The Natural List – Finding CPG’s ‘sweet spot’ with less sugar

Join guests Jessie Shafer from The Real Food Dietitians and Deb Eschmeyer from Original Strategies and PLEZi Nutrition for the latest trends in sugar reduction.

29 Min Listen

In this episode of The Natural List, co-hosts Jessica Rubino and Adrienne Smith are joined by nutrition experts Jessie Shafer and Deb Eschmeyer.  

According to Eschmeyer, two out of three children on average drink a sugary beverage every day. Moreover, children consume approximately fifty-three pounds of added sugar per year. To combat this acclimation to extremely sweet products, many CPG brands are starting to reduce added sugar and natural sweeteners in children’s products and increasing nutrients like fiber and protein. Bottom line: when it comes to sweetness, less is more. 

Tune in to this week’s episode to learn all about Gen Z-Alpha, taste bud therapy and the power of flavor. 

In this episode:   

  • 2:50 – Let's talk about sugar! 

  • 3:55 – Get to know Jessie Shafer, registered dietitian with The Real Food Dietitians. 

  • 5:30 – Meet the founder of Original Strategies and the Kitchen Cabinet Chair at PLEZi Nutrition, Deb Eschmeyer. 

  • 7:00 – The impact of the CPG industry on American households. 

  • 9:10 – How can we shift consumer expectations? 

  • 10:45 – Taste bud therapy? 

  • 12:00 – Deb talks about PLEZi and what attributes will appeal to children and parents alike. 

  • 18:35 – Gen Z-Alpha: the target audience. 

  • 20:20 – Trends in low-sugar and sugar-free CPG. 

  • 24:15 – It's time for The List! 

Brands featured in this episode’s segment of The List: PLEZi Nutrition, TIM TAM TUMMY Kids Kombucha, GoodPop and Caliwater. 

Enjoy this new episode here and wherever you listen to your podcasts, including Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts.   

Interested in being a guest on The Natural List? Email us at [email protected]

Our guests

Jessie Shafer, RD 

Registered Dietitian at The Real Food Dietitians 


Jessie Shafer is an editor and registered dietitian with 20+ years in print and digital publishing plus 9 years in the natural products industry helping brands connect with retailers, health professionals, and consumers. Jessie recently co-founded crdible, a boutique consulting agency that harnesses the expertise, influence, and credibility of registered dietitians to help better-for-you brands successfully bring meaningful innovation to market. Jessie is also editor at The Real Food Dietitians, a multimedia content platform managed by registered dietitians and with a monthly reach of 1.5 million health-seeking consumers. The former director of influence and health education at New Hope Network, Jessie has experienced firsthand the profound impact credentialed health experts can have on a brand’s success, consumer adoption and industry standards. 

Deb Eschmeyer 
Co-Founder at Original Strategies 


The former director of influence and health education at New Hope Network, Jessie has experienced firsthand the profound impact credentialed health experts can have on a brand’s success, consumer adoption and industry standards. 

A social entrepreneur with a relentless passion, Deb Eschmeyer has dedicated her career to making safe, healthy, delicious food available to all. She served in several health-related positions in the Obama Administration, such as championing more nutritious school meals. Prior to that, she co-founded FoodCorps, a nonprofit that connectd kids to healthy food, and she started Harvest Sun Farm, an organic fruit and vegetable farm in rural Ohio. 

Deb co-founded and runs Original Strategies, a public affairs company that helps creators make meaningful change in the world. She currently serves on the boards of Once Upon a Farm and Frontier Co-op. She also has served as a senior fellow and head of innovation at the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University, and as the vice president of communications and community affairs for Danone North America. Deb is a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award and the Xavier University Magis Award. In her spare time, you can find her dancing with her baby and toddler in the garden. 

Your hosts 

About Jessica Rubino  


Jessica Rubino is a natural products industry expert and content strategist with more than 15 years experience in media, events and natural products. As New Hope Network’s vice president of content, Jessica oversees digital and print content, conference programming and branded content for CPGs, retailers, investors and service providers. Jessica is passionate about using innovation as a force for good and leveraging content to spark the changes we want to see in the world.  

About Adrienne Smith  


Adrienne Smith is the director of content for and the editor-in-chief of Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine where she helps ideate and produce content for natural products retailers, brands and entrepreneurs. Before coming to New Hope Network, she spent nearly two decades writing about food and beverage products and trends for the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Trade in Madrid, Spain, as well as for publications including the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and El País

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