Meet The Disruptors: Stan Jacot Of Arcadia Biosciences On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Fotis Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
Published in
7 min readDec 24, 2022


“Bring people along with you.” I take this to heart each and every day. As a CEO, you’re the hub of the wheel, and the hub cannot achieve anything on its own. It takes everyone to execute the vision. To me, a CEO’s job is to set the waypoint, break the trail and remove barriers so the team can succeed. As it was said, “When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.”

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stan Jacot.

For 30 years, Stan has been disrupting the way we eat by making some of our most common foods healthier, while keeping the same great taste we expect. His latest disruption is GoodWheatTM pasta, the first to provide the nutritional value of whole wheat with the great taste and texture of traditional pasta. As CEO of Arcadia Biosciences, Stan and his team from top CPG powerhouses ConAgra, PepsiCo, Wonder, and Ronzoni are on a mission to help Americans get the fiber and nutrients we need, while enjoying the familiar taste we love.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I went to college thinking I was going to be an accounting major because my dad was an accountant, so I thought that’s how you got into business. After my second accounting class, I came to terms with the fact that I hated accounting. I wanted something more creative. My peer counselor happened to be a second-year MBA student and pointed me towards marketing. After he graduated, he started a job at Kellogg’s. We kept in touch and as I learned more about what he did in Marketing and Brand Management, I became increasingly interested. After college, I started my first job at Kellogg’s working in Brand Management on Rice Krispies — this opened the door for my career in food innovation.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

My career has been filled with solving consumer problems by using innovation to improve the way we eat. While at ConAgra, I ran the popcorn division. Our challenge was how do we reduce sodium in our product without losing its great taste. The breakthrough was an innovation called microsalt, which triggers salt-detection zones and gives the perception of salty flavor with less salt. The result was we reduced sodium by 30% in Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop while maintaining taste.

At Arcadia Biosciences, we’re transforming wheat. Using non-GMO techniques, Arcadia has developed new wheat varieties that have exponentially higher fiber and more protein than traditional wheat. This allows a boost in nutrition density for any wheat-flour-based foods without changing the taste. We recently launched this wheat — branded GoodWheat — into our first consumer foods category, the pasta category. With one simple ingredient, GoodWheat pasta delivers four times more fiber and 20% more protein than traditional pasta without sacrificing taste like many other better-for-you pastas. We plan to expand this disruptive solution across the wheat food chain through licensing and future GoodWheat launches.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It’s not necessarily a mistake, but definitely a funny story. When I started my first job at Kellogg’s, I was the first non-MBA graduate that they ever hired, fresh out of undergrad. Because of this, everybody else was much older than me, many married with kids. Flushed with my new financial freedom, I did what a lot of young men might do: I bought a brand new car, a bright blue Pontiac Grand Prix. It immediately caught my attention at the dealer, and I loved how it handled, so I drove it off the lot that day. When Monday morning came and I pulled that baby into the office lot, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Among the sea of corporate-looking black Camrys and Accords was my screaming blue Grand Prix. After getting over the initial shock, I took away the life lesson that it’s okay to be yourself. I’ve carried this with me personally and professionally ever since.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had many mentors at different stages of my life and am thankful for each of them.

Jeff Montie at Kellogg’s was terrific. In many corporate environments, competition can be as tough or tougher internally as it is external. Sometimes, people can lose sight of what’s best for the company. Jeff was a master of creating teams that focused on winning against our external competitors, and not competing with one another. He showed me how to rally a team against a common foe by focusing on three things: make yourself better, make your product perform better, and serve your customer in the best way you can.

Paul Lapadat was my mentor and boss at ConAgra. He taught me the importance of assembling an outstanding team that can elevate performance, and to not settle until you’ve got the right people around you.

Another mentor is Tom Krouse, CEO at Donatos. He truly embodied the golden rule. He showed us that in business, it’s okay to treat others as you want to be treated. Tom taught me how to be a more effective leader by asking employees what they need, instead of always telling them what you want.

These mentors taught me valuable life lessons I use every day.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption can be a positive in three ways:

1. Dramatically lowering costs or saving time, like how Amazon significantly lowered the cost to shoppers of having products shipped to their homes in two days.

2. Expanding access, which is really captured by the explosion in paid content creation in social media. There are now millions of people who are paid to create content, a couple of decades ago they numbered in the thousands.

3. Solving a problem in a new way, which is what we are doing at Arcadia. 93% of Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet, which is leading to higher risk of health conditions like heart disease. With GoodWheat, we can address that problem without having people change their expectations for taste, texture or quality. Disruption is usually not a positive if the harm outweighs the positive.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“Bring people along with you.” I take this to heart each and every day. As a CEO, you’re the hub of the wheel, and the hub cannot achieve anything on its own. It takes everyone to execute the vision. To me, a CEO’s job is to set the waypoint, break the trail and remove barriers so the team can succeed. As it was said, “When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.”

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We want to shake up the wheat industry and help make food healthier for all. Today, we use Durum wheat, which is used for pasta. Next up is Hard Red Spring wheat, which is used to make breads, rolls, croissants, bagels, pizza crust and more. In short, we want to disrupt every pound of flour so Americans can enjoy the food we love, while getting the nutrition we need.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I am a fan of the work Peter Diamandis is doing, sharing insights on the abundance mentality and exponential technologies that are improving our world. His work encourages me to think bigger and bolder, and to search for ways to exponentially grow instead of focusing on the constraints. He has a blog and an email newsletter that are a great way to keep up-to-date on advancements in the world today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

For me, it would be the golden rule of treating everyone the way you want to be treated. Especially when you’re the CEO of a company, you need to always remember that every single person at the company — no matter what level or how much experience they have — brings something to your company and the work they do is important. You can connect and find commonalities with everyone at your company, regardless of their level. I feel like that’s not only an important part of how business should get done, but it’s also part of creating a culture especially when we’re a virtual company.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Our mission is to make every body feel good inside and out by making healthier products we love to eat.

How can our readers follow you online?

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!



Fotis Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Passionate about bringing emerging technologies to the market