Flexible Packaging Round Table Podcast

Podcast: Episode 8 – Matt Venezuela from Nature Nate’s Honey Co.

How does flexible packaging benefit consumers? Why switch from rigid to flexible packaging? Tune in to hear what Matt Venezuela, Sr. Director of Operations at Nature Nate’s Honey Co. has to say.


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00:00:30 Matt Venezuela
It’s pretty neat, there’s a lot of romance in what the bees do and what they provide for us, and just that high level testing that we do here at Nature Nate’s. Like I said, no additives, no preservatives, we don’t pasteurize. We want to keep all the good stuff in that bottle and have that award win. Yeah, and so you know, crafting that consistency, we have a food scientist who is absolutely phenomenal, mind blowing in the kitchen with what she does. It amazes me and I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with her over the last year and her responsibility is to ensure those award-winning flavors come to life. Every bottle, whether from 12 ounce to 44 ounce, you’re going to get the same consistency across the board, even if it’s a new product, you know we want to maintain that high level premium brand to where our customers can trust what we do each and every time. I love what I do. We work on a farm and we have really, really cool people that are just creative, and that’s what makes it work.

00:01:48 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, and I know that we are very happy to be packaging your award-winning honey for sure. To build off that, can you just tell us the story behind how you guys found the premade STANDCAP Pouch and what really led to the switch from rigid to flexible?

00:02:07 Matt Venezuela
Yeah, great question. For us we strive here to lead the honey category in everything that we do. We want to make a difference, make an impact and it starts with ownership and owning sustainability just through our own best practices and being able to do what we say we’re going to do, putting it in the bottle, the consumers trusting it when they pull it off the shelf, or they order it online. And so, our customers care about sustainability too. And for us to pause for a moment, listen to what they’re telling us. It just made a whole lot of sense because they too want to have an impact, and so it’s bridging our sustainability initiatives and what our consumer is telling us. Nathan Sheets, he has this really cool, one of our bee-attitudes is to be creative. As a team, we started collaborating over a year ago on ways that, we’re all consumers of our own honey and it’s like, how can we get the experience to be different, maintain the quality, maintain the consistency, maintain the flavor and so we spoke with a couple of other companies, one of the guy’s, Rob Johnson over at Born Simple, spoke with him. And it just made sense for us to transition.

00:03:29 Matt Venezuela
Our team here at Nature Nate’s through being creative, we brought an idea to life not just on our own, but the support of the entire company here at Nature Nate’s, the support of you all at Glenroy, Matt and Steve have been phenomenal. So, for us we want to leave the world a little bit better than what we had, then where we are today, and so you know, for us, we do measure success, not by like what we achieved with this goal, but what it is we can contribute. And this was a way we could contribute to our customers, a new experience, and same great taste and you know, I like to say, no drizzle left behind. This STANDCAP allows you to get everything out of there. So, then that’s really where we got to it and for us you know it’s eco-friendly, our sustainability efforts, and what you all do at Glenroy – 60% less plastic. So that’s super attractive in itself. Over 70% less water usage, so you know, that’s big, and there’s two boxes checks and with 50% less CO2 admissions. It’s like, OK, that’s three boxes checked. So, all in all, it’s a win-win story for the experience, for sustainability, and for us to lead the honey category. We’ve enjoyed the partnership, we’ve had a lot of fun, but we’ve also had a lot of like huddle-ups, get togethers, and it’s been magical to see where it is today. I thank everybody at Nature Nate’s, I thank you all, our customers who keep us going. So, directionally it’s where we need it to be.

00:05:29 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, it’s exciting to see an idea finally come to fruition. It’s cool to hear all the sustainability things that your company is trying to do, and I know a lot of people are and it’s great to hear you speak about that and hear that you’re listening to what your customers are asking for. So, kudos to you guys.

00:05:55 Sara Januszewski
And then building off what you just spoke about there. How has flexible packaging and the STANDCAP Pouch differentiated your product? And additionally, how has flexible packaging benefited the consumer?

