Very Fine Day #28: Andrea Hernández

Brad Esposito

ANDREA HERNÁNDEZ is a food oracle and writer based in Honduras. She has an innate ability to notice trends in food before anyone else, and writes about it regularly in her newsletter, Snaxshot. This was a killer conversation – super fun – and putting it together was a blast. Just try and read the Runsheet and tell me you don’t want to take in the whole thing. Andrea is funny, insightful, but most importantly, honest. She offers a great insight into the world of food, branding, curation, distribution, and content.

VFD: Are you in the basement of a restaurant or something?

Andrea Hernández: It’s like a cellar, yeah. Not a basement.

VFD: So what has your day been like then?

Andrea Hernández: It's been busy. I've been up since 4AM. I've been answering emails, checking out collaborations that have been coming into my inbox, getting calls, taking calls, and also planning a meetup in New York. So it's been a very busy Friday. I was just texting the person that I'm doing this meetup with and was like: Look at us on a Friday talking business!

Like, it's literally 4PM on a Friday and I'm still messaging people. I've somehow been able to undo the barrier, or the boundary, between what a weekday is and a weekend is.

VFD: That’s healthy.

Andrea Hernández: Yeah. How was your Saturday morning? What time do you usually wake up? I'm unwillingly a morning person. I'm 31, and at some point in turning 30 my body unwillingly decided to become a morning person. But like, 4AM type of morning person where it’s the early bird gets the worm kind of shit. It's like: no worm is worth this, OK?

VFD: I'm very jealous. If my professional life allowed for it I'd stay up until 3AM and then wake up at 12. I don’t like mornings, they’re a bit crusty for me. Everything's got that cold feeling to it. But I can make coffee and once that’s done it’s alright.

I wanted to ask you – you said you were looking at collaborations in your inbox – how much of that do you get sent? What's your inbox like? Are you just being given free things and harassed all day.

Andrea Hernández: It really is. I actually have to apologise to people because it’s just become so much. Snaxshot is going to turn a year old on August 24. That’s when I sent the first issue. And when I first sent it, I literally envisioned: Oh, everything happens just as I want it to happen. These people will come to me and reach out to me, and people from the biggest companies in the food world will come to me.

And I said that when I sent the first issue on August 24. Not even six months into it that was already happening. So I think that I really nailed this very unfulfilled niche where there was a lot of things happening, but no one was taking a moment to say: Why the fuck is this happening? And why is this necessary? And because I was able to hone in on that very specific need of how we're literally in a bubble of shit, and nobody's saying anything, it just became appealing to people. I have had the culinary head of Starbucks send me an email and say: I'm such a huge fan of Snaxshot! And I'm like: What??? For real??

There are so many things that I never envisioned – as someone who's based in Honduras – that would happen. Being on “Access Hollywood,” getting approached by producers asking me to do a segment. I couldn't have even dreamed of that. Who would have told me that would happen? I would’ve laughed and been like: Sure, OK, but why would they want to talk to me?

The fact that I was able to go out to Access Hollywood and say: Hey, I'm based in Honduras, and I'm not in these elitist hubs, but I'm still producing quality content and I lured an entire industry to me without having anything except being myself.

And so, yes, it has become – especially after that segment aired – there's so many people reaching out to me.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: I'm a really good parser of bullshit. I look at who's reaching out and I see whether I can tell why they’re doing it. I used to work in marketing, I have a whole decade of experience working for agencies and doing PR, and I know. I built Snaxshot to be the antithesis of that bought-out, PR shit.

VFD: Totally.

Andrea Hernández: So I do have a lot of people hitting me up and wanting me to pitch their products or their platforms, and it's so funny to me because whenever they reach out to me I'm like: You clearly have never read Snaxshot, because if you would have read it, you’d know that you are literally what I built against.

And so yeah, it's at this point where I think it's starting to become a bit unmanageable - in a good way. There's so many really good people and good companies. And I’m like: Oh my god, what a dream. Dream collaboration. Dream partnership. Dream to work with. And of course I’d be interested. And that they’re willing to be like: Hey, we want to work with you and we want to do it your way. And the fact is: I’m probably going to tell you what you don't want to hear. And I hear that a lot.

