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Pineapple Express to Disrupting Leather: Mélanie Broyé-Engelkes and Piñatex

Business for Good Podcast

Release Date: 05/15/2021

Ep. 81 | The Rapid Rise, High-Profile Fall, and Resilient Recovery of Juicero’s Doug Evans show art Ep. 81 | The Rapid Rise, High-Profile Fall, and Resilient Recovery of Juicero’s Doug Evans

Business for Good Podcast

This is a story about how one man entered startup life, rose to great prominence, got battered in the press and endured a very public downfall, and then got back up again and kept pushing his life’s mission to improve public health forward.

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Ep. 80 | Is What You Believe About Food Sustainability Wrong? Robert Paarlberg Thinks So. show art Ep. 80 | Is What You Believe About Food Sustainability Wrong? Robert Paarlberg Thinks So.

Business for Good Podcast

When it comes to food, we often hear that switching to organic, local, non-GMO production methods are what’s best for the planet. But, what if the preponderance of scientific evidence doesn’t support such claims, and that actually both the planet and public health are better off with the synthetic fertilizer banned by organic standards; that buying local may not be better for the planet; and that it’s perfectly safe to eat genetically modified plants?

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Ep. 79 | From Sophomore to CEO: Jessica Schwabach of Sundial Foods is Flying on Plant-Based Wings show art Ep. 79 | From Sophomore to CEO: Jessica Schwabach of Sundial Foods is Flying on Plant-Based Wings

Business for Good Podcast

For real: What were you doing during your sophomore year of college? Probably not what Jessica Schwabach was doing, which was starting her own plant-based meat company. Two years later, Jessica has gone through two prestigious accelerator programs, created products that have been sold in dozens of stores, and just raised a $4 million seed round, including investment from food giant Nestle.

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Ep. 78 | A Conversation with NYC’s Mayor-Elect Eric Adams show art Ep. 78 | A Conversation with NYC’s Mayor-Elect Eric Adams

Business for Good Podcast

A year and a half ago, a guy few people had ever heard of came on to this show’s 44th episode to talk both about the business of police reform as well as his new book advocating plant-based eating. At that time, he was also rumored to be considering running for NYC's highest office. Well, spoiler alert: he won the mayoral race! So we're re-running our conversation with Eric Adams now that he's poised to take the reins of power in America's largest city.

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Ep. 77 | Creating a Cultivated Meat Community: Anita Broellechs and Alex Shirazi show art Ep. 77 | Creating a Cultivated Meat Community: Anita Broellechs and Alex Shirazi

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This is a story of two people who despite not having experience in the cultivated meat space felt so strongly about building a community around it that they started their own podcast, called Cultured Meat and Future Foods, their own conference, the Cultured Meat Symposium, and are now working on a children’s book about cultivated meat together as well.

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Ep 76 | Is Your Cat Ready to Eat Cultivated Mouse Meat? Shannon Falconer and Because Animals Think So show art Ep 76 | Is Your Cat Ready to Eat Cultivated Mouse Meat? Shannon Falconer and Because Animals Think So

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There’s already plant-based pet food, but what about growing actual animal meat for all of our carnivorous best friends? The company featured in this episode, Because Animals, is trying to do just that. And they’re starting with cultivated mouse meat for your cat.

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Ep 75 | The Sweet Side of Starting a (Dairy-Free) Ice Cream Company: Aylon Steinhart & Eclipse Foods show art Ep 75 | The Sweet Side of Starting a (Dairy-Free) Ice Cream Company: Aylon Steinhart & Eclipse Foods

Business for Good Podcast

In 2019, two friends were both working in the alt-protein sector, one at the Good Food Institute and the other at Eat Just. Even though Aylon Steinhart and Thomas Bowman were both doing great things to advance the animal-free protein movement, they wondered if they should try their own hands at co-founding a food tech start-up that would put cows out to pasture and mimic dairy with plants. After serious deliberation, they both left their secure jobs to team up and found Eclipse Foods.

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Ep 74 | A Financial Journalist’s Prescription for Making the Economy Work for Animals show art Ep 74 | A Financial Journalist’s Prescription for Making the Economy Work for Animals

Business for Good Podcast

In his new book, How to Love Animals in a Human-Shaped World, Henry takes his readers on a wild ride through our relationship with animals, including getting a job working at a slaughterhouse himself. Henry repeatedly weaves personal experiences like this one into his narrative, while also making prescriptions for a bold reshaping of the parts of our economy that currently involve animal exploitation.

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Ep 73 |From Dust to Dust...or to Soil: Katrina Spade and the Recompose Vision for an Eco-Friendlier Death Industry show art Ep 73 |From Dust to Dust...or to Soil: Katrina Spade and the Recompose Vision for an Eco-Friendlier Death Industry

Business for Good Podcast

Katrina Spade is on a mission to offer a better way to deal with human corpses, and it involves a process called natural organic reduction. It’s essentially a fancy way of saying she’s invented a method of accelerated composting for your body.

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Ep 72 | Plastic that Won’t Last Forever: Kristin Taylor and the Radical Plastics Story show art Ep 72 | Plastic that Won’t Last Forever: Kristin Taylor and the Radical Plastics Story

Business for Good Podcast

Sure, diamonds—including lab-grown—may be forever. But does plastic also have to be? Not so, according to Kristin Taylor, CEO of Radical Plastics.

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It’s often that we hear about some really cool and promising new technology that’s allegedly going to change the game, but only once that tech is scaled and commercialized. In this episode, however, we’re featuring a start-up that not only has a very cool technology, it’s already commercialized it with hundreds of customers, including some very big names in the fashion world. 

Mélanie Broyé-Engelkes is the CEO of Ananas Anam, makers of Piñatex. For those of you not fluent in Spanish, “piña” means pineapple, which gives you a sense of what Melanie and her team are doing with their B2B materials start-up.

When it comes to leather alternatives, most are made from fossil fuel-derived plastics. Aside from the obvious environmental concerns, there are functionality concerns with such plastic products, too. We often hear about really encouraging new sustainable materials like mushroom leather, cactus leather, and even leather from collagen that was grown in a controlled environment. But as promising as those solutions are, they aren’t yet really commercialized in any meaningful sense yet.

Enter Piñatex. It’s a leather alternative that’s made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, which are typically considered an agricultural waste product. These upcycled leaves are converted into a functional and luxurious-feeling material that can be used for everything from shoes to handbags, and more. 

And indeed, that’s already what’s happening. Today brands like Hugo Boss, H&M, and hundreds of others, are using Piñatex in their designs, setting Ananas Anam apart from many other alt-materials makers.

In this episode, Melanie shares the company’s origin story, telling us where they’ve been and where the pineapple revolution is going.

Discussed in this episode