Health Podcast Post

Plant-Based Foods with Jim Pakulis

George Grombacher February 8, 2022

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Plant-Based Foods with Jim Pakulis

LifeBlood: We talked about plant-based foods, the potential growth in the market, the challenges and opportunities with these foods, and how to create new recipes people love, with Jim Pakulis, Chairman and CEO of Boosh Plant-Based Brands.  

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jim Pakulis

Episode Transcript

On level, this is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guests strung apart for Jim Poulos, Jim, are you ready to do this? George, I am. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to have you on. Jim is the Chairman and CEO of Bush plant based brands corporated. They are an organization providing 100% plant based non GMO gluten free alternatives to comfort food. excited to have you on Jim, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Jim Pakulis 0:42
What, jeez, that’s a that’s a mouthful. But let’s start with the ladder. First, why do I do what I do? I the plant based sector is is borderline righteous for a couple of different reasons. Number one, you’re doing something good for your body for your health. Number two, you’re doing something good for the animal kingdom. And number three, just as importantly, you’re doing something good for planet Earth, you’re trying to preserve the elements and the assets we have on the planet. So to be able to get up every day and go into an industry and have a working relationship with with a great team. And in a sector that’s actually helping people. You couldn’t ask for anything more in my opinion. Thanks. I certainly appreciate that. How does one find themselves in in that sector? I appreciate that it is everything you just laid out. Sounds like a no brainer. But was it always that way for you? Have you always been in the space? No, no, not at all. I have not. My background is with a core group of individuals, identifying key industries and then going and creating companies within those industries, emerging industries that have long tails, taking companies public in certain industries. About two years ago, we started to investigate the plant based industry. From a data centric standpoint, looking at what over the next five to 10 years, it’s going to look like seeing this transformative shift that’s taking place very disruptive. And a lot of it has to do with with the millennials, in my opinion, millennials, the Gen X, Gen Y’s, who are far more conscious about what goes into their bodies than perhaps my generation ever was. So with all those data points, we decided to go forward and started to interview companies. We looked at 30 to 40 Different companies a year and a half two years ago in the plant based sector came across boosh came across Connie Marples. And even though our metrics is very strict, she exceeded our metrics. So we knew we felt that we had the right company and the right industry to support and back take public and continue on growth. Nice.

Great question. Connie is a celiac. So she’s it’s very sensitive for her as far as what she can eat. So let me give you her history back in 2000 to 2003 She created some of the first wine bars in Vancouver. They were actually on the coveted list of content Nast’s best restaurant in a World Award. She’s used to be around quality food used to having employees having a strong staff. Fast forward to 17 a lot of her friends were asking her Hey, can you give us recipes for plant based foods because we know you county are eating a lot of plant based foods. And she took it one step further. She not only gave recipes out but she started to create her own mind. A sigh of cheat she then

worked with a co Packer in 217 to 18 creating the first six frozen meals, put them in the Boo schmo Bo and she drove around to the natural food stores in Greater Vancouver and consequently started selling very, very well. And that was the origin of bush so the emphasis was blue. She says that the intro that you just mentioned is we try to have the least amount of preservatives in our foods as possible. So I think all around it’s just a wonderful meal to have as a as a family when you’re you’re hungry and and everybody’s busy and they want to have a good healthy meal quickly. Boucher’s the answer. Nice.

george grombacher 0:00
Come on.

And how to Connie come into it.

So are we talking about appetizers entrees desserts what what what? What kind of foods are y’all making?

Jim Pakulis 4:31
Yeah. So with the six frozen those are actually entrees we have shepherd’s pie with and we have a beautiful alliance with Beyond Meat so we use some of their crumble and our shepherd’s pie. Also in our begun bolognese. We have Mexican fiesta bowls and a variety of other frozen meals set for the family. We just this summer rolled out three refrigerated products including mushroom graded chili and sloppy gel which are doing very well. About two months ago, we just rolled out to plant based mac and cheese items on the shelf stable section of the grocery store. So our goal was to get into all three of the four majors sections of the grocery store, which would be the frozen, refrigerated shelf stable, and we accomplish that in 2021.

george grombacher 5:18
Nice. All right, beautiful. So what? Getting the recipe right? It sounds like she was able to do that right away and has an affinity for for fine foods and fine wines and fine dining. People ask her Hey, I know that, that you’re passionate about it, we get some recipes, then she starts her online. What are what are some of the challenges from a scalability standpoint of creating plant based versus traditional? Or what are the major differences if if, if any?

