“Better-for-you Foods was here to stay, and more consumers wanted it, but that required education.” – Cynthia Tice
This week on the Gooder Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Cynthia Tice, the Founder of Lily’s Sweets. We discuss the history of Lily’s Sweets -
a leader in the no added sugar movement. We also learn about the history of the naturals industry and some trends that have come up in the natural products industry and Better-For-You brands. Along the way, we learn the extraordinary journey of a passionate leader in finding and building a creative naturals community through Lily’s Sweets.
In this episode we learn:
- The legacy and history of Lily’s Sweets.
- Cynthia’s journey of dispelling myths around using naturals products throughout her career.
- How the pandemic has given consumers a reset moment to reevaluate health and consumption habits.
- The evolvement of the natural products industry and accessibility to naturals/Better-For-You products.
- About Cynthia’s emphasis on leadership, mentorship, and the importance of creating a collaborative culture.
- How a do-it-yourself mentality is a strength and (sometimes) a challenge for entrepreneurs.
- The advice she finds herself consistently giving entrepreneurs who have been approaching a professional transition.
About Cynthia Tice:
Cynthia Tice got her start in the natural foods industry before green juice was cool. She opened a natural foods grocery store, Center Foods, in Philadelphia in 1978, and owned and operated that store for 20 years. As supermarkets realized the staying power of natural and organic foods, Tice began consulting retailers on how to launch or build out their natural and organic offerings. She also began advising brands looking to launch natural and organic products. While working with a client who wanted to launch a natural soda, Tice became aware of the opportunity for naturally sweetened, no added sugar foods. This trend was emerging because of growing consumer sentiments to limit sugar, along with all time high levels of distrust of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners.
As a long-time user of stevia, when the ingredient was granted GRAS status in 2008, Tice began experimenting with making chocolate with stevia to satisfy her own need for a no added sugar chocolate (her favorite food) that she could eat daily. In 2011, the recipe was perfected using not only stevia, but also the finest Fair Trade, additive-free, and Non-GMO other ingredients in order to benefit both people and planet. By 2012, Lily's Sweets was on shelves in Whole Foods stores nationwide. Today, Lily's Sweets remains a leader in the no added sugar movement through continued innovation, and the company's chocolates and confections can be found in more than 24,000 stores nationwide. Lily's Sweets has been recognized by Forbes as a, "mission-driven company reinventing the packaged food industry.”
Cynthia stepped away from the daily running of Lily’s in 2018, and spends her time working with Non-Profits, and mentoring young entrepreneurs. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Dennis, of 30+ years, near her parents, her children, and their spouses/partners, and four family dogs!
Guest Social Media Links:
Stevia is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, native to Brazil and Paraguay. The active compounds are steviol glycosides, which have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar, are heat-stable, pH-stable, and not fermentable.
Alar Scare - In early 1989, the NRDC released a report on Alar, a chemical used to harvest apples. The report estimated that Alar caused cancer and children were at greater risk.
Mothers & Others, a campaign that rallied concerned citizens who supported NRDC in the fight for tougher pesticide residue standards, standards that—thanks to a law passed 10 years later—would protect particularly vulnerable subpopulations such as infants and young children.
FMI Corporation For over 65 years, FMI has been the leading management consulting and investment banking* firm dedicated exclusively to engineering and construction, infrastructure, and the built environment.
Campaign to label GMOs: Using the hashtag #ConcealOrReveal, the campaign reached over 28 million people through social media. In addition to mobilizing American consumers around GMO labeling, Just Label It! won support from many food companies it targeted.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., is a privately held American supermarket chain; it is headquartered in Gates, New York. As of March 2021, Wegmans has 105 stores in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions.
Acme Markets Inc. is a supermarket chain operating 163 stores throughout Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and, as of 1999, is a subsidiary of Albertsons, and part of its presence in the Northeast.
VMG is an organization comprised of diverse people and points of view, and we are aligned in our mission to challenge the status quo. We encourage everyone in our ecosystem to cultivate a safe space in your communities and to operate with compassion and empathy.
Maxlove Project is an innovative, parent-driven, volunteer-powered, grassroots nonprofit organization founded to help SuperKids thrive against cancer and related life-threatening illnesses with integrative medicine and “Fierce Foods” anticancer nutrition.
The Family Thrive delivers strategies, tools and experts that help families create joyful, meaningful, thriving lives.
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com
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