Plants Mean Business


PlantBased Solutions CEO David Benzaquen and Managing Director Mary McGovern were recently selected to join New Hope Natural Media’s select group of industry experts on the New Hope IdeaXchange. Below is David’s first piece, reposted with permission from New Hope. Please share!

Plants Mean Business

On Halloween, I had the pleasure of hearing former Vice President Al Gore deliver the keynote
address at the Columbia Social Enterprise Conference. Mr. Gore spoke of the financial risks
associated with investing in fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. To paraphrase, Mr.
Gore said that this country holds $7 trillion in sub-prime carbon assets that can never be burned
if we want to avoid environmental devastation. As a result, he encouraged investors to divest
from these assets before the bubble bursts.

In January of this year, NASDAQ sent out a similar clarion call regarding the future of meat.
NASDAQ identifies the decline in meat consumption and growing awareness of the health and
environmental implications of meat as key areas of concern for the industry. In the piece “How
the Death of Meat Could Impact Your Portfolio,” NASDAQ says:

“Annual per capita red meat consumption in the U.S. fell 15% to 101 pounds in the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s down by a third since the early 1970s, when per capita consumption was pushing 150 pounds per year. And the downward consumption trend could soon accelerate, with major negative implications for the meat industry.”

The article then speaks to future industry risks associated with impending dietary guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture, which are expected to call for reduced meat consumption and an increasingly plant-based diet as ways to both benefit health and mitigate climate change. Based on this analysis and forecasting, NASDAQ has the following advice for investors:

“An unfavorable new set of USDA dietary guidelines could obviously be a huge headwind for successful meat producers like Tyson Foods, Inc., Hormel Foods Corp. and others. Risk tolerant investors may want to consider shorting the stocks of such companies or relevant exchange-traded securities…Think twice about holding long positions in meat industry stocks or exchange-traded securities if the new guidelines do advise eating less meat. If the new guidelines come to pass, the risk of long-term profit shrinkage would be much too great. A reduction in our meat consumption would likely more than offset still-rising meat consumption in other parts of the world.”

As Wall Street looks to solutions for their losses in meat and other animal products, they will be sure to find success in their plant-based alternatives. In December, Hampton Creek Foods, a maker of plant-based egg alternatives, closed their Series C round with over $90 million from investors including: Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Hyatt Chairman Nicholas Pritzker and Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin. The company was founded in 2009 and only started selling their flagship product in stores in late 2013. In November, 5-year old meat alternative company Garden Protein International was purchased by Pinnacle Foods for $154 million. And in September, WhiteWave Foods purchased So Delicious Dairy Free for $195 million.

With Wall Street taking note of the impact of animal agriculture on our world, our waistlines and our wallets, the future of business is clearly in plants.

PlantBased Solutions featured in The Guardian business article

UK’s leading newspaper The Guardian features PlantBased Solutions in article about the growth of the plant-based business world. Read the full article here.

Food and Food Justice: These are Two of Our Favorite Things

On Sunday, October 12, PlantBased Solutions staff and friends participated in two incredible food justice events.

First, we attended Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s Thanksliving Event, where we gorged ourselves on delicious appetizers from Treeline Cheese, the Regal Vegan, entrees from Miss Rachel’s Pantry, and desserts from Vegan Treats, while celebrating the turkeys as our guests.

sweet potato coconut bisque
Sweet potato coconut bisque from Miss Rachel’s Pantry (photo courtesy of The Food Duo).

thanksliving entree
Seitan roast stuffed with wild rice, shaved brussel sprout salad and potatoes au gratin from Miss Rachel’s Pantry (photo courtesy of The Food Duo).

vegan treats at thanksliving
Assortment of delicious desserts from Vegan Treats (photo courtesy of The Food Duo).

turkey feeding
On Thanksliving, the turkeys are the center of attention, rather than the center of the plate (photo courtesy of The Food Duo).

In the evening, we were proud to co-sponsor an extraordinary eight-course, entirely plant-based dinner with the award-winning chefs of the Insurgo Project, a group devoted to supporting local food movements.

IMG_4708 (1)
PlantBased Solutions Founder and CEO David Benzaquen (4th from left) celebrates with Insurgo Founder Chef Harold Villarosa (2nd from right) and the chefs of the Insurgo Project (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

Squash three ways (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

Kale angel hair pasta with genmai miso brodo (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

Tomato bolognese (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

Mango with borage edible flowers (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

Spiced coconut panna cotta (photo courtesy of David Moncion).

