Seeding Success with Mike Fata of Manitoba Harvest | re:COGs Episode #44

Mike Fata's Journey from Hemp Enthusiast to Industry Titan

In the latest episode of the re:COGs podcast, host Mike Gelb takes us on an inspiring journey with Mike Fata, the visionary founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, as he shares the story of his personal health revolution and how it fueled a global hemp food empire.

From Personal Health to Global Hemp Health Revolution

Mike Fata’s story is nothing short of inspirational. Once an overweight high school dropout, Fata embarked on a journey of self-discovery and health transformation that led him to the wonders of hemp. His passion for nutrition and healthy living was the seed that sprouted Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, a company that has become synonymous with high-quality hemp food products worldwide.

Overcoming Challenges and Setting Industry Standards

Fata’s journey was not without its hurdles. From battling government-led and generational disinformation about hemp to pioneering a new category in the food industry, Fata’s tenacity and vision were instrumental in the mainstream adoption of hemp-based foods. Under his leadership, Manitoba Harvest not only educated consumers about the nutritional benefits of hemp but also set new standards in sustainability and product quality.

The Power of Dreaming Big and Leading with Purpose

Reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey, Fata shares a poignant regret: not dreaming bigger from the start. Despite this, his achievements are monumental, with Manitoba Harvest reaching over $100 million in annual sales and experiencing two nine-figure exits. Fata’s story is a testament to the power of dreaming big, leading with purpose, and the impact of sustainable, health-focused business practices.

A Legacy of Innovation and Sustainability

Manitoba Harvest’s commitment to sustainability and quality is evident in its B-Corp and carbon-neutral certifications. The company’s seed-to-shelf approach and close relationships with hemp growers ensure the highest standards are met across its product portfolio. Fata’s vision of a sustainable, health-conscious food industry continues to inspire and drive Manitoba Harvest’s mission forward.

Tune In for a Dose of Inspiration

Mike Fata’s journey from a personal health crusade to founding Manitoba Harvest is a powerful reminder of the impact one individual can have on an industry and the world. His story encourages us to dream big, lead with purpose, and never underestimate the power of a healthy, sustainable business model.

Re:COGs eisode #44 with Mike Fata is a must-listen for anyone interested in the intersection of personal health, entrepreneurship, and sustainable business practices. Listeners will gain valuable insights into building a successful brand, overcoming industry challenges, and the importance of staying true to one’s values.

Mike Gelb and Mike Fata Discuss:

  • Discovering the health benefits of hemp and recognizing the potential for a hemp-based food business
  • Sourcing raw materials, learning about manufacturing processes, and leveraging resources like the Food Development Center to launch the business
  • The grassroots approach to marketing and selling the first hemp oil product at local health food stores and health consumer shows
  • Expanding from direct sales to retailers to partnering with distributors by bringing them existing business
  • Maintaining strong gross margins through vertical integration and efficient manufacturing at scale, despite rising input costs
  • Inventory planning and manufacturing based on demand, starting with small runs and gradually increasing production as the business grew
  • Focusing on developing individual SKUs to reach significant sales targets before introducing new products
  • Strategies for driving sales velocity in stores, including understanding category expectations, creating a minimum viable customer base, and pricing for regular purchases
  • Financing inventory and managing working capital through different stages of growth using a combination of equity, debt, and lines of credit
  • The decision to vertically integrate and invest in manufacturing facilities for long-term growth and profitability

Listen to the Entire re:COGs Series:

Tune in to re:COGs, the podcast series that examines the essential aspects of inventory management, supply chain optimization, and operational excellence, all through a COGs-focused lens.

Hear business operators and thought leaders from growing consumer brands share their thoughts on product manufacturing.  Through inspiring stories and critical conversations with top experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries, listeners are treated to valuable insights and actionable advice that can be applied to any growing business as it scales up operations.

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