Episode 244: Robert Lambert

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Robert Lambert, Wall Street trader turned Founder and CEO of Vantage Point Media, used to hate his roots growing up on his grandfather’s ranch in Mettler, California (just outside of Bakersfield), hence the move all the way to Manhattan. But his agricultural heritage didn’t leave him, and after starting Vantage Point Media with his cousin, he was inspired to push agricultural news and media to the entire industry, similar to Gary Vaynerchuck’s Wine Library. 

Robert’s cousin was pitching to companies like Food Network at the time, and they partnered to start making demo reels and marketing videos for companies like 4 Star Farms. But doing one-off projects wasn’t enough for Robert, which is how AndNowUKnow came to life. ANUK is an online publication that delivers current news, trends and produce industry market updates, while giving everyone across the supply chain an opportunity to share their own press and product releases, promotions and marketable events. Vantage Point Media also has the publications DeliMarketTV, a trade news website for the Deli industry, and The Snack, which is a printed magazine that is published about 10 times a year sharing “bite sized” highlights and stories from retailers and suppliers in produce. Plus, VPM has an online job marketing agency called Joe Produce, helping employers and job seekers in product connect in an easy, cost-effective manner.

One of the things that excites Robert the most about all of Vantage Point Media’s publications is that he gets to connect with so many incredible people in this industry and paint them in the positive light they deserve. Not only does this encourage business, but it often leads to opportunities like a big purchase order from a major retailer in food service. 

“The fabric of this industry captures my spirit and warms my heart and keeps me invigorated to do my job day in and day out.” Robert Lambert (2:26-2:34)

Being a top publication in the produce industry, Robert is well aware of the industry’s breaking headlines, mergers and acquisitions, major events, and forecasts for the upcoming years. What was this year’s top headline? The major merger with Albertsons and Kroger, which we discussed on Episode 239 with Brittain Ladd. Other hot topics include regenerative farming, the use of plastics and countries that are banning them, like France, consolidation, and everyone’s favorite right now, inflation. Coming from Robert’s perspective as someone on top of the industry’s trends and with a strong financial background, Robert believes we’re going to see inflation going down soon. This is positive to hear considering how major news outlets have been promoting a narrative that eating out on Thanksgiving is cheaper than cooking a healthy meal at home.

Fun fact: Robert’s favorite piece of produce is the Champagne Mango! Did you know mangos just hit the U.S.’s top ten list of produce this year, when it’s been the world’s favorite piece of fruit for years?!

It is a good sign for the industry that there are many companies who are receiving private equity and private investment capital to keep businesses thriving. Robert says we’re seeing investors like this who are helping out, for example, family businesses where not all of the siblings want to be involved anymore. The investors are typically hands-off and not interested in controlling how the business is run. Plus, there’s businesses like GrubMarket popping up, too. You can think of GrubMarket as the “Amazon” of the supply chain side of produce. They’re backed by the major investment group Blackstone and help businesses connect to wholesalers, utilize tech efficiency solutions, and start delivering groceries straight to customers’ doors.  All in all, Robert is just as passionate about produce as Lori and the rest of The Produce Moms are. Lori and Robert highlight some incredible, behind the scenes names in produce on this episode that you’ll want to hear about, and just how much you can learn from veterans in the industry if you’re just getting your start in agriculture. Make sure to start following the industry’s insider news from AndNowUKnow (www.andnowuknow.com), The Snack (www.thesnack.net), and Deli Market News (www.delimarketnews.com). 

How to get involved

  • Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week! 
  • Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here

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About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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