It’s not easy to start your own food brand and get it off the ground. Larissa Russell and Fiona Lee found that out firsthand when their company, Green Pea Cookie, failed.
Their natural vegan cookies built a loyal following of customers, but they struggled to get on shelves due to challenges navigating the complexities of the country’s wholesale food distribution system. So Russell and Lee decided to start over and create a new company that helped other emerging food brands avoid the same roadblock they ran into.
That company, Pod Foods, now works with over 600 food and beverage brands from across the country.
Pod Foods created a tech-forward distribution and logistics platform to help food brands of all sizes get their products into grocery stores and new markets. The company started in San Francisco in late 2017, and then expanded to Chicago this summer.
Now, Pod Foods is expanding to New York, and it’s bringing its portfolio of food brands with it. This gives the company strategic positions in both the East and West Coasts, as well as the Midwest.
“We had been looking at New York for quite some time because a lot of our vendors wanted us to work there,” Pod Foods co-founder and CEO Larissa Russell told Built In. “We are working with a bunch of brands that are looking to grow their business, but if they’re not currently based in a specific location, it becomes challenging to enter a new region.”
An opportunity presented itself when Pod Foods found New York-based distribution company Spense, which already had a well established network in New York. Pod Foods announced that it was doing an assets acquisition and integrating the Spense network into its business, giving the company a head start in New York.
“Spense was created to help smaller makers grow their businesses and connect them with like-minded retailers that believe in the magic of making quality goods. We’re thrilled to transfer our vision to Pod Foods, a growing company that is aligned with us in so many ways.” George Markoulakis, founder of Spense, said in a statement.
Pod Foods also recently announced that it’s expanding its presence in Los Angeles — another strategic location for California and the Southwest. And even with four hubs in major cities, Pod Foods sees more expansion in its future.