Produce Processing 7: Mason Arnold
Mason Arnold founded Cece’s Veggie Co. for two reasons. The first, veggies are wonderful. The second, he loves his family.
That second reason is the driving force behind the company. Arnold’s family has dietary restrictions, which contributes to their gluten-free way of life. So he developed his own brand of veggie noodles — which feeds his family and many others. For Mason, it’s all about inspiring others to get their nutrients in and to be creative with a healthy pasta alternative.
Arnold also founded Greenling — an award-winning local and organic food delivery service all over Texas. Using his chemical engineering background, he’s built his businesses and helped to pass organic practices legislation.
1What are the best words of advice you’ve received?
“Early on, the best advice I received was to go find your customer first. It’s easy to be in love with your own idea but if you don’t have enough potential customers who also love it, it’s not worth anything. Many people will sink a ton of time working on a business before they validate that anyone actually wants to buy their product. That’s why I’ve always tried to do market research right out of the gate. I also do it as cheaply as possible – if it turns out people don’t want the product, I don’t want to have wasted a bunch of money. So, every time I have an idea, I try to validate it with potential customers first.”
2 What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“Our mission is to get more people eating more fresh, organic veggies, and we want to keep adding new ways to do that. We’ve created a new category of value-added, ready-to-eat fresh products in the produce case, and my goal will be to continue to innovate in that area. Adding more variety to our product line will continue to eliminate common barriers to cooking with fresh vegetables, and get more consumers on board.”
3 What do you do to relax?
“I have two kiddos and it’s great to step away from work for a bit to run around and play. I’ve also been known to enjoy a great Manhattan, and Austin is full of fun nightlife options to blow off some steam.”
4 What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
“I don’t really buy into caring about my legacy, it’s not a part of my philosophy on life. I want to live by my values while I’m here, and help to make the world a better place for my kids.”
5 What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“I don’t have a bucket list per se, but I definitely believe in living life to the fullest. In my experience that means being open to spontaneous experiences and adventures wherever and whenever they may appear.”
6 What work would you have pursued if you had not been in the fruit and vegetable industry?
“I’m always going to be focused on a way to impact sustainability for the good of the planet. I’ve thought about working on clean water initiatives, chemical detection, and of course organics. I’ll be in this space for my entire career for sure.”
7 What is the one truth you’ve learned about the fruit and vegetable industry?
“The people in the produce industry are some of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met.”