About Bob Goldberg
Visionary, sustainability leader, health food advocate and co-founder and CEO of Follow Your Heart, Bob Goldberg did not picture himself as an entrepreneur in the natural food industry in his early years.
Chicago-born Goldberg attended Indiana University during the mid-1960s and while there met his soon-to-be business partner, Paul Lewin. Goldberg and Lewin both settled in Los Angeles, started following a vegetarian lifestyle and became regular customers at Johnny Weismuller’s American Natural Foods. Taking their ‘regular’ status to a new level, they became employees and then eventually joined Michael Besancon and Spencer Windbiel as co-owners of the store. The team renamed the tiny vegetarian health food store and café “Follow Your Heart” to reflect their personal outlook on life as it was simply what they were doing at the time. Follow Your Heart soon became a base for socially and ethically responsible values, at a time when such ideals were not yet widely popular.
Now 47 years later, Goldberg and Lewin continue to operate the industry-leading and award-winning neighborhood market and café, while remaining devoted to the same ideals on which they first founded it on. Sticking to the founders’ sustainable ethos, Follow Your Heart created Earth Island, to produce their own signature products like vegan cheeses, dressings, dips and popular Vegenaise® (egg-free mayonnaise).
Why You Should Listen
With the growing popularity of the plant-based food industry, Follow Your Heart has received many buy-out offers and been approached by venture capitalists, but Bob has stood by his decision to stay independent and grow on their own terms.
To Bob, Follow Your Heart has been a lifelong passion and to this day, he sits in on product tasting meetings and brainstorms and takes great interest in the people who work for him. In our conversation, Bob talks about the importance of Follow Your Heart’s mission and how protecting their values has always been worth more than any monetary offer. For nearly 50 years Follow Your Heart has grown with this idea in mind and based on the company’s success and ability to create more and more innovative products, I’d say it’s served them extremely well.
In addition to tips and advice for other companies getting into the space, Bob teases some of the new products that will be coming to market soon!
Whether you are an entrepreneur yourself or passionate about the past, present and future of vegan food, Bob’s take on building a business with a mission to make people and the planet healthier is sure to leave you inspired and energized.