The Natural List – Founders Heritage elevates diversity in CPG

Jake Deleon, founder of Fila Manila and co-founder of Founders Heritage, challenges the CPG paradigm and takes action around equity in funding and retail distribution.

New Hope Network staff

September 13, 2023

In this episode, Jake Deleon joins Jessica and Adrienne to discuss how he uses his entrepreneurial experience to elevate diverse founders.  

Founders Heritage is a community of entrepreneurs whose products represent the founder’s authentic heritage. From its launch with five brands to a thriving community of 60, including Yai's Thai, Maazah, Nona Lim and others, Founders Heritage celebrates cultural diversity in CPG and retail. 

Join the three-time NEXTY Award winner as he shares insights from the other side of the NEXTY judging table. Eager to meet some of the Founders Heritage brands leading the charge of global flavors? Check out the Founders Heritage block at Expo East in Exhibit Hall A.


  • 3:35 - Meet Jake Deleon, founder of Fila Manila and co-founder of Founders Heritage.

  • 5:25 - The importance of consumer education about diversity and the nuance of representation.

  • 8:35 - Jake Deleon comes to Boulder, Colorado!

  • 13:30 - What it's like to be a brand judging the NEXTYs.

  • 16:20 - The story behind Founders Heritage.

  • 19:00 - Jake details the learnings that emerge from this thriving community of diverse brands.

  • 21:00 - Looking ahead: What needs to change to bring more equity to the CPG industry?

  • 22:25 - Brands share their stories through the Founders Heritage certified program.

  • 30:05 - It’s time for The List with Jessica and Adrienne.

Related:The Natural List – Forbes, Pop Up Grocer's natural product insights

Brands featured in this episode’s segment of The List: Xinca Foods, Maazah, Wild Orchard, Nona Lim and Tia Lupita Foods.

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 guest

About Jake Deleon

CEO and Founder of Fila Manila
Co-Founder of Founders Heritage

Fila Manila was founded by Jake Deleon, a 1st generation Filipino American immigrant.  He started in the food business early on by helping his mom prepare Filipino delicacies at home to then sell for extra family income. Jake eventually enjoyed a successful career in marketing working with the world's largest food companies including Procter & Gamble and Starbucks before launching his 1st startup, Origin Almond, which KraftHeinz invested in.  He founded Fila Manila in 2020 drawing inspiration from his (very) Filipino family and the realization that there is little-to-no representation of his culture's cuisine in the market even though Filipinos are amongst the largest Asian American communities.  

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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