I'm very much a very approachable person. I like to help. Giving is in my nature and I created Snaxshots to reduce friction in two ways.

One: the friction that brands, unbeknownst to themselves, create with their products and their marketing and their messaging. I'll give you an example: it’s promising people fucking “meditation in a can”. You're already putting these expectations towards people. Or when you say: oh we're better than Nutella. Better-for-you Nutella. So you're already putting in someone's mind that these are the things that they will at least get by purchasing your product.

It's so funny, because when I first started Snaxshot I created this anonymous hotline and I was like: if you've ever been catfished by a brand please reach out to me. It's hilarious. I could make fucking sitcoms out of the stuff that people have told me. And it's not even just upcoming brands. It's been big food brands.

I made this whole conspiracy theory based on anonymous tips that I was getting about people complaining that Oreos were coming out with double stuff Oreos that were actually single stuff. People were upset. They were telling me: I need to know why this is happening! They felt cheated. And I was like: OK, don’t worry, I'll reach out. And I literally had a meeting with the CMO of Mondelez, which is the parent company of Oreo, last week, and they were like: you always roast us! And you do all of these things! But I just want to know how we can work with you.

VFD: Like: You’re ruining us!

Andrea Hernández: Yeah. But it's been so fascinating to be able to build something that's really authentic and with that authenticity draw people to admit this. I was in our first meetup in San Francisco… I got to bring some brands together which was really cool. I got to introduce some of our subscribers to brands that are not even available in the US. I had brands from the UK send me products because they really love Snaxshot. And it's so funny to me to be able to - with that authenticity - draw such a tension. There were venture capitalists there pulling me aside like: you keep us on our toes! And I was like: No, I wouldn't have to do this if you guys weren’t doing dumb bullshit!

VFD: Like: why aren’t you on your toes anyway, right?

Andrea Hernández: Today I had a meeting in the morning and this up-and-coming brand said to me: oh, one of our investors told us to check you out and to contact you because we're building in food and bev, but also to talk to you because you’re gonna tell us what you don't want to hear.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: And I'm glad that I've made this reputation for myself. It’s so funny to build something like: I'm talking to the void! and then all of a sudden people want to talk back.

It's like, shit, Snaxshot went from being a newsletter to having actual pillars of content and curation, which is what I do. And I don't know how long you've been following me but I've been preaching the importance of curation since last year. I am a firm believer, as someone who studied communications and who has been in marketing, I have this belief that we were never meant to be exposed to so much.

I'm a ‘90s kid. I grew up with the internet as a novelty. The doctrines of Snaxshot are: Excess is death, Curation is validation, and Discovery is strength. Those are my spoof cult things that I tell people. You have to believe these three core things.

Because I think that when you look at why everybody's so into curation right now it's because we're fucking exhausted by having an influx of content, and constantly being exposed to everything.

I’m still not finished, but I've been writing this essay on curation as a service and where it stems from it, and I tie it back to the Origins and Genesis. Like, that's one of the reasons why they were told not to eat that fucking apple in the tree of good and evil! That was a warning sign. We're not meant to be exposed to everything. I tie it back to so many different things, but to me inherently, that's that belief. And when I started Snaxshot, I remembered I was like: This is gonna be useful, clearly. This is an era. We’re in a fucking pandemic. Everybody's doing a fucking sourdough or a newsletter.

VFD: Hahaha

Andrea Hernández: Like: what are you doing? Oh, I'm baking sourdough.

And so it was at that moment where I was like: is this going to be something that's actually going to be useful?

I've always been raised with a mentality of: Are you being resourceful? My parents instilled that in me. I guess that’s one of the fucking perks of living in a third world country. It’s survival mode all the time. But I remember saying: Is this going to be useful or is it going to add to the noise? And that's where the curation aspect came in. Because you go to a fucking Erewhon – and I've been to one now – and it’s saturated shelves of the same looking type thing. It’s blanding. So many brands are blanding themselves, because obviously, everybody follows the money. Capitalism 101. And so if your barriers of entry are so low… you see everybody copying the Recess Can, and then everybody copying the House bottle.

