- Plant-based cheese company Good Planet has added Bart Adlam as its second CEO. He will work alongside company founder and co-CEO David Israel, according to a press release sent to Food Dive.
- The new CEO comes with a 30-year career history that includes holding CEO positions at Chef’s Cut Jerky and Siggi’s, as well as experience working at large CPG firms such as Post Cereal.
- In the release, Adlam said he plans to grow the brand dramatically during the next year. “As impressive as the accomplishments to date have been by David and the Good Planet team, the brand is just getting started," he said. "We’re going to continue innovating and significantly grow distribution, driving growth in the brand, the plant-based cheese segment and the category overall.”
In bringing Adlam on board, Good Planet adds to the fold a seasoned executive. Adlam’s two most recent CEO positions ended with a sale to larger manufacturers. Siggi’s grew into a $150 million yogurt brand before it was sold to Lactalis in 2018. Chef’s Cut became a part of Krave owner Sonoma Brands in July for an unspecified sum. Now, as the new co-CEO for Good Planet he makes no secret about his aim to grow the company rapidly.
Adlam and Good Planet should benefit from favorable trends in the food space. Plant-based cheese is a booming category with sales worth $133.2 million between August 2017 and August 2018 — up 41% from the year before, according to Nielsen data collected by the Good Food Institute. The growth outpaced plant-based meat where sales jumped 23% during the same time period.
Good Planet has participated in the growth by bringing its options into the mainstream after launching into foodservice in late 2018. The company’s cheese is paired with the Impossible Burger at restaurant chain White Castle. It also sells its products in many mainstream retailers including Walmart and Safeway.
It was only a matter of time before cheese became the next battle ground in the $939 million plant-based arena. Cheese is traditionally served on many products such as lasagna, burgers and pizza that are currently undergoing a facelift to reemerge with meat-alternative options. In May, Good Planet closed a $12 million Series A funding round with the intention of adding financial support to its product development, sales and marketing efforts.
Additional funding and a new CEO with experience growing companies into category leaders should help Good Planet compete in an increasingly crowded space. Already, Good Planet differentiates its product by making it in Greece using a process similar to one used for animal-based pizza cheese, Israel told Food Navigator. The result is a melty cheese that can convincingly stand in for the real deal – something that has proven difficult to accomplish with other plant-based options.
While having two-CEOs is unusual, it's not an unheard of arrangement. Many tech companies such as Blackberry and Oracle have taken this approach over the years, and Whole Foods assumed this structure until 2016. In Whole Foods’ case, the company kept the founder as one CEO while bringing on an experienced industry executive with management and operational experience to grow the brand.
Good Planet has taken a similar approach and is bringing on experience. It's also keeping the heart of the company at the top, and with that a leader who has knowledge of how to grow the business and has played a key role in establishing its culture and innovative prowess. According to Business Insider, such an approach has proven to be advantageous and gives companies a better opportunity to pursue their goals.