Vermont Creamery recently welcomed Kate Paine as its new Director of Marketing and I had the pleasure of speaking with her personally to learn about both her history within the industry and how Vermont Creamery is posed to take on more growth. After being acquired by farmer-owned cooperative Land O’Lakes in 2017, the dairy company is now more than ever dialing into its history, culture, and values—and Kate will be leading the charge on this front.
“Our company is growing rapidly, and we have the important task ahead of scaling the business while maintaining the core values that make our team so strong. As part of the leadership team, my goal is to help consciously grow the business and lead the marketing practice, maintaining the craft, care, and agility that have been key to our success, but adopting new tools and practices that will propel our growth,” Kate explained to me.
Within her new role, she will be working on marrying the small business best practices with the world-class capabilities of Land O’Lakes.
“It’s a priority at this stage to ‘bottle the magic’ of our culture and values, and know how these translate as we grow,” Kate noted. “Our goals for 2020 include continuing to build our reputation as a values-led company; growing a meaningful space in our consumer’s lives as a specialty dairy producer that makes dairy that tastes better because it’s made better; and driving new innovation across our core portfolios. I’m so grateful to be starting with the foundation of a strong team, fantastic products, mindful leadership at the company, and a slate of excellent partners.”
Kate is no stranger to the food industry, having worked at Ben & Jerry’s and The Hershey Company. Throughout her years at both companies, she learned about how values can successfully permeate a large organization.
“Through my years working in ice cream, beverage, alcohol, and confection, I’ve grown a deep respect and appreciation for the role of our products in bringing people together for special moments, conversation and connection, and rootedness in our food systems that keep us more human,” she shared.
Although working in dairy is a pivot in direction for Kate, she remarked that it still touches on this human connection that drives us in this industry.
“Vermont Creamery’s craft is part science, but largely art, as our makers make small accommodations for these variations. It requires the human touch and keeps us as makers and everyone who enjoys our products closer to the terroir than we might otherwise be. Aged cheese, cultured butter, and our culinary creams are a direct link from our local farms to households across the country, and there are remarkable craftspeople at each step along the way,” Kate said.
She was drawn to Vermont Creamery by the many things that make it a stand-out in the dairy community: by its strong culture rooted in values and its passionate people.
“We’re foodies with a cheesemaking passion and a cooking obsession; we can be in our muck boots on the farm in the morning and in the kitchen making mascarpone risotto for the team at lunch,” Kate remarked. “And we have a practical, entrepreneurial spirit that keeps things exciting—we still make decisions around a table, listen to our instincts, choose partners based on our values, and care more about the business than we care about ourselves. It’s an exciting place to be, and there are many great things to come in 2020 and beyond.”
Deli Market News congratulates Kate on this new position and looks forward to what lies ahead for Vermont Creamery!