00:06:11 Matt Venezuela
Yeah, great question. Most of us think of honey and it’s in a bottle or jar and it gets crystallized. It’s hard, you’re in there with your knife trying to get into it. For us, not only was the STANDCAP eco-friendly, which was a plus, but the ease of using it, from kids to our older consumers, just the squeezable, being able to get every last drizzle out, all the way to the bottom. Being able to touch it and feel it and it gives us an opportunity to let our customers touch and feel not just experience the taste, but actually get to see it, and so for us, our customers love the no drip cap. It’s no mess, so another check for us that made sense directionally and for us the details matter. You think about a cap, but it does matter and so you piece the stand-up cap and just the sustainability, the ease of using it, and pair those two together. It’s a home run, it just works.

00:07:34 Sara Januszewski
Well, great and would you like to speak about the overall evolution of Nature Nate’s as a brand? How you guys started in ecommerce and now are getting into retail. Can you just touch on that?

00:07:52 Matt Venezuela
Sure, when we first started off this journey we had envisioned going to go e-commerce. We’re just only going on e-commerce, we’re going to learn from it. It’s a great platform for us to get to market, get it in the customers hands. Allow the customer to learn, for us to learn from our customers. To me, their voice and their opinions do matter. I mean it does drive our decisions and does help us figure out ways to make the experience better. So Amazon was first, we’re like going on Amazon. We’re going to learn what customers like, what they love, what they don’t like. It’s like a small little win and it turns into a big win. Our Kroger buyer, who is absolutely fantastic, like she is awesome for heard nothing but wonderful things. She loved the product and she wanted it with Kroger as soon as possible and this is the journey of making a movement. This is the journey of us taking something that is good for the environment, good for our customers, and good for the experience. And we leaned in together, we leaned in with her, and Nature Nate’s leaned in and together just last month we launched in Kroger our 14-ounce classic, which is awesome, and our 14-ounce organic. So, it was an idea that we all had and rallied around, and we picked it apart, had a vision starting small and it just gained momentum and when customers are talking and our buyers are asking for us, we wanted to make sure that we deliver on our promise. When it checked all the quality, all the sustainability, the flavor profile was consistent and true to what Nature Nate’s is, we knew that we had something bigger than just on e-commerce. Now it’s sitting in a Kroger retailer, and we have other retailers that are interested and we’re interested too, and I hope to eventually in the near future launch in other retailers and just bring a new experience with the same great take.

00:10:19 Sara Januszewski
Just fantastic, bigger and better things. I like to hear it.

00:10:23 Matt Venezuela
Absolutely, and phenomenal and I tell people like, this little cool cap is super easy. Perfect example right there everywhere. I have kiddos, they love it. Easy to use, easy to squeeze, user friendly and more importantly, just the team here at Nature Nate’s and the team at Glenroy really put a lot of thought, a lot of intentionality and details. Those details matter to our consumers.

00:10:57 Sara Januszewski
Then just to wrap things up here Matt. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

00:11:04 Matt Venezuela
No, I really appreciate you all thinking of us here at Nature Nate’s, I’m just the good-looking face today and there’s a big team, but at the end of the day, we all lock arms, we stand together, and we all have a purpose. And here Nature Nate’s we all know what that purpose is and we’re here to serve and we’re here to listen. If we can make a difference, we’re going to, and so I really appreciate everything you’ve done, everything the whole entire Glenroy team is done, and we appreciate the support from our consumers, and there’s more to come in 2022.

00:11:45 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, that is so great, and you know to conclude here Matt, I just want to thank you again for joining us and representing Nature Nate’s. It was really great to learn more about the company and just your flexible packaging offerings in general. And I just wanted to give a quick PSA for next month. We will have Allison Keane, President and CEO of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). She’ll be on for the second time and again, thank you so much Matt and Nature Nate’s and everyone that joined. I think we got up to almost 20 people on tonight. So, it’s pretty exciting.

00:12:27 Matt Venezuela
That’s awesome, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And thank you everyone for joining and go out and buy more honey!

00:12:34 Sara Januszewski
Thanks so much, bye everyone.


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