In this episode, I speak with Michele Simon, the Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association.
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About Michele Simon
Michele Simon is a public health lawyer who has been researching and writing about the food industry and food politics since 1996. She has written extensively on the politics of food, and her first book, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, was published by Nation Books in 2006.
After years of researching and writing about what’s wrong with the food system, Michele decided to offer her services to food and beverage companies trying to do the right thing. She offers legal advice on federal regulatory compliance for labeling and marketing, among other services. She is also executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group representing the nation’s leading plant-based foods companies. She is admitted to practice law in California, working “of counsel” to Handel Food Law. Simon has a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Why You Should Listen
Although the plant-based food sector has topped $5 billion in sales in the U.S. and there seems to be a new company popping up every week with a new and innovative dairy or meat replacer, this new food industry is facing a number of huge setbacks.
From food labeling laws that prohibit dairy-free products from calling themselves milk or cheese to buying out over grocery store shelf space, the meat and dairy industries are determined to keep plant-based products from assuming their market share.
Thankfully, that’s where Michele Simon comes in.
Michele is the executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group with over 80 members, whose goal is to level the playing field for plant-based food.
Michele knows the ins and outs of the tactics used by the meat and dairy lobby to deter competition. In our chat, we discuss the challenges facing plant-based food producers, from educating consumers to food labeling laws that prohibit dairy-free products from calling themselves milk or cheese. Importantly, we cover what Michele and the Plant Based Foods Association are doing to combat these issues and further the success of companies producing healthy, sustainable, plant-based foods.
She also provides some vital tips for entrepreneurs who are looking to break into the world of plant-based food and speaks to her larger goals with the Association. The plant-based food space may be a thriving business opportunity, but Michele is more focused on measuring the impact these companies and products can have on transforming our broken food system – rather than just looking at the bottom line.
Increasingly, we’re seeing that the future of food is plant-based, so listen to this episode to learn how Michele intends to help make that possible.
People/Companies/Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Plant Based Foods Association
- Natural Products Expo West
- Miyoko’s Kitchen
- California cheese labeling laws
- Dairy Pride Act
- Beyond Meat
- Follow Your Heart
- John Mackey of Whole Foods
- David Simon, author of Meatonomics
- Check Off Programs
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