenerative agriculture. So, for those that don’t know that, know what that means, basically, it goes beyond organic and actually aims to regenerate the soil, so adding nutrients back in, having less emissions.

It’s already organic, so no pesticides. It’s a very holistic and sustainable method of agriculture. And so some statistics around that that we’ve put together for them are, over the past year, there’s been an 821 percent growth in sales for products in the refrigerated yogurt section that have this certification versus ones that don’t, right. So there’s all these examples of how we can see, sales increasing over time. And you can also compare it to different categories. So, milk, for example, regenerative organic in the milk section drives or drove 114 percent growth in the last year. And so the answer to that question of what certification should I go after?

What kind of claim should I go after? is very specific to your product or your product category, so the answer can get very nuanced, but using our data, it’s very easy to see and customize that to exactly what you want to understand and what’s relevant to your brand and your category.

Keith Anderson: I can see how category level and, possibly even custom data ends up being pretty important. Are there syndicated views, that is sort of standard views across categories that you’re producing or publishing for clients or the industry also?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, yeah, so, we definitely have a number of reports, a number of customized reports that we provide, at every level, so, you can go in and build your own reports, but we’re also, releasing white papers, we’re releasing, webinars around the state of plant based dairy, for example, or just these different areas of rising consumer trends, because we’re in this data all the time and we’re constantly understanding what the new trends are and what’s relevant. We’re really well positioned to kind of track these trends and see where the numbers are headed, where the growth is headed.

Keith Anderson: Yeah, I see just an immense volume of survey data, sort of self reported, here’s what people say, they think, feel, and do, but in my experience, the behavioral data that you can get via point of sales in particular, because it’s really post transaction Did you buy or didn’t you buy? It’s a pretty accurate reflection of what’s really performing in the market.

And so I think for that reason, it’s really fascinating to me what kind of climate related attributes are starting to be appended to traditional point of sale data that every brand in retail works with. And I think it’s also sort of entering a vacuum of data that is, performance based and helps the industry.

Make sense of just what, what I think continues to be the Wild West in a sense of labels and certifications. And, I’m curious to get your perspective on, you know, in almost every topic I’m working on. I look at it through two lenses, primarily commercial and climate or sustainability. And so commercially.

It’s clear you’ve got a great lens into what’s performing from a sales and market share and growth perspective. And it sounds like from a climate and sustainability perspective, through some of the underlying ingredient data, you’re able to better understand the relationship between the claims or the certifications and what the product actually is.

Are there other ways that you’re working on or exploring layering in data that links, for example, life cycle analyses or other disclosures or reporting that a company, is obligated or encouraged by their retailers to provide?

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, yeah. Great question. So I’ll kind of start with talking more about our framework around sustainability and what really cool attributes we’re developing right now. And to your earlier point, too, I think that’s a, it’s very true that consumers can say one thing, that they care about shopping one way.

But how they actually behave when they’re in the grocery store can be quite different. So, having this real data behind it to inform business decisions is, is really crucial. And so, talking about the different areas of sustainability and How it’s just this very confusing kind of area since there’s so many different areas and concepts rolled up into it.

We’re developing a framework to really kind of cut through that noise and cut through greenwashing, but also provide more of a standardized approach to segment out the different areas that consumers care about, and the different areas that brands are making sustainability happen in their products.

And so we can attach this in the show notes, I believe so. Just a visual of what our framework looks like. We’ve segmented it into kind of three main pillars and I’ll just walk you through what those look like. And keep in mind that this is both how we’re organizing the different areas of sustainability, but each of these areas is also an advanced attribute as well.

So, you can use it as a brand to understand more generally, do consumers care more about good for the animals, for example, sustainable animal welfare certifications, or do they care more about people centric sort of certifications? And so our three main pillars are animals, people, and planet. And then we have levels of granularity under that.

And these are all driven by label claims and certifications. So, kind of understanding, you know, what I know, what my team knows about all these certifications, which ones actually hold a lot of weight when it comes to sustainability, which ones are more subject to greenwashing, for example. We’re able to organize all of these into these areas.

So, good for animals, we have areas of animal welfare and marine animal welfare, separating seafood versus land based animals. So, certifications that would live under that. would be things like Certified Humane or A Greener World, all those animal welfare certifications rolled up into one animal welfare attribute.

