ANTHONY ZOLEZZI BIOGRAPHY
Anthony Zolezzi is a serial entrepreneur who plays a leading role in advising corporations on ways to innovate with their existing strengths given the expectations of today’s socially conscious culture, while increasing profitability and uncovering new innovations. His work has resulted in numerous entrepreneurial companies and product developments focused on sustainability and health.
Some of Zolezzi’s most recent business ventures include creating the partnership between Wild Oats and Walmart to make organic products both affordable and accessible, which has become one of the most successful product launches in Walmart’s history with sales of $2 million per week during the first nine months. He also co-founded Code Blue Recycling, which filed 19 patents on unique recycling technologies. When he sold Code Blue Recycling to Waste Management it become Greenopolis (short for “Greening the Metropolis”), a community-based recycling rewards program that resulted in products such as the Pepsi Dream Machine. Zolezzi also co-founded and launched Pet Promise natural pet food that quickly became the leader in the natural pet food industry resulting in a multi-million dollar sale to Nestlé Purina and paved the way for the current multi-billion dollar natural pet-food industry. He also wrote a book based on the Pet Promise project called, “How Dog Food Saved the Earth” (2005) that sold 80,000 copies with all proceeds donated to the Organic Farming Research Foundation. Zolezzi’s other major projects include The Prince of Wales’ documentary and book, “Harmony” that highlighted the Prince’s personal sustainability initiatives; Bumble Bee Seafood, moving tuna fish out of the can and into airtight packaging; Horizon Organic Dairy children’s milk products introduced into Starbucks; Fresh Connection’s disintermediation of imported seafood; Eco Terra branding with families of transitional growers on the package; Jack In The Box color coordinated tomatoes to the proper market for slicing; Nestlé Waters new methods of PET recycling; New Chapter’s launch of children’s supplements; and The Human Society of The United States repositioning campaign to “Celebrate Animals Confronting Cruelty” and re-branding with new logo.
Zolezzi is also noted for taking social trends and turning them into food trends such as his creation of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. packaged retail shrimp and restaurants based on the award-winning film “Forrest Gump” starring Tom Hanks. He licensed the name from Paramount Pictures/Viacom first to Meridian Products for frozen shrimp and then to Paragon Restaurants (Rusty Pelican) for the restaurant chain itself, which today produces upward of $400 million in revenue. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. was later sold to ConAgra Foods as part of his turn around for Meridian. He also developed Café Nervosa Coffee based off NBC’s hit sitcom, “Frasier.” Zolezzi also served as CEO of The New Organics Co., which was one of the first to market organic pre-packaged foods to mainstream consumers, and the first to ship organic products to Walmart. The product line included 180 SKUs, 16 of which were products marketed for children under the popular American author and illustrator Richard Scarry’s name and his Busytown characters.
Currently Zolezzi is in the process of re-launching S&H Green Stamps around a sustainability and health rewards platform, while re-examining the waste industry as an overall concept from water waste, food waste to municipal waste. Presently he is looking into multiple new biotech solutions for personal health and the environment. He is an operating partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors with a focus on launching sustainability and health products and companies. The firm is a private equity fund manager that currently manages $2.7 billion in assets. He is also an adviser and judge for the Katerva Global Sustainability Awards, and member of the board of directors for Recommunity Recycling and Wild Oats Organic Marketplace. Zolezzi is a co-founder and former board chairman of The Organic Center for Education and Promotion and former board member of Vitamin Angels, helping both nonprofit organizations raise record amounts of millions of dollars during his board terms. He has written six books including, “Uncharted Waters,” (2010), “Do Something: Leave Your Mark on the World” (2008), “The Detachment Paradox” (2004) and “Chemical-Free Kids: How to Safeguard Your Child’s Diet and Environment” (2003).