Drink Your Veggies: In the kitchen with Medlie
The convenience of prepackaged juices and the allure of all that tasty health in a bottle have turned what was once a trend into a solid, sustainable segment of the food industry, both in and out of America’s biggest cities.
As the demand for these green juices has grown, so, too, has the supply, with the top tier getting ever higher while the lower, everyday brands of juice have hopped onto the bandwagon. It’s a crowded green world out there, with dozens of juices claiming to be the tastiest, healthiest, or most organic.
We caught up with Jen Berliner, CEO of Medlie, which prides itself on making it easy to get everyday whole, organic vegetables, to chat about what inspires the brand to stand out in the crowded green world out there.
Tell us about Medlie
Medlie makes veggie drinks, shots and mashes from blended, whole organic vegetables. Everything we do is inspired by the idea of making it simple, accessible and enjoyable to fit more vegetables into our busy on the go lives! In particular, our veggie drinks are designed to be a much healthier alternative to other ready-to-drink options like juices (no fiber to keep your blood sugar stable), smoothies (filled with sugary fruit), and so many more than contain added sugar or artificial ingredients – that’s where the company started and we’ve since expanded into other formats like shots and mashes based on feedback from our amazing community.
How did you become interested in this industry and what has your career path been like?
My family would attest to the fact that I’ve always had a passion for food! And beyond that, I became very interested during college in the idea of behavioral change and how you can get people to change their behavior for the better. After college, I worked in Washington, D.C., at an advertising agency that focused on political and progressive policy issues like climate change and health care reform. I was in direct contact with consumers, engaging with them in focus groups and I got more interested in learning the day-to-day choices that people care about, which brought me back to my passion for food and healthy eating. I decided to pursue business school where I received my MBA. After I graduated, I was hired at PepsiCo, where I worked on brand management and developing and commercializing innovation – it was amazing training as they rotate roles often so I was able to wear a lot of hats. In 2016, I made the move to the west coast where I was eager to help build a brand that was smaller and faster. I couldn’t be happier now to be building a healthy food brand working to make small daily choices a little more fun, delicious and easy for people!
What do you love most about what you do?
I absolutely love building a brand and product line that has so much integrity, and that I believe in wholeheartedly. I have Medlie every single day, and feel genuinely great about sharing it with my friends, family, our community, and the world more broadly! Running a startup does have highs and lows, but the excitement, pace, and variety of every single day also means it never gets old – in the best way possible.
What inspired you to create the flavors in the current lineup?
Our flavors are inspired by natural beauty of simple ingredients like carrots and avocado! We are all about hero-ing the vegetable – it’s our most important asset! On top of that, we listen carefully to customer feedback to get ideas on how to tweak specific profiles, or think about integrating a highly requested new ingredient. And we always make sure to respect our product guardrails –Certified Organic vegetables, no added sugar, low sodium, nothing artificial, dairy/gluten/soy-free and very little (if any) fruit are non-negotiables for us!
Can you give an overview of your production process and its impacts on the environment?
Even though it happens at a large scale, our production process is super simple – picture a giant Vitamix with tons of whole vegetables being dumped in and blended up, often with seeds and skins and everything (that’s where a lot of the nutrition lies)! Once a recipe is blended, we bottle it and then use High Pressure Processing (HPP) to ensure food safety and shelf life, without the need for heat pasteurization or stabilizers – which would compromise our nutritional integrity. We source imperfect vegetables whenever possible in each recipe to help reduce food waste in the supply chain, and we further vote with our dollars by purchasing only organic ingredients. We’re also always sourcing from as close to home (California) to get the best of seasonal flavors while minimizing transit.
What is Medlie's mission and why is it important in 2019?
Medlie’s mission is to make it easy and convenient to get high quality, unprocessed, organic veggies into your daily life. Our fresh, plant-based drinks and snacks are made for busy people who want to eat healthy and feel great without compromising.
What is your life motto?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”