If you missed these events, have no fear, Woodstock’s Thanksliving event is annual, and we are already in discussion with Insurgo to co-sponsor future events.

Finally, speaking of great events, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating one of our favorite charities, the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, at their gala in New York City on October 24th. More information about the event and on purchasing tickets can be found here.

PlantBased Solutions to Host Vegan Culinary Experience

On October 12, join PlantBased Solutions and The Insurgo Project for Brooklyn Through the Times, an eight-course fine dining experience celebrating plant-based cuisine using entirely local ingredients.

BKTTT invite

Insurgo harnesses the power of localization to secure food access for high-need communities. The group’s goal is to merge local farms, local restaurants, and local chefs with local residents to sponsor environmental sustainability and economic growth.

Insurgo and PlantBased Solutions are teaming up for an entirely vegan, locally-sourced meal prepared by award-winning chefs to support this important work and celebrate the many culinary traditions of Brooklyn.

Tickets are extremely limited, so please get yours today! To purchase a ticket, go to

PlantBased Solutions CEO to Lead NYU Social Entrepreneurship Workshop

NYU REAL Workshop Series

On October 8, 2014, PlantBased Solutions Founder and CEO David Benzaquen will lead a workshop on choosing a career to maximize social impact as part of the NYU Reynolds R.E.A.L. (Realistic Entrepreneurial Actionable Learning) Workshop Series.

Workshop Content:
Doing good is about more than just intentions. With the lines blurring between the nonprofit, private and public sectors, how does one choose the best career path to truly make a difference? In this workshop, attendees will examine the metrics and factors one can use to measure the social impact of various career choices and review the strengths and weaknesses of various career paths. Each attendee will use a worksheet and small group discussion to answer questions that will lead them to further clarity on the best path to achieve his or her personal, professional and social change goals.

Presenter Bio:
David Benzaquen is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PlantBased Solutions, a brand management and marketing agency building the market for plant-based products to address some of the world’s most urgent health, environmental and ethical challenges. Prior to launching his business, David worked in the nonprofit and government sectors as a lobbyist, fundraising consultant, community organizer, direct service provider and legislative aide. David holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from The New School for Social Engagement and a bachelor’s degree from American University in Political Science.

To Attend:
The workshop is open to the public, but requires an RSVP. To learn more and RSVP, go to

PlantBased Solutions hires 20-year Industry Leader as Managing Director

May 14, 2014


Contact: David Benzaquen, Founder and CEO



PlantBased Solutions, LLC is thrilled to announce the hiring of Mary McGovern as Managing Director of our growing agency. Since graduating from Harvard Business School, McGovern has spent more than twenty years as a senior marketing strategist and executive, leading $ billion brands both domestically and internationally. Mary’s experience includes leading efforts at Kraft Foods, Ocean Spray, and Gillette, as well as years of consulting for FMCG brands and private equity firms in various industries.

Founder and CEO David Benzaquen said of the decision, “We are actively building the first full-service marketing agency devoted to the thriving industry for plant-based products. We couldn’t be more excited to have Mary join our team and bring her extensive experience to bear on the success of our clients and this larger movement for health and sustainability.”

Upon joining the team, McGovern shared, “I couldn’t be happier with this opportunity.  PlantBased Solutions brings extraordinary passion and expertise to every client.  The future here is very bright.”


PlantBased Solutions is a one-stop brand management and marketing agency specializing in plant-based products within the food and beverage space. For more information about our company, please visit us at



PlantBased Solutions CEO on Sirius XM The Focus Group Radio (audio link here)


On Saturday, March 22, PlantBased Solutions Founder and CEO David Benzaquen stopped by the SiriusXM headquarters to speak with John Nash and Tim Bennett on their radio show The Focus Group.

You can listen as our founder describes the growing world of plant-based foods and some of the fantastic new products available to consumers nationwide.

If you have a question about how we can help your business market your delicious and healthy plant-based products, email us at

Highlights and Product Picks from the Winter Fancy Food Show

PlantBased Solutions CEO David Benzaquen just left the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show, one of the top trade shows in the food world. Here are some highlights and musings from a business-minded plant-based food enthusiast joining thousands of foodies to check out the newest and hottest specialty foods.


russell jackson

Celebrity chef Russell Jackson and PlantBased Solutions CEO David Benzaquen.


