Elly Truesdell was the Director of Global Brands and Product Innovations at Whole Foods Market for nearly a decade. That experience led her down an unconventional path to a career at Almanac Insights, a fully food-focused venture fund in New York City, founded by David Barber, the co-founder of the Blue Hill Restaurants. Though Elly’s path was not always linear, her willingness to learn and dedication to the food industry played a huge role in her success.

On a recent episode of my podcast, “The Irresistible Factor” we discussed her career in food and the health & wellness space, the somewhat unconventional path she took to get there, and where she’s headed next. Listen to the full episode here for her inspiring story. 

From a decade at Whole Foods

Elly first worked as the local forager then the Director of Global Brands and Product Innovations at Whole Foods Market for nearly 10 years. In her role, she was fully immersed in the growth of both national and international young brands; helping to identify trends, and usher in emerging brands, to succeed and scale. In some cases, some of those brands became global success stories like RX bar and  Purely Elizabeth.

During Elly’s tenure at Whole Foods,  she was constantly exposed to entrepreneurs and founders in the food and beverage industry. She partnered with and worked across every category of the store, from consumer packaged goods to produce to seafood, allowing her to gain knowledge in every category’s production & quality standards. Her role required that she build trust and goodwill among the founder community. Although unconventional, all aspects of Elly’s incredibly unique role would later help her in venture investments. 

To Almanac Insights – a food-focused fund in New York City

Elly was brought onto the Almanac team in 2017, as an operational value-add investor and now a VC partner. She still focuses on new and emerging brands and her past experiences bring a valuable lens to the table. Though she doesn’t come from a financial background, her experience and network lets her play a more hands-on role, than those who have more experience in the economic and financial side of things. 

In the podcast you’ll hear Elly cover these important and inspiring topics:

  • What makes a brand irresistible enough to invest?
  • The importance of teamwork.
  • How her non-linear path led her to a successful career in the food business.
  • Valuable advice for those contemplating thinking about launching a brand in the food space.
  • What the pandemic means for consumers and brands in the health and wellness space.
  • What’s next for her in her new venture with Bobby Flay.
  • Top brands to watch.


If you’d like to be featured on The Irresistible Factor or need help figuring out how to make your brand Irresistible, reach out to me at kbridges@sawtoothgroup.com