VFD: Yeah, like Serif font and the startup look. Everyone's got the same design and everything else.

Andrea Hernández: Yeah.

VFD: You’re just looking at the same thing again, and again, and again. And again. I mean, it works in some ways, right?

Andrea Hernández: But what does it even matter? It doesn't even matter. And then I just started to continue to parody the absurdity of it. I started joking. It's like: oh, everything's functional now. No. It's so stupid. Food inherently is functional. It’s giving you nutrients. That's a function. It's hydrating me. That's a function. And I started joking like: Oh, Champagne can only be if it comes from the region of Champagne in France. Well dude, it’s only Functional if it comes from La Function in France. And everyone knows that. I don’t make the rules.

And I just started parroting everything. I came up with this persona of the Snaxboi, which is a fuckboy-meets-Erewhon thing. This trendy grocer. And I just started parodying this whole industry. It’s like: you guys are stupid. Like: why is water being labelled as vegan? Thanks for letting me know that I haven't been fucking sucking on bone broth this entire time. It doesn't make sense.

And as a marketing person I know when it's all about the buzzwords riding coattails of a trend. And I think that's what really attracted people to me. I can be like: This is dumb. I'm going to show it to you, but this is dumb.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: That was very much a big rant…

VFD: No, it was good. I was writing notes the whole time like: OK, I gotta come back to this one. And this one. And this one. Thats a lot of stuff. But I guess before we do that we should explain Snaxshot and what you do. I’ve seen you call yourself a “Snack Oracle”. What is that?

Andrea Hernández: God… So the thing is about me, I tell people I'm a non-fungible, perpetually curious human being. That's why I loved being part of marketing and was into marketing. The whole digital marketing craze. I went to college when it was 2008, when it was the whole surge of social media marketing and digital marketing. That really appealed to me as a ‘90s kid growing up with the internet as a novelty. I’m very much into keeping up with what’s new, right?

When it was 2020 I was looking at things and I was putting it together in my mind, and because I'm not US-based, I'm the kind of person that doesn't have that ethnocentrism of the US. Everything revolves around them.

VFD: Mmm

Andrea Hernández: I'm very much about: hey, if this is happening in the UK or in Australia, is it happening in the US? Is it happening in Latin America? Is it happening in Asia? And I just started to look at whether or not this was a fluke, or was it really something that was worth looking into.

One of the predictions that I made based on what I was seeing that became sort of infamous – I said it almost a year ago and by March of this year big publications started catching on to it – was predicting hibiscus as being the new macha in terms of trendiness and as a standalone ingredient. Because I could see this trend that there was a lot of hibiscus stuff being put out there that was just… hibiscus. It's not hibiscus and something else. It's just hibiscus. And I had noticed that in Paris, and I had noticed that in London, and I had found one brand in the US that hadn't even launched yet.

They were like: How did you find us? That's what I do.

We had this conversation and I was like: Dude, I love it. Hibiscus is really popular in different regions of the world. Latin America, particularly. But I predicted that on Twitter and then I did other predictions like the espresso martini being the drink of Summer 2021 whether we like it or not. I said that back in October. Like: this is so stupid. Who the fuck orders this at a bar? It feels to me like this is the kind of drink you order if you’re actually three kids under a fucking oversized coat. Like: this is the most adult thing you can think of. But what is the relevancy of it? What’s the appropriate time for it? Who the fuck knows.

VFD: Have you seen the espresso martini on tap? That’s a thing in Australia.

Andrea Hernández: I haven’t, but they’ve definitely done the canned thing.

VFD: Yeah, right.

Andrea Hernández: But I noticed that back in October and then the New York Times reached out to me when they were writing a piece on it. They were like: Hey, we found this tweet of yours predicting this craze – how did you come across it? And I’m like… This is what I do. And then I told them about my newsletter.

And me – some person in this third world country, one of the poorest countries in the world, I got approached by the New York Times to ask me why I was looking into this. And that was like: shit…

VFD: It’s gotta feel good.

