1. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Can you tell us a little about your background?
Absolutely. I’m currently VP, Marketing and Communications, for Pairwise, a food and agriculture company working to transform what Americans eat. With a mission to “build a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables,” Pairwise and our ConsciousTM Foods brand are delivering differentiated products using CRISPR and other technology, so that people have more healthy food choices.
Pairwise is passionate about understanding how consumers think and behave, and we’re particularly interested in how consumer perceptions are changing around tech-enabled food products.
Working in brand roles for companies such as Smithfield Foods and Fleet Labs, I have launched more two dozen products in my marketing career. I also have served as Group Vice President at shopper marketing firm The MARS Agency, developing marketing programs for consumer healthcare clients GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott Nutrition. I hold my MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and my BA from Northwestern University.
2. Please tell us about your brand. How did you start it?
A few years ago, our team noticed that there just wasn’t much innovation in the produce department. When you think about foods like yogurt, or drinks like coffee, people have seen a myriad of innovative food and drink products on store shelves. So Pairwise was founded to apply new food+tech approaches to grow new varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables.
When it came to creating our brand, we wanted to communicate that this was a new kind of brand – one that delivers innovation, but also stands for a purpose. We believe that people need access to healthy fruits and vegetables, and we’re here to deliver that access. That’s why we picked the name Conscious Foods – Conscious Foods is deliberate and purposeful. And we’re excited to tell that story.
3. What are some of the main obstacles you’ve faced?
There are a couple of main obstacles – first off, many people have been turned off by produce – they’ve grown tired of bland, inconsistent fruits and vegetables – so we, and others, will have to work harder to get people excited to try Conscious Foods. And second, there are a lot of dated views out there about tech-enabled foods – when you actually talk to people, most of them understand that tech is important to delivering solutions to larger problems, and to create innovative products that they will love. So, we talk a lot about what we’re learning about what people think and do about the food they eat, which really showcases the opportunity that lies ahead for produce and other fresh, healthy foods.
4. When will your brand launch and what excites you the most about that?
Pairwise is preparing to launch the first CRISPR food into the North American marketplace this year. Last year, our team sampled our first products, ConsciousTM Greens salad blends, at festivals in select markets, and we learned a lot about consumer acceptance of tech-enabled food products, and that people are hungry for new healthy food choices.
The Conscious Greens portfolio of pre-packaged salad mixes with superior nutrition, will launch into U.S. retail and foodservice later this year.
5. Where can I learn more?
For media inquiries or to book Megan Thomas as a speaker, please contact publicist Carolyn Barth of Digital Content Strategy LLC.