And then things like, Fair Trade or B Corp that would live under the people attribute. So you can get as granular as you want. You can also look at these groupings because these are ways of thinking are different areas of sustainability that consumers care about. Some more examples under the planet bucket, we have, good for environmental.

I guess we have good for production practices. So, like sustainability around production practices, things like zero waste or upcycled foods. We have reduced carbon footprint, so looking at certifications around climate neutrality, carbon zero, and all those different areas, like organic and how that relates to soil conservation or habitat biodiversity.

So that’s kind of our, an overview of our main framework and how we’re approaching it. And then to your point about incorporating some of that deeper data beyond the pack, looking at life cycle analysis, for example, that’s definitely in our roadmap. I think, as time continues on, I think emissions level data will start to surface more for consumers.

And I’m excited to see that happen, at scale. But incorporating things like, what is the water use of this type of product or the carbon emissions of this type of product, understanding that, conventional dairy versus a plant based dairy, there’s going to be an inherent sustainability differences there and how can we create attribution around that, is definitely something that’s, that we’re thinking about.

Keith Anderson: And do you anticipate some of that more granular attribution is going to be used primarily behind the scenes by retailers or brands as they’re making decisions about ingredients or formulation or assortment, or do you think it’s going to eventually show up in shelf communication? You know, you mentioned consumer interest in labeling.

One of the first reports that we worked on at Decarbonizing Commerce is on product level footprinting and carbon labeling and It’s a pretty interesting subject to me simply because it is one of the most obvious ways some of this could show up and in, in a limited number of cases is showing up at the shelf to consumers.

But again, it’s, it’s really the Wild West. There’s different approaches. There’s no standard. It’s not clear if retailers or brands or regulators are going to play the driving role in pushing the industry towards a standard and widespread adoption. So I’m curious to get your view.

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. I think. To answer your question, all of that is a use case for these. I think on the brand and retailer side, as mentioned before, right, identifying opportunities, comparing. What are your competitors doing in this space? Also like internal performance analysis, so looking at, your different categories, looking at your products, and measuring it against internal sustainability benchmarks.

Maybe you want all of your products in a specific meat category to meet the certification or have a certain level of sustainability work being put into it. So I think definitely all those use cases. But I’m also excited to see how this kind of manifests more, but I think there’s a ton of potential on the consumer side as well.

So, building things like a sustainability score into an e commerce platform. So, making it really easy for consumers to immediately see and compare the sustainability of different products, whether that is through a set of certifications, maybe it’s the marine animal welfare attribute, a way for them to filter and quickly understand the different environmental impacts of different products.

So yeah, I would love to see that on e commerce. I know that’s starting to slowly roll out, as well as in shelf tags, so having things like the carbon emissions of a product to be listed. So I think there’s a ton of potential there, on the consumer side as well.

Keith Anderson: Yeah, it makes sense. Jumping back to some of the commercial use cases, what, one of the assumptions that I am really encountering across the industry, almost any time I mention that I’m working on sustainability related topics in CPG with, people that know me for traditional CPG and retail strategy.

Sort of say, yeah, yeah. Sustainability. The question is sort of who’s going to pay for it? You know, it’s, it’s a basically baked in assumption that the sustainable choice is inherently and almost always more expensive and therefore has to be sold at a price premium. So with some of the data you have, have you looked at, or have your teams looked at the relationship between these attributes and consumer prices and how that affects performance?

Are there examples where, that assumption isn’t true? It’s just, I found examples in different categories, some of which I think Spence would cover, but it seems to be this conventional wisdom that I’m not convinced is to your earlier point about category specific detail. I’m not convinced it’s as true universally as it seems to be believed to be.

Tanvi Patel: Yeah, absolutely. I think we have a lot of data that supports this and kind of debunks that, where, you know, it was, first of all, the understanding that, or the thought that sustainability is a price premium. We’re seeing like over time and at scale different products are price competitive and eventually will also be, can potentially be, even less expensive.

So I think there’s a couple of aspects and ways to think about this. I think as consumers start to demand it more and awareness starts to build, but also governmental regulation starts to roll through, things like the SEC requiring ESG reporting, all of that, as that increases, there’ll be more of this awareness.And need for more of a true cost accounting when it comes to the price of things. And so looking at, well, so I guess I’ll, I’ll back up a bit. So with our data we have found and, I don’t have specific numbers with me at the moment, but I kind of mentioned this earlier too. So through COVID, through inflation, people kind of thought that sustainability would take a dip along with all these other things.