Andrea Hernández: I've seen things that have actually become an actual manifestation of what I was seeing. And so I just started calling myself an Oracle and then I just started playing on the occult. And that's why I started calling myself a cult leader.

Our San Francisco meetup was me with a table and dark linens and a black candelabra and melted black candles. And I told people: you're gonna come to an indoctrination. You're gonna be indoctrinated. We're gonna drink ruby hibiscus as our wine and blood offerings. And then we're gonna do communion with THC crackers.

I just play on it and the whole story of it. When people reach out to me I’m like: My name is Andrea Hernández, I'm an international cult leader. We worship sultry snacks and sexy pantry items. And people are like: Are you for real? And I'm like: Yeah. Like, I'm literally hosting a seance in New York. I'm not kidding. We are literally doing a seance with this brand. They said they wanted to do an event with me and I was like: OK – but are you sure? Because I don’t do regular events. I want to do something weird. And then I pitched them this idea where we're going to do a seance but with dead ‘90s snacks. So it’ll be me invoking purple Heinz ketchup and shit. I'm so excited.

VFD: You said you had an agency life. Was that just your run of the mill digital marketing job? Was it a story where you were like: I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore. And so I'm going to start this.

Andrea Hernández: I mean, if 2020 didn't give you an existential crisis... I turned 30 in 2020.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: If turning 30 in a global pandemic doesn't make you assess what you're fucking doing with your life I don't know what will. So it became a thing like: What the fuck am I even doing?

I don't know what else is going to shake you into a real existential crisis. But one of the things that I've always been passionate about is aesthetics, and I think I really do have a good eye. Even when I was younger, I remember I used to love to skim through fashion magazines. I even took a fashion course and I was like: I can't sew… I realised that was never going to happen to me.

I grew up reading stuff like Man Repeller. I love quirkiness and I love the idea of building outside of a construct of what is cool. What is not cool? What is trendy? What isn’t? I never wanted to follow a crowd.

So I don't know, I just started tweeting. I was like: Oh, I've noticed that people are trying to reinvent how we drink tequila. It's no longer that short, stout, shot glass. Now it’s this rippled longer glass. And I just started tweeting my commentary during Summer while I was going through an existential crisis.

I had just turned 30 during a pandemic and I'm like: I don't have a boyfriend. I'm single. I don't have any kids. What am I doing with my life? And so I just started to try to be more joyful of the stuff that I was doing. And I was just falling into rabbit holes.

So I started some Twitter threads about it. People were like: Hey, we want more of this. And so I was like: OK, cool I guess? And that's when the whole idea of actually turning this into a newsletter formulated. I'm knowledgeable. I speak English. I try to appeal to a big demographic. And again, it was wishing upon a star. Like: hey, can this be done?

You now when you’re at a point where you’re just feeling so restricted? I live in a very, semi-authoritarian country. And when we went through the pandemic we didn't even have our airports open. So I was like: What am I going to do? I'm going to be stuck here. It was horrible trying to get groceries. Nothing was open. It was a really dark time for me. And at that point, for some reason… I mean I do have a theory about why aesthetically pleasing fucking pantry items were doing it for me. And I did look into that.

I have a theory – that I actually wrote about in my last issue when I denoted the American Snackboy – millennials created this DTC pastel aesthetic because we're rejecting the stuff that we grew up with. If you look into ‘90s cartoons they are all disgusting. Sewer monsters, slime… It was all so fucking gross. And I 100% believe that we made this millennial aesthetic be so pristine and minimal and pleasing to the eye because we're rejecting the shit that we grew up with.

VFD: Our lives are pretty chaotic, right? It’s always difficult when you talk about that. I’m 28, but I always find it difficult when you try to conceptualise the millennial experience as being different because personally I feel the classic response is: Oh, you're at that age where you think the world is tough? Well, guess what? Everyone goes through that. It’s not unique to you or your generation. It's like: OK, well… that’s probably true.

But I also think that not many other generations had to deal with this technical revolution, in the form of the Internet, and everything else that's come along with it. And I think that's definitely affected the psyche of a lot of people.