Jim Pakulis 6:00
Well, with the exception of the finished product being different than a processed food, you have the same challenges as any other company. And let’s let’s talk about that management, you need to have solid management in place, as you continue to grow boosh as that with Connie, we have Allie semi 25 years in the health food industry. TJ wells, we hired him about three months ago, 15 years sales North America, and he’s the one actually got us into save on a couple of months ago are still the last month with our order 120 stores. So he is very knowledgeable about health food throughout North American strong relationships. And we have a handful of other folks within our group that are just as strong as us. So it’s the management that we have created. In order to move forward any company’s going to have that you have what industry, right? It’s the industry, you can have a fantastic company, you can have great employees, but you’re in a flat industry, and it’s going to stay flat for a long time, you’re not going to see much growth. But I see, as we talked about earlier, on a macro level, the potential of the plant based sector getting very large. In fact, Bloomberg came out about six months ago, saying that by 2050, the valuation of the plant based sector is going to be $1.4 trillion up from about 20 billion today, you know, huge runway right there. So you have that the infrastructure making sure you have that solid infrastructure built for the scalability. Yeah, I don’t know if you remember that advertisement, maybe 10 years ago is on the Super Bowl, where these kids just created this new code or new game or something on the computer. And they’re all excited because 100 people started hitting it. And then all of a sudden, they had $1,000. So they had a million, and they didn’t have the proper infrastructure. So in 2021, we emphasize building out a solid infrastructure for business. And then you also have to talk about in my world, the cap structure. So as a small, emerging publicly traded company, we try to be as non diluted as possible. What does that mean, we try to have the least number of shares outstanding. As an example, a lot of companies in my sector may go public with 50 or 100 million shares outstanding, we went public in May 21, with just 16 million shares outstanding. Fast forward almost a year, we still have less than 20 million shares outstanding of which the insiders, the owners, the founders still control about 25% of the company and still coming to work every day and working hard. So these are the elements that you want. So that’s the same elements of any other company. But you have to, in my opinion, you have to get that right before you can start to scale. So last year, put all of that foundation down for the growth that we anticipate taking place in 2021.

george grombacher 8:42
Nice. It’s exciting, it’s expensive, that that you’d want to have that proper framework that’s set up. In terms of adoption, you talked about how younger generations are certainly very cognizant of this versus folks that are may be of your My ilk, not necessarily as interested. How do you see and obviously Bloomberg sees the industry exploding, and even to greater levels than it is today. What are is is the adoption, is that just going to sort of happen naturally. Or do you see headwinds? What what what are some of the big challenges you see there?

Jim Pakulis 9:30
Let’s go back 10 years from 2000 2010. I was I was a vegetarian. So I was very sensitive to what I was buying at the grocery stores and at that point, very, very limited number of products and the taste and the quality minimal processing heavy. So but now there’s been a transformation so maybe what has been the catalyst I think it’s beyond me, young me it was really a major catalyst and not only the quality of their food but also where it was placed in the grocery store. George, you didn’t get it in the corner where natural food was at the local grocery store, you got it next to the meat, right? So people now are saying, Wow, and it even looks like raw, like hamburger meat. So they’re starting to buy it and take that. So it’s the little, it’s these catalysts that are coming along. So it’s not going to I don’t, it hasn’t been a geometric progression. It’s been it’s been a Start Stop flat. And then it’s been significant growth of this industry over the last 24 to 24 months. I think that that’s going to continue, I think that we’re going to see here the major produce companies, consumer good companies, the Kellogg’s, the Procter and Gamble the posts, I see them getting more heavily involved in a plant based sector, because this is where the demand is going to be in the continues to be. So in short, I don’t, I don’t see it slowing down. I see more advancements taking place. Here’s another example, grocery stores now are doing tenant improvements throughout their frozen section, that never would have happened 10 years ago, why are they doing that? Because more and more plant based foods because of the lack of preservatives have to be frozen. So they’re expanding the frozen section. And they’re putting in hundreds of millions of dollars grocery stores throughout North America in order for this expansion. Again, another key indication that this industry is going to continue and grow.

george grombacher 11:30
That’s, that’s, that’s fascinating, right there that. With fewer preservatives, obviously, you need to freeze the food so so it doesn’t go bad, and that grocery stores are embracing and recognizing and then you know, investing in that, I think is is probably a really, really good sign. Nice. So it’s, it’s a confluence of all these events, it’s where the food shows up. Because if it’s just stuck in the corner and some health food section, there’s a lot of people that will never walk towards that. But if it’s right next to the other products, or if they’re expanding the way that the grocery stores, look and feel, that’s, that’s going to be at all the growth. Nice. What are you most excited about? Is there something that that really stands out as as if it’s a certain product? Or if it’s all these things?

