Empowering Movements for the Greater Good

Eating at a Meeting Podcast Episode 145

Friends for more than 30 years reconnect to chat about food.

Smiling Man in a Panama Jack hat and white shirt. His name is Gagan

In April Tracy re-met Gagan (Jared Levy) (he/him) after 30 years. They were both attending the Natural Products Expo where he was a multi-session speaker on how to build businesses for good that prioritize the planet and people while maximizing profit.

As founder and chief creative director of marketing agency Guru, Gagan’s mission is to increase joy and reduce suffering on this planet through innovative, strategic creativity for brands who are creating the most quality products in the most conscious ways.

Listen to their conversation, as they reconnect again after 30 years to talk about how organizations — and the events they host — can be creative, foster long-term growth, empower movements, build healthier communities, and contribute to a more equitable food system.

Gagan Jared Levy

Founder and creative director of award winning creative agency Guru works with Patagonia, Numi Tea, Sambazon, Rebbl, Net Zero Packaging, Non GMO project, JEDI. He was board chair of the prestigious Social Venture Circle and on the board of his teacher Ram Dass’ Love Serve Remember Foundation…

What do safe, inclusive & sustainable food and beverage experiences look like to you?
Ones where the products have been curated with people and planet in mind…triple bottom line companies. IT isn’t enough to just sell a food or beverage…companies need to think about how they can deliver them in the most conscious way possible, such as: limiting negative externalities, increasing impact, B corp principles, 1% For the Planet, Community Giveback, JEDI principles such as access, etc.

Do you have an example of a situation that negatively effected you and/or other individuals or groups’ food and beverage experience?
Just got back from a conference that is supposed to be a convening of socially minded investors and CEO’s that had single use plastic water bottles in every room. Why wouldn’t they give out a water bottle and have stations or do a Path water bottle which is reusable. Hotels need to curate better and convenings should demand it..

What is a best practice you use/or have seen to create safe, sustainable, and inclusive F&B experiences?

Regenerative Organic Certification pulls in principles of regenerative (carbon pull down into soil), organic and fair trade into an aspirational certification that retailers are getting behind, brands are funding and farmers are shifting towards.

Also, very proud of the net zero packaging campaign we launched this year at Expo that now has over 90 brands signed up to it. B2B2C movements have the power to shift this world if done right!

What do you wish people knew about what you do?
We get a lot of credit for the bigger flashier creative campaigns we launch to the world for brands that are household names, but we put just as much time and energy into pro bono and low bono systemic change movements to fundamentally shift our natural products community towards healthier choices that could heal our food/beverage systems. Happy to give more details on this..

What is your favorite food and your favorite drink?
Anything ethnic!! Indian family style meal with a good chai afterwards probably my favorite!..


Connect with Gagan —   Website  |  LinkedIn  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

Check out other featured guests on the Eating at a Meeting podcast.

Eating at a Meeting is part of the Nitty Grits Podcasts network