I wanted to ask you: how do you approach distribution and getting your stuff out there and getting seen? Because - and this is externally looking at what you do - but you seem to do a very good job of creating and pushing it out and getting it seen. And I think for someone who does that remotely as well that’s very impressive. There's got to be some thought behind it. I imagine it's not just press “go” and then it just happens.

Andrea Hernández: No, that literally is it. I did have an email from a past consultant who told me: I can't believe your newsletter is free, you should pay wall that because I work for a consultancy agency and for less than what you do we charge people $50,000.

I was like: fuck my life. For real. What the fuck am I doing.

When I first started this it was about the utility behind it. And I actually wrote this maybe two issues ago. When we were talking about indoctrination I said I’m the “anti-scale.” I like to think of myself that way. I don't care whether there's 100,000 readers, or 20,000, or 10,000, I care that I'm speaking to my audience. And I have a 40-50% email open rate as an average and I know that is way above average. I know that I’m speaking to the people I should be speaking to. I don't do any referrals. I don’t do: share this and get some merch! I didn't want that because I didn't want people to gamify my following. I want people coming to me because they can and because they feel proud about it. And so I have people that won't reach out to me until many issues in being like: I've been a fan since issue six. But I just didn't have a way to talk to you or didn't feel like I could talk to you. They feel like I'm some alien.

Someone told me yesterday: you don't understand, people talk about you in New York like you're some sort of CBD celebrity. That's so bad. I wish that it wouldn't be like that. Maybe it’s because I’m not like: follow my newsletter and subscribe! Maybe it’s because I'm not that American salesperson of my own newsletter.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: I feel like people probably think I'm a bougie person that doesn't really care. But honestly, I just see it this way: it's gonna be more useful for me that you come to me because you’re actually interested versus me trying to do paid promotion or something. I don't even take sponsors in Snaxshot because I also believe in the intimate audience and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that for anything. I've had big companies trying to tell me they would love to consider doing a sponsored post. I'm like: No, I'm sorry. I don't work that way. We can work other ways. That's just an untouchable thing for me.

So there is no hack. The only hack is that I give 150% of myself in every issue. My thought process is this way: How am I gonna parse this information to these people that's going to be like a play. That's going to be like going to a movie theatre. Like: how do I make this entertaining in an industry where these things used to be so fucking boring?

It’s like: LTV, CAC, all these fucking acronyms… Is this AaaS: Acronyms as a Service? What the fuck are we talking about? And you can quote me on that. It just feels like the industry takes itself so seriously. Since the beginning I've said that I am the pushback and the necessary reset from this constant circle jerk that they have. It's like: the venture capital, CBD, DTC industry. They're just jerking each other off. Are you guys listening to each other? You sound like a bunch of fucking mammals. Like, who the fuck cares?

And that's the thing where I just started to say who the fuck cares? Have you actually talked to someone in fucking Idaho? Talked to them about adaptogenic cookie dough? They're gonna be like: Why the fuck do I want adaptogens in my cookie dough? Right? Nobody was having that conversation. Instead they’re just like: Oh, my god, low ABV aperitif. Here's $5 million.

And it’s like: Why? What the fuck is that doing?

VFD: Do you ever get depressed about that kind of shit?

Andrea Hernández: What do you mean?

VFD: I mean. I see that too. And I’m like: there's so much money out there and there's so much success being passed around. And I look at it and I'm like: Why the fuck is that going that way? Why is the wheel spinning that way? Because it's very vapid.

Andrea Hernández: I have had conversations with more veteran venture capitalists who have told me: you are the much needed voice amid this lunacy. I have had more veteran VCs tell me that this craziness is stemming out of this new crop of VCs that will learn in time that maybe you shouldn't be putting 20 million towards fucking adaptogenic seltzer.

But who knows? VCs, they’re all about the hype. And the more that I resist having conversations with them the more they’re like: I want to be part of this!

I was having this conversation with this venture fund and they were like: we want to know how you can work with our portfolio companies. And I said: How about we do a roast show and I just put them through the fucking ringer.

