SPINS and Green Spoon Sales Expand Their Partnership

December 4, 2023
by SPINS Marketing

Exploring the benefits of working with a natural-focused broker

Brokers are a vital part of the CPG space, but they’re often overlooked because they are working behind the scenes. SPINS and Green Spoon Sales, a natural food and beverage broker, have a longstanding partnership and share a commitment to bringing natural products to a wider audience.

Brandon Casteel, SPINS’ VP of Partnerships, has had a front-row seat to Green Spoon’s success.  “It’s been quite fun to grow together with Green Spoon over the past several years. We are extraordinarily mission-aligned in what we do, and they are an absolute pleasure to work with and a force to be reckoned with in our industry.”

Ben Skeen, VP of Business Intelligence and Innovation for Green Spoons Sales, sat down with SPINS to dive deeper into the often-overlooked value that brokers bring and what this partnership means for brands and retailers.


How do you describe Green Spoon Sales to anyone who might not be familiar with it?

Green Spoon Sales is a national natural food and beverage broker based in Boulder that services the natural, conventional, e-commerce, wholesale classes of trade. Our love is in the natural channel and natural products, and we exist to serve and be stewards to the natural channel.

Green Spoon Sales is built on 3 pillars: people, planet, and profit. People are what make this industry and our relationships work. Our industry is intimately tied to the health of our planet—groceries, farmers, supply chain—which is why we invest 1 percent of our profits back to 1% For The Planet, and not just in monetary donations but also in volunteerism. And part of our ethos is being able to support all these initiatives because we are a profitable organization that generates the revenue. People often avoid talking about profit, but it doesn’t change the fact you are still a business, and you need to be successful to make all of these other wonderful things happen.

Does your commitment to bettering the world while still making a profit affect the kind of businesses you work with?

Absolutely. We talk with so many brands who—yes, they want to grow their business in retailers—want to know if we align with their values and approach to business. We’ve had countless conversations with brands whose previous broker didn’t align with them culturally—nor with their mission—and they wanted someone who represented the same beliefs in the space. Green Spoon was that partner that they trusted.

Green Spoon was born and bred in the natural channel, and we wanted to be that representative force for good. Kari Pedriana, our CEO, founded Green Spoon based on experience in a former job where she watched brokers and retailers work together. It became clear that the natural channel needed better representation in these relationships, and she wanted to fill the gap since no one else was.

How would you describe the partnership between SPINS and Green Spoon Sales?

The partnership is born of deep collaboration. Yes, we’re certainly customers of SPINS, but it is much more than that. SPINS is bounded and rooted in a knowledge base centered around the natural channel. We really are two peas in a pod. We both have this common mission and desire to affect change and have just naturally grown so close over the years.

From an analyst perspective, I’m such a big proponent of education for using data and making sure you’re using data properly because so many people aren’t. Root your sales and understanding of your performance in facts because that’s what a retail account is going to look for. Bringing that understanding of a single source of truth and common language to our brands is important to me, and it’s clearly important to SPINS.

Why is now the right time to expand that partnership?

From a 60,000-foot view, the greatest achievement is seeing how much Green Spoon has grown year after year. It may sound corny, but there’s nothing I like more than when our brands are winning. It’s something we get to experience every day and it’s amazing that there are more successes each year. When more natural and better-for-you products get placed into more and more grocery stores, that’s what drives us. Those are wins for all of our brands and for all of our partners. From the outside looking in, it seems like we just sell groceries; when you’re in it every day it’s just so much more. Everyone puts so much blood, sweat and tears into making this industry work.  We get to be part of someone getting their natural products on the shelves and into someone’s baskets so they can enjoy better food. That’s magic for us.


Not everyone understands what brokers do and the value they bring. Can you give insight into the role that Green Spoon plays for its clients?

At the end of the day, brokers are all about relationships—honest, true relationships with retailers all over the country. We are committed to fostering and nourishing those relationships. When a brand comes to us and says they want to talk to someone at a retailer, we have that relationship and influence. We understand what products the buyer wants to bring into their store, and we have SPINS data to craft a story that addresses their priorities. That’s ultimately what we’re trying to do: join the right brands and retailers together.

Data plays a big role in how Green Spoon helps those brands and retailers come together. Does a brand need to be well-versed in working with data before they engage with a broker?

No, because the right broker will help you get there, whether you’re an emerging brand or a mature one. I am passionate—as is everyone here at Green Spoon—about getting people comfortable with data. Looking at reports and tables can be intimidating for anyone at first, but the sooner you get comfortable reading and understanding data, the sooner you’ll see positive changes. That’s why we take the time to show brands what kind of data they should be paying attention to and how to use it. We want our partners to understand that data is empowering, not scary. Every brand needs to understand the world they’re operating in. Data provides that context.