Jam-packed with jams, olive oils, chocolates, salsas, snacks, and so much more, the Winter Fancy Food Show had over 18,000 attendees and over 1,300 exhibitors sharing their food products from across the world.  The show focuses on specialty foods, rather than natural products. However, a quick scan of the new products showcase shows that the industry is clamoring to meet consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable foods. Countless products boast their greenest and cleanest attributes, from vegan and gluten-free ingredients to recycled packaging. Here are a few of our favorite products from the show.


PlantBased Solutions’ Top 5 Products (that we had never tried before) from the Winter 2014 Fancy Food Show

1. Masala Chips from Indian Life (

masala chips

These Non-GMO Project-verified, MSG-free, vegan chips are packed with authentic Indian spices (you can see and taste the powerful cumin seeds) and just the right amount of crunch. Low in sodium and delicious.


2. Carmelina ‘e…San Marzano Organic Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes


It’s not often that one reviews the top products at a packaged foods convention and highlights canned produce as a star of the show. And yet, that is the testament to the experience this reviewer had when tasting the Carmelina San Marzano tomatoes for the first time. This product carried enough flavor to single-handedly transform any sauce or dish and will quickly become in a staple in our home.


3. Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips


We heard incredible things about these chips while at the Natural Products Expo East trade show back in September, but we were too swamped handing out samples of another incredible product at the Treeline Cheese booth. Fortunately, we finally got to try these, and they did not disappoint. Conveniently packed in beautiful, compostable 1 and 3 ounce bags, these chips are 100% gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, MSG free and never fried. We strongly recommend the Sea Salt and Chili Lime flavors. Words of caution: these chips are NOT recommended for nori newbies; their powerful flavor is best enjoyed by seaweed aficionados.


4. Green Walnut and Grappa Preserve from The Preservatory at Vista D’oro


When tasting this preserve, one is immediately hit by the distinct, yet beautiful, pairing of green walnuts and wine.  Vista D’oro never clarifies or filters their wines, avoiding the animal byproducts sometimes used in wine processing.


5. Lotus Foods’ Organic Forbidden Rice Ramen


Boasting a somewhat nutty texture, Lotus Foods’ Forbiden Rice Ramen is somewhat similar to soba noodles, but less gummy. Perfect with a dash of tamari sauce, these noodles are 100% certified organic, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, non-GMO verified, fair trade, and delicious!


Carrots as junk food? Leveling the playing field through creative branding

This past weekend our staff had the pleasure of attending the James Beard Foundation’s annual Food Conference. One session that had a particularly high impact on us was Bolthouse Farms’ President Jeff Dunn’s conversation with author Raj Patel about marketing healthy foods.

For those who don’t know, Jeff Dunn famously left a position as President of Coca-Cola to pursue his passion for promoting healthy foods. After taking the reins at Bolthouse Farms, Mr. Dunn sent shock waves through the food industry by branding baby carrots as junk food in order to appeal to young consumers.

During the talk, Mr. Dunn spoke passionately about leveling the playing field to give healthy foods a chance to compete for consumers’ attention, through creative branding techniques. At PlantBased Solutions, we are highly motivated by Mr. Dunn’s example and aim to show consumers how delicious, affordable, and exciting, plant-based foods can be through similarly innovative branding and marketing techniques.

You can listen to Jeff Dunn’s full conversation with Raj Patel here:

PlantBased Solutions Helps gardein launch into NYC Fashion Week

PlantBased Solutions partnered with gardein to introduce thousands of fashionistas and A-list celebrities to an array of the company’s delicious meat-free products during this month’s NYC Fashion Week.

Our extensive team of highly-trained plant-based chefs and brand ambassadors represented the brand at a host of events, including the Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar at Salon Ziba, the Socialyte Gala at The Box, Amy Sacco’s Bungalow Beauty and Brand Bar at No. 8, and the Cotte D’Armes SS’14 Presentation at the Thompson LES Hotel. Among the celebrities who sampled gardein’s incredible products at these events were supermodel Niki Taylor, Real Housewives of New York City star Kelly Bensimon, America’s Next Top Model runway coach Miss J. Alexander, premier fashion stylist and ABC News Cause Celeb host Phillip Bloch, R&B singers RaVaughn and Bridget Kelly, and Team USA Olympic medalists Tyler Clary and Will Claye.Niki Taylor

In partnership with Kaye Hospitality Group, our team was simultaneously able to bring gardein’s ultimate beefless slider and crispy chick’n slider to thousands of New Yorkers from the gardein-branded food cart touring the city. Stay tuned for more exciting appearances by the gardein food cart. After all, when gardein’s around, you never know who you’ll get to meet!

Contact us today to find out how we can help you share your superstar plant-based products with the stars.