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The NJFPA Stradley Ronon Food Forum

This series will focus on stories about the people changing the face of the food processing in the Garden State through innovation, hard work and lending a caring hand. The NJFPA will endeavor to tell the stories that might now get attention in other mainstream channels.

If this series inspires and provides actionable ideas, it will achieve its aims.

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Aug 3, 2021

Welcome to the ninth episode of the NJFPA Stradley Ronon Food Forum Podcast. In this episode, Bill Mandia, Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, and Bill Cornelius, Senior Commercial Banker at M&T Bank speak with Jason Dabrow, President and COO of Chelten House Products.  They talk organic and other food trends, how COVID changes can benefit private label, and the pros and cons of working in a family business. 

Guest Bio:

Jason Dabrow

The fourth generation to continue the Chelten House legacy, Jason Dabrow has more than 15 years of experience in the food manufacturing industry. Jason started his career in the New Jersey plant taking on a variety of production roles of increasing responsibility. In 2013, Jason led the greenfield startup of the Las Vegas facility and went on to direct the site’s operations for three years. In 2015 he returned to New Jersey to take on his current role of chief operating officer where he is responsible for national manufacturing, supply chain, quality/food safety, distribution, and engineering.

Jason received his B.S in Agribusiness Management from Penn State University and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Association of Dressings and Sauces and is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Listeners will hear: 

  • How an early interest in organic foods got Chelton House a foot in the door with “relative startups” Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
  • How private label has evolved from cheap 2nd best to innovation leaders.
  • Jason’s observations on private label trends - health, quality, and ease of use. 
  • How COVID shopping changes could mean big benefits for private label products.
  • Pros and cons of a family run business. 
  • Reflections on maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit of risk taking at a large scale. 
  • Hiring advice: focus on company culture, in-house training and advancement.
  • The challenge and benefit of staying ahead of customer growth.

Download the Edited Interview Transcript