People Moves: Austin Allan Leaves Iris Nova for Ark Foods

Austin Allan Named Director of Marketing at Ark Foods

Austin Allan has been named director of marketing at produce company Ark Foods, just three months after joining Dirty Lemon parent company Iris Nova as senior director of special projects.

Allan told BevNET that his responsibilities in his role at Iris Nova included “looking at all aspects of the supply chain and trying to minimize redundancies and increase efficiencies [and] looking for new potential partners in the co-packaging, direct to consumer and HPP space.” He declined to comment further on his time at Iris Nova, stating that he left the company for the opportunity at Ark Foods.

“I got a great opportunity with Ark Foods to be the director of marketing at a up-and-coming, really innovative company here in New York,” Allan said. “It was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

The Brooklyn-based start-up sells a line of heirloom vegetables including shishito peppers, seasonal honeynut squash, badger flame beets and purple potatoes, as well as a newly launched vegan heat-and-eat meal line, both available at Whole Foods. In his new role, he’ll focus on social media outreach, shopper marketing strategy and product expansion.

“It’s a really exciting company, a really exciting brand and a really exciting product that is going to do great things for the fresh cut aisle in Whole Foods and beyond,” Allan said.

Allan is the founder and former CEO of drinkable soup brand Tio Gazpacho. He left the company in December after it was acquired by Novamex.

“Everything he did with Tio was really impressive,” said Ark Foods founder and CEO Noah Robbins. “We’re excited for him to build the marketing program. We’ve been focusing on operations for quite some time now, and with the launch of the new veggie bowls we’re really excited to have him build out the program and expand it.”

After his time at Iris Nova and Tio Gazpacho, which he described as a “food-beverage hybrid” company, Allan said his main interest is in the food space.

“That’s really where my passion lies, in better-for-you products, innovative products, food start-ups. I’ll always be in that space,” he said. “I’m not necessarily interested in traditional marketing or traditional products.”

The Granny Squibb Company Hires CEO and Project Manager

Organic iced tea brand The Granny Squibb Company named two new hires this month: Jamie Schapiro as CEO and Emma Haskell as project manager.

According to a press release, the company hired management consulting firm Apenture, lead by Schapiro, earlier this year to develop a plan to drive growth. After the plan was created, Granny Squibb decided to bring him on as CEO.

Schapiro has over 20 years of experience in both food and beverage start-ups and established companies, including roles at Jamba Juice, Clif Bar, Stirrings, Go Veggie and Premama.

Haskell, who has been serving as project manager part-time since summer 2018, will now assume the role full-time. In the position, she will oversee “social media, research, event coordination and planning, product demos, website development and assist with ongoing projects,” according to a release.

“This is a very exciting time for The Granny Squibb Company and as we look to grow and expand our presence in Rhode Island this year,” Kelly McShane, a partner at Granny Squibb, said in a release. “Jamie and Emma bring another level of experience and man power that will help us meet our business goals and to make Granny Squibb’s Organic Iced Tea a household name.”

The release also stated that the company is focusing on growing within Rhode Island and New England over the next year by both engaging with current retailers like Whole Foods and Wegmans as well as expanding to local shops and restaurants.

Royal Cup Promotes Former CFO to COO

Coffee and tea company Royal Cup announced last week that its board of directors had voted to promote CFO Chip Wann to chief operating officer.

Wann is the company’s first COO, a position created to further “support the business’ strategic transformation and continued growth,” according to a press release. In his new role, Wann will focus on daily business and personnel decisions.

“I am honored to contribute to an organization that holds an unwavering commitment to providing its customers with the highest-quality products and service,” said Wann in the release. “I recognize what a significant responsibility the Smith family has entrusted to me, and look forward to collaborating closely with leaders across the organization as I begin this new role.”

Wann held the CFO position at Royal Cup for two years. Prior to that, he served as COO and CFO at marketing company MSpark.

“As CFO, Chip played an instrumental role in positioning Royal Cup for sustainable, profitable growth,” said Bill Smith, Royal Cup’s President and CEO. “Our team, along with my family, is excited to see what further impact Chip’s leadership and invaluable contributions will bring to Royal Cup.”

This promotion comes two months after the company announced a rebrand of its product portfolio in February, introducing four core brands — Prideland, Royal Cup Signature, ROAR and H.C. Valentine — to the market over the following months.