What we actually found is that people are willing to pay more still for sustainability and that held true through inflation and through COVID when people had less money to spend. So I think that’s a super telling point, right? It’s not really this trend that’s going to go away. That people are, it’s not like a passing fad that people are interested in.

But it’s something that people are understanding is very important and companies and brands are being required to treated as something is as important as well. So it’s definitely something that will continue to grow and as that happens, prices will go down. An example, too, of something that I think is super interesting is this coming trend of, precision fermentation.

So there’s a couple of specifically dairy brands out there that are non animal dairy. So they’re using cell cultured, microbes to basically create an identical product to dairy, so it’s identical molecularly. It’s still like tags as an allergen, as a milk allergen, but it can be made with no animals.

And so that’s a highly efficient form of creating the same quality product at the same taste. And all those properties, but, completely eliminating the need for animal agriculture, right? So these technologies, I mean, inherently it’s so much more efficient. There’s so much less cost of involved in the supply chain. And so when we start realizing the true costs of some of these things, that price will go down.

Keith Anderson: It’s such an interesting, the whole alternative protein space is really interesting. And I’m just learning a bit about, fermentation and it’s emergent along, I think, with sort of cultivated animal proteins as, alternatives to the alternative of plant based and potential successors to some of the really high growth and then tapering growth options that we’ve seen in the market over the last, call it five years. So I think it’s really interesting and important that you call that category out and it hadn’t occurred to me before you mentioned it, but, I mean, I’m, I’m looking at some of those emerging approaches from a capital investment point of view.

So, I mean, I’ve, I’ve bumped into companies like Tezza Foods and Nobell and others that I think fall into that fermented alternative protein space. But the only indicator I typically have at my fingertips is You know, how much capital have they raised? Secondly, sometimes what kind of retail traction are they getting in terms of distribution?

But I think to get a complete picture, you do need the sell through data in addition to the sell in data. And so I would imagine the data you sit on is a great leading indicator of consumer adoption and acceptance of some of these emerging potentially disruptive, ingredients and materials that are really aimed at producing a comparable product, experience, you know, similar taste profile, texture, you name it, but with a very different, resource and environmental footprint.

Tanvi Patel: The interesting challenge that I think brands in that space faces, just the education part. It’s such an innovative space. It’s such an innovative product of, it’s dairy, but it’s not from an animal, and it’s vegan in some ways, but not technically, right, just that piece of educating consumers because, it is, there’s so many benefits environmentally, but just trying to get people to understand that it’s a clean product. It’s highly sustainable and efficient. But yeah, it’s different than anything else on the market today. So, bridging the gap will be key.

Keith Anderson: Have you tried them?

Tanvi Patel: Oh, good question. I haven’t tried them actually. There’s a couple of brands that I’ve been meaning to. My sister is actually a vegan, and has been for a couple years, and I told her about, I think it was the, the no cow milk brand. And so she picked it up and tried it, and then she called me.

She’s like, I just realized I haven’t had milk in years. Like, this is probably going to hurt my stomach because I’m not used to it. But yeah, she liked it. It was, it was crazy. She hasn’t tasted milk that real in years.

Keith Anderson: Well, I’m always interested to try any of these products, whether it’s a food product or personal care, just because I continue to think so much of the competitive dynamic. While I totally acknowledge it’s clear in the data, there is a strong interest in the, you know, better for the planet option, I think, in many cases, certainly not all, the effectiveness or experience isn’t yet at parity with the conventional offering that it’s intended to replace.

And so I think that’s why there’s so much investment and so much innovation, which I’m having a great time looking for and studying, to try to raise the bar on what is that consumer experience? Is it as convenient to find and buy it as the way that I used to do it? Is it economically at parity and the answer in many cases today is not necessarily, but it is in more and more cases, and I’m always eager to hear about those breakthrough experiences where somebody says, hey, I switched from the old razor I was using to this double edged safety razor, and it’s actually saving me money, and it’s a better shave, and it’s a better shave and what do you know? The waste and footprint are really favorable versus the way I was doing it before. So, fermented proteins are one of those that I’m really intrigued by.

Hey folks, this is the part of the show where we say thank you and see you soon to the general audience, plus and higher tier members of Decarbonize.co, stay tuned for the rest of the episode.

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