HAMUTAL YITZHAK, CEO OF ELSE NUTRITION - AWARD WINNER, LEADERSHIP PROFILE
HAMUTAL YITZHAK, CEO OF ELSE NUTRITION INC. HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEESS TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.
Hamutal Yitzhak is a successful serial entrepreneur and inventor, with a series of global patents and innovations under her name, coupled with a portfolio of novel innovative foods that are nutritious, nourishing and preventive.
Hamutal has dedicated most of her professional life to infant & child nutrition, and in recent years has relentlessly focused on the mission of making healthier cleaner foods accessible and available to everyone. In the last few years, Hamutal has been a trail blazer in this industry and has challenged the global infant formula industry by developing and producing natural clean foods, focusing on the transparency of ingredients and manufacturing processes to provide the cleanest and healthiest products possible.
In addition to bringing about paradigm-shifting change to the infant nutrition sector on a global scale, the advancement has also stemmed from placing new thinking and emphasis on early childhood nutrition – merging the sciences of both infant nutrition and alternative health food.
Hamutal is currently the Chairwoman, CEO & Co-Founder of Else Nutrition Holdings Inc, (TSXV: BABY), (OTC: BABYF) which developed “Else” – the first 100% plant-based, globally patented dairy-free and soy-free baby nutrition, providing the first-ever viable alternative to traditional infant nutrition based on cow's milk and soy - which have been the standard for over 100 years. Else Nutrition was recently recognized by the TSX, a 2021 Venture 50TM Company, for best performance.
Nearly 13 years ago Hamutal Co-founded “HEART” vegan baby snacks, changing the face of the Israeli baby food industry, developing, and producing a series of 100% plant based, clean and healthy baby food snacks, which later became Israel's leading brand in the baby snacks category. Prior to that, Hamutal held various senior management positions within global healthcare companies, specializing in infant and child nutrition, including the Head of Infant Nutrition at Abbott Laboratories, Israel.
She also spearheaded the campaign against BPA in Israel, one of the first countries to recognize the dangerous substance, and increased public awareness of the use of BPA in baby bottles in the early 2000’s, offering consumers the first safe alternative, a step that drove many other western countries around the globe at a later stage, to follow the same pathway, until banning BPA from baby products became a global consensus.
Hamutal holds a BSc with honors in Psychology and General Science and MBA from Tel Aviv University (TAU). She lives in Tel Aviv, married and is a mother of 4.
Tell us about some of the key successes that have been achieved under your leadership in the last 12 months.
Else Nutrition operates in the infant nutrition space, one of the most centralized and complex fields in the food industry, with a very high entry threshold, very few certified manufacturing sites which is 80% dominated by giants such as Abbott, Nestle, Danone and Mead Johnson. This makes operation and competition almost impossible and highly challenging for small start-up companies like Else Nutrition. Those challenges which are integral of being part of the specific industry, were dramatically amplified by Covid 19 in the past year. Before the COVID 19 outbreak in Feb 2020, Else Nutrition has planned to launch it’s first commercial product in NA by end of Q2 2020. Due to pandemic hurdles, this timeline has suddenly become almost impossible to meet, as so many factors have changed dramatically in an instant ( travel constraints , unstaffed 3rd party manufacturers , shut downs ,supply chain issues etc). as part of the company’s organizational culture, Else team has struggled in all fronts to launch its toddler formula on time. Against all odds and hurdles and with combined inexplicable joined forces of the whole Else team, the product was launched in just a few weeks delay than the planned schedule! Else toddler nutrition - the first 100% plant based dairy and soy free product started selling early August 20 on the company's e-store, and immediately afterwards, in September, was launched on Amazon.com store, while in November it already ranked as the best-selling product on Amazon.com’s baby & toddlers formulas new products category .
Subsequently, since August 2020 Else Nutrition has started to successfully build its distribution infrastructure in USA and achieved the following milestones:
Engaged with 4 retail brokers with nationwide coverage to facilitate sales in the retail B&M space I USA,
Signed nation wide distribution agreements with the 2 largest distributors in the US, KEHE DISTRIBUTORS and UNFI (covering over 60,000 doors across America together)
on boarded KEHE distributors innovation program designed for selected brands with the greatest potential for growth.
Expanded into additional e-commerce retailers in the field such as THRIVE and PLANTX.
Began selling its products in retail chains in February 2021 when it first entered Sprouts farmers Market, an all-American chain with 360 stores,
Continued to expand to many more retailers, announcing its entry into the 126-branch RAYLES grocers, BIG Y grocers (71 stores ) and Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers (159 stores).
Engaged with Imperial distributors (4200 doors)
In current talks with dozens of retailers representing additional 5000 doors.
Engaged with IHerb, an international ecommerce platform for natural and organic products with presence in over 180 countries.
Also, Concurrently the company has achieved and executed the following operational milestones:
Ran multiple US marketing celebrity / influencers campaigns, to support brand awareness and growth, led by celebrities like Hilaria Baldwin, Alicia Silverstone and other celebrity moms.
Conducted 5 commercial manufacturing runs to build its inventory
Achieved MoM online sales growth
Achieved repeat customers rate of 40%
Engaged with world class scientific advisory board members to lead and advise on the company’s clinical and scientific pathway
Completed the development of the Else Infant Nutrition product in preparations for the FDA and European clinical trials and regulation processes
Developed a ground-breaking process and IP to remove certain heavy metals from buckwheat to meet the EU infant standards
Developed additional 2 product lines in the infants and kids space to be launched in 2021
Secured funds for the next 18 months company’s growth and expansion through 2 funding rounds conducted in the past 12 months, led by strategic partner in the infant nutrition space (H&H global group)
Named Top 50 TSXV company in 2020 . The Venture 50 winners were selected based on year-over-year performance across three equally-weighted criteria: market capitalization growth, share price appreciation and trading volume for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Please tell us how important innovation is to your company and kindly provide some examples.