They’re like: we could make that work. Like: Oh my god, you’re that desperate. It's so funny. Even Big Food, people reach out to me like: I know you hate us. I know you're constantly roasting us online. But we still want to find a way to work together. And I think it all stems from the way I see it as an outsider and that's why - it's so cliche - but having an outsider perspective at times is such a winning situation. And I think it’s just people wanting to have that ability to discern.

VFD: Right,

Andrea Hernández: In our society – especially whenever there's money, or a lot of money being pumped – nobody in this industry wants to be ostracised because they're saying: Oh, that's stupid. Why the fuck are you investing on CBD edibles? Have you seen that there’s probably hundreds of CBD edibles. Why does it necessitate venture capital? Like, are you stupid? And people that I respect have even been like: Are you an idiot? Why would you put money towards that. There's 100 different CBD edibles. And then it’s all about “luxury CBD”. What the fuck does “luxury CBD edible” mean? They all look the same. They're all fucking gummy. Oh my god.

And I love it because people were just like: thank you. This is so refreshing. Finally, someone's talking about it. And I'm like: I have no bridges to burn. People used to tell me: Oh, you don’t want to burn bridges. Like what bridges, dude? I'm literally living in one of the poorest countries in the world. I'm building this bridge brick by brick. What do you mean burn bridges? And that’s a blessing and a curse at times.

VFD: Have you been in Honduras your whole life?

Andrea Hernández: Yeah, I have. I mean, I did go to school in Boston. So I did go to school a decade ago. I went to Northeastern and I did business administration and I did marketing and a minor in communications. And that's when I became super passionate about the history behind advertising and children's advertising – especially to millennials.

If you look at the stuff that I write about, I do write about how a lot of the trends that you see now stem from our disconnect as kids without actual nourishing foods. One of my pieces is on ‘90s snacks: Lunchables and Dunkaroos and fucking Kool Aid twistables. Our parents were being sold on convenience and not necessarily as much on health. You would say: Oh, this orange juice is pure concentrated sugar, but you saw orange juice in the packaging and thought: Oh, it's orange juice. Right? And I think that from there we don't have as much of a relationship with food as our predecessors had, in a way.

And this is a situation that stems globally. I've had conversations with people from Germany who told me – OK, remember playgrounds when everyone would trade snacks? You knew if you had top-tier shit. You had confetti Dunkaroos, Lunchables, that was top tier trade.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: I talk to people in Germany, I talk to people in fucking Greece, and they tell me things like: I grew up with Lunchables, too! And I remember this guy from Germany telling me that when he was a kid they used to break down the Lunchables by piece. So they traded it not as an individual thing but they would do it by part.

VFD: That sounds fucking intense.

Andrea Hernández: And I think studying marketing and studying the history of marketing propaganda, the deregulation of children's advertising in the mid 80s, understanding where we're coming from, it's like: we didn't grow up with being sold on have a nice salad. It was more about fucking bagel bites, right?

VFD: Yeah.

Andrea Hernández: Two minutes in the microwave and it’s done. So I do think that has made us - and I've been very vocal about this in my interviews and also when I'm writing for Snaxshot - the idea of us allowing for the commodification of wellness trends that you see now.

Because think about it: ginger and lemon as a good digestive thing – that's inherent knowledge that's been known for millennia. You see that in Chinese medicine. You see that in other practices. That’s nothing new. But it's being sold to us.

Fucking prebiotic seltzers. I personally think that the prebiotic seltzer stems from us being old now. So we're panicking like: we can’t have Metamucil – we gotta be cool and beautiful.

VFD: Hahahah right.

Andrea Hernández: Right? Like, we can't do that. That’s just not the vibe. And I call it Goopification, obviously spanning from fucking Goop, the woman who invented yoga according to her.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: So we see this whitewashing of these trends in order to make them more mass-appeal friendly. And we allow for this inherent knowledge of ginger as a digestive, for lemon as a digestive, we're letting that knowledge be sold back to us at premium. One day I'll write a book about it.

VFD: You should.

Andrea Hernández: Something I have been very adamant about: In everything that I do I want to make us understand: yeah, we can have 100 million fucking plant based alternatives, but what the fuck is the point having 100+ alternatives?

