BevNET Live Adds Key Natural Experts: UNFI, SPINS, Natural Products Consulting

From vitaminwater to coconut waters, Natural and Specialty Retailers are often the most important first step when it comes to helping debut and grow new beverage brands.

That’s why BevNET is proud to announce that we have added three very important speakers who have key perspectives on working within that channel, and in growing out of it.

Rick Moller, the Vice President of Supplier Development for United Natural Foods (UNFI), will join the conference to speak on the ways that new brands can work with this highly influential wholesaler. Moller, who has spent the past 35 years in natural food distribution, including major purchasing positions at KeHE and Tree of Life, is currently responsible for helping UNFI identify start-up companies and preparing them to enter and succeed in the natural and organic marketplace.

Bobbi Leahy is the Director of Sales, West, at SPINS, the country’s leading source of information on retail sales in natural and specialty channels, and of natural products throughout the retail world. Leahy, a 25-year veteran of retail analytic firms, will help BevNET Live attendees understand how to use retail sales numbers to help companies tell their stories to investors, distributors, and retailers as they grow. She will also help provide trend information on growing and emerging beverage types as measured by SPINS.

Bob Burke, the founder of Natural Products Consulting and the co-author of the Natural Products Field Manual, is one of the best-known and most respected voices in the natural products industry. A speaker at BevNET Live’s summer event in New York, Burke will speak on several panels in Santa Monica as he provides knowledge about brand and company development that goes past the numbers and into the gut feelings and attitudes of buyers, investors and distributors. Burke, a former executive with Stonyfield Farm, has advised numerous beverage companies as they have grown, added staff, sought and gained investment and otherwise required key insights into how to become successful, including Oregon Chai, Nantucket Offshore/Stirrings and Mighty Leaf Tea, among others.

Stay tuned as BevNET announces preliminary agendas and even more speakers in the days to come.

About BevNET Live

BevNET Live will return to the Loew’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica on Dec. 5 and 6, 2011. Over the course of the two-day event, BevNET Live provides presentations from leading beverage executives, in-depth breakout sessions, a “mini-expo” of supplier and beverage exhibits, and ample networking time. The conference is attended by entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors, retailers, investors and others who are interested in the cutting edge of the beverage business.