Jim Pakulis 12:24
In my bush with Boosh? Boy, what for? Okay, I’ll answer two ways. From a business standpoint, the fact that we went from six views to 24 views in less than a year, we did three small acquisitions. Last year, a powdered plant based Mac and Cheese Company. Number two was a Patay of vegetable root Patay company, and then a vegetable based Cheese Company. And as you know, acquisitions don’t always work. In fact, the majority of acquisitions fail, so you have to have really good synergy. We were very fortunate that all three acquisitions melded really well within the Bush family has allowing us to go from six to 24 skews in less than a year. So what am I excited about and excited about with our differentiating products going into the marketplace? And I’ll explain to you our five different revenue models that we’ve put together in order to push out through 2022. From a personal standpoint, I love the shepherd’s pie. That’s my favorite.

george grombacher 13:35
I love it. Nice. Go from six to 24 skews. That’s a obviously that’s a big deal. How hard is it? And how do you make a decision on acquiring and existing versus let’s just do this ourselves?

Jim Pakulis 13:51
Great question. We probably have between 10 to 15 different products and various stages of discovery with our chefs and our engineers and county spearheading everything. That is a Herculean task to take that idea. Create a really good tasting plant based product that is different in the marketplace, and then take it to market. Right. Obviously, we have done that. However, I spend a lot of my time looking at mergers and acquisitions i I probably have right now, eight to 10 different acquisition candidates at various stages that we’re looking at as far as acquiring and of course, it goes back to our metrics. What specifically are we looking for in our metrics and How Will It Blend in will be synergistic with our growth? Will the principles be synergistic Do we have a light mindset but that of course has its own challenges so both sides have their pros and cons we but boosh with as being a proactive as we are we’re constantly going down both roads we’re constantly trying to look at new products to create and bring to market that consumers will really dig. At the same time. I’m always looking at acquisitions.

george grombacher 15:07
Yeah, well, that certainly does make sense. Interesting. It must be. And just putting myself in the position of Connie and her personal experience with creating recipes, but then how do you make something at a very, very large scale that people are going to absolutely love and, and all that. So fascinating stuff that you never really think about when you’re walking through the grocery store? And there’s all these different options. So

Jim Pakulis 15:31
yeah, right, exactly. And actually, I was just on the phone coffee an hour ago, and she’s, she’s going through a tasting right now. But the chef that she is working with who’s done a phenomenal job has a lot of these esoteric ingredients. So here’s another variable we have to think about. Okay, how do we go to the market, have it priced right, still have the least amount of processing as possible, making sure it tastes good as well without you know, being overpriced ourselves because of these esoteric ingredients that we have to get from perhaps Asia or India or whatever. So it is a very complicated process to get something that that is is the least amount of process that tastes really good. That hits the price points that consumers want.

george grombacher 16:13
Yeah. Interesting. Love it. Well, Jim, people are ready for your difference making tip. What do you have for them?

Jim Pakulis 16:24
Stay true to yourself. Just stay especially in today’s environment. We have a lot of challenges I think throughout all of North America, just just stay true to yourself. Integrity. Yeah, wake up and try to do something good every day to help out

george grombacher 16:39
Well, I think that that is great stuff definitely gets Come on. Jim, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people where can people learn more about bush and where can they find it?

Jim Pakulis 16:49
www Boucher. Bush food calm we’re trading on the CSE Canadian Securities Exchange ticker is v gi and we’re also trading on the OTC VGG if and the Frankfurt if anybody in Europe is listening or ticker is ti es seven, seven.

george grombacher 17:08
i Excellent. Have you enjoyed this much as I did show Jim your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Busch That’s B O S H And check out all the stuff that they’re working on and, and get your hands on some of this delicious food. Thanks. Good job.

Jim Pakulis 17:32
Thank you Judge.

george grombacher 17:33
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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