Innovation is the lifeblood of Else Nutrition. We are constantly looking for the ‘something’ else that customer and the market are wanting. We have created a breast milk analogue from an innovative combination of 3 plants using a disruptive, beyond organic, food processing which is the most sustainable, all natural, and cleanest in the industry. We are changing the way formula and nutrition are made, by keeping the sources of protein and fats - in our case, whole food plants, intact, changing just their texture and not their chemical structure (as traditionally done in every other formula in our industry).
We’ve been disrupting and innovating in a market that has been stagnant for the last 120 years, with formula being dominated by just 2 protein sources – cow’s milk and soy. We are continuing to expand and innovate our patented technology into other areas, to help solve other nutrition-related issues – malnutrition, chronic metabolic disorders stemming from consumption of inflammatory , highly processed foods and many more. We are working hard to become a global nutrition company that will cater the youngest of people but also the elderly populations in the longer term , providing them the same values of plant based, clean, minimally processed, whole balanced nutrition in the form of consumer packaged goods.
On a company level: Else is both envisioning and creating an entirely new approach to nutrition. One that is a clean revolution, whole food based, and entirely rooted – in the idea that health and clean whole food nutrition go hand in hand. Despite the plant-based boom, and popular belief that eating a plant based diet is enough for good health, Else is on a mission to educate consumers that minimally processed clean foods are what’s necessary and mandatory for long -term health vitality and sustainability.
On the product level: Our mission is a simple one: to educate and create awareness that real alternatives are now a reality for parents who seek cleaner, whole, balanced and sustainable ways to nourish their children.
Else is the only formula in the world that uses whole foods (plants, which are minimally processed), and not isolated / fractionated / derivatives nutrients. That matters because it’s the way nature created foods to be naturally digested. Else focuses on innovative, plant-based food and nutrition products. Revolutionizing the global infant nutrition sector, Else provides real, accessible all natural, whole foods, clean nutrition focusing on the transparency of ingredients and manufacturing process to provide the healthiest and most sustainable products possible in today’s industrial world. We’re been hearing from hundreds of parents, very emotional stories about how Else formula has touched their family, and their little one. Stories ranging from solving digestive issues, to being the only viable nutrition/formula choice their children will tolerate, to helping with failure to thrive , skin and behavioral issues. Else proudly records dozens of reported cases every month testified by its thankful customers in NA, that keep piling up and motivate the Else team to further develop solutions also for adults with special dietary needs as well as other groups of people in need. Our nutrition has been making a clear and deep impact on the lives of customers, often in ways that were beyond our expectations. Else is bringing a real choice in a space where little was previously available.
Please tell us about any Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives at your company.
We are dramatically helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the formula industry, since our carbon footprint is significantly lower than that of the resource heavy cow’s milk-based industry. We are also ushering in a Clean Revolution, providing real, clean label healthy nutritional foundations for today and tomorrow’s generations. As we are a young company, we are going to be implementing CSR our programs soon, which will be focused on feeding the world better, and promoting a greener world. More details to come.
What improvements do you desire to see in your industry and how are you contributing to realizing them?
Else Nutrition is envisioning and creating an entirely new approach to nutrition. One that is a clean revolution, whole food-based, and entirely rooted – in the idea that maintaining sustainable health and eating clean minimally processed whole food nutrition go hand in hand. This all needs to start from birth with a clean slate and proper nutrition habits. Despite the Plant-Based boom, and despite popular belief that eating a Plant-Based diet is enough for good health, Else is on a mission to educate consumers that minimally processed clean foods are what is necessary and mandatory for long -term health vitality and sustainability.
Long term, this shift may radically change the face of our global health system and improve so many lives , by helping prevent diseases through proper nutrition.
On the product level: Our mission is a simple one: to educate and create awareness that real alternatives are now a reality for parents who seek cleaner, whole, balanced, and sustainable ways to nourish their children. We are creating an entirely new category with next generation production processing. Unlike the way infant and toddler nutrition have been produced since the beginning, we have unearthed an entirely new way to process formula – one that does not alter the chemistry of the basic ingredient , rather just naturally alters its texture. We use the cleanest, and most natural, sustainable production process in our industry. That matters, because minimally processed whole foods, contain more nutrients, just as nature intended. Our organic nutrition is primarily made of almonds, tapioca, and buckwheat; three core ingredients that go through a clean, all-natural process that offers a human milk nutritional composition analog directly from the whole plants, along with phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals nature intended to provide as optimal nourishment for children.
In a Nutshell: We make clean nutrition in a responsible and regenerative way that prioritizes both baby and planet. Because we need both to survive. We prioritize sustainable farming and sourcing methods, and use cleaner, more natural methods for extracting and processing our ingredients.
What makes a good leader?
First off, persistence, or as we call it, a bit of ‘chutzpah and real faith in your pathway.’ When we first started this journey almost 9 years ago, people would continually tell us we are crazy, challenging the status quo in this way, and that there is no need in what we offer to the market. Skepticism was all around us and we had to remain focused and steadfast on our goal and mission. This persistence has continued to serve us well with all the unexpected climate and challenges posed by COVID-19 during our year of launch.
Heart. We fundamentally believe that doing good is what should and will get rewarded. We started the company out of compassion – and in search of finding a solution for the grand-daughter of one of our co-founders, who could not tolerate any of the available options on the market. The very preliminary version of Else was born out of this solution which touched a life. We are constantly looking for ways to improve babies’, families’ lives, but also to be better for planet Earth.
For more information about how Else Nutrition is changing the world through clean nutrition, please visit the company's website: www.elsenutrition.com