Meeting Jerry James Stone was a serendipitous moment of connection. Our paths crossed at the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show in the Specialty Food Association’s press room—two Sacramento, California, natives who followed the food industry to New York City. Jerry, a well-known plant-based blogger and content creator, had quite the story to share.
“I started off in the food industry a bit before 2012. I was covering environmental topics for the Discovery Channel, writing for many blogs there, and had kicked off a sustainable food and wine blog with them. At first, I was mostly writing about the wineries, but I eventually took over the food segment and my content was a hit,” Jerry begins telling me. “A friend working at YouTube asked me to make videos and I gave it a try. It just took off from there.”
As a vegetarian of over 35 years, Jerry’s primary mission is to encourage consumers to live a more plant-forward lifestyle and practice sustainability.
“Would I love for consumers to be fully vegetarian? Yes. But I don't judge...I want to move the needle and I believe that means welcoming and respecting everyone's journey,” Jerry points out. “That is why I post a lot of science-based food storage tips and hacks. I also focus on food waste by showing people all the different ways they can eat or use a plant.”
Jerry also works with various food brands to help amplify their message while diversifying his content. He says that collaborating with these brands is another example of how he practices sustainability in the food industry.
“I am always looking for brands I can align with and contribute to their journey and growth long-term. If they succeed, I succeed,” Jerry explains. “For that reason, I typically avoid one-offs. Any brand marketer worth their weight in salt knows it takes many touch points to get your message across. So, I choose brands where I want to be a part of that journey and we work together to build something sustainable. And I often try to show their products in fun ways that are a bit outside the box. I think this helps my fans understand that brand potential.”
Going back to our first meeting in New York, Jerry also brings up a good point that the business-to-business space is an integral channel for building brand recognition and having an influence on food trends.
“Sometimes brands underestimate the potential influences they can have in the B2B space too. Yes, I have a big consumer base, but I attend food shows and am part of that community as well. My audience is also buyers, journalists, TV hosts, celebrities, etc,” Jerry points out. “The last food show I attended, I did a TV segment on sustainable foods and shared it on social media; it was later shared by actress Darryl Hannah. Influencers are a nexus for many industry touchpoints. You just have to find the right one.”
As a trade news writer who also lives a plant-forward life, I align closely with Jerry’s values and encourage you to check out his work. And be prepared to hear more from this food industry pundit in the future!