That's the same way of killing the planet with one piece of meat. We literally made almonds unsustainable. Remember when almonds were going to be our salvation from fucking dairy. Now you can’t have almond milk. Almond milk is canceled. It’s the least sustainable thing there is. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

VFD: No, no, I’m with you.

Andrea Hernández: And at what point do we not understand that we were literally programmed through advertising and through deregulation of children's advertising. We were not being taken care of. Nobody was there to tell us: you're literally being indoctrinated to overconsumption. And if you look into the history of ‘90s cartoons, they were basically small animations wedged in between advertising.

VFD: Yeah,

Andrea Hernández: So I think that's my thing. I like to explore the concept of: Can we please just understand where we're coming from? Then we can understand how to solve the actual issue that really isn't necessarily that I'm having organic meat, or organic, small farm, they only have one cow and I drunk that milk… That’s not killing the planet. What's killing the planet is the gargantuan demand and overconsumption and wastefulness that we've been indoctrinated into. So from my perspective, being not based in the US but still having some sort of experience with it, I think that I've been able to give that unique perspective of: we’re bullshitting ourselves with marketing.

It's even being studied in places like Europe, where it's front of package certifications, things that say “Organic” or “B Corp” or whatever. A lot of it is just bullshit. Like a lot of that is just marketing in itself. And so I like to be the person who says: OK, that sounds nice. But what's the idea behind this?

That's also one of the things that I have become so curious about: Where are these trends coming from? Where's the money going? Who are the up and coming players? Who are the people who are actually financing these “better for you” alternatives? And let's talk about the hypocrisy of these “better for you” brands being sold out to these big companies in the first place. They'll get bought out seven years in.

I guess that I have, in some way, afforded me the freedom of speech. I can say this without any really consequences because none of these brands are paying me. Snaxshot, the newsletter itself, is funded by community. It has its own little community support. And then I do consulting work that helps me mitigate with not having sponsors and not doing sponsorships. And I’m able to maintain integrity, but that feels so bad to say: that I've been able to afford myself the ability to say well this is bullshit, right?

VFD: I don’t think that's a bad thing. I mean, integrity is good. And particularly in an industry that doesn't have a lot it. My favourite one of those marketing spins on health is – and I don't know if it happens everywhere – But here in Australia you can get “free range” eggs from “free range” chickens. And if you look into what free range means, it often means they have one more square metre of land to roam. And I don’t know – I guess I was imagining more rolling green hills.

Andrea Hernández: Oh, yeah. Let me tell you this story. Ben & Jerry’s got into litigation around the term “happy cows”.

Ben & Jerry’s was like: made from happy cows! And if I would have been their marketing person I would have been like: Guys, we do not want to go there. Because that's so vague. That's just looking for trouble. And I think it was maybe two or four years ago – they got sued because people were like: you know what, we want to see your cows. We know where your cows are coming from and they don't look happy. And obviously, they went to court and the judge was like “dismiss the case” but they were like fuck no, we don't want to have to deal with this again. So they just took “happy cows” out of their packaging.

[Editor’s note: it’s now “Caring Dairy”].

Andrea Hernández: I bought the URL That's literally my URL because I was like: dude, everything has CBD now. It's literally become the new “organic”. And the term “organic” became devoid of meaning at one point because, again, what does that even fucking mean?

And so I 100% agree with you. Free range is similar to that. When I was doing the “Hollywood Access” segment I almost died – thank God I didn’t focus on it – but if you listen to the segment one of the hosts asked me: oh is adaptogens the new CBD? And I was like: hold your tongue! Not the time for this conversation Andrea!

VFD: You want to be back! You want to come back on!

Andrea Hernández: And that’s what I've been preaching. Adaptagenics is gone. Forget about it. That ship’s sailed. There's no coming back from it. We've already fucked it up. As soon as Smartwater started to do adaptogenic water…

Fucking Dole, last week they released “functional juices”. So it's dead. We killed the horse. The horse is dead. Just leave it alone. Sorry, I’m unsure what the question was. I just started ranting.

VFD: Oh, you covered it all. I won't keep you any longer because I'm conscious of the time. But thank you so much for the chat.

Andrea Hernández: It was so nice to meet you.