An Interview with NadaMoo! President & CEO, Daniel Nicholson

Daniel Nicholson, president & CEO of NadaMoo!

Love at first bite

Not just another dairy-free ice cream, NadaMoo! is something of a unicorn when it comes to dairy-free alternatives to our favorite frozen treat. With a commitment to sustainability and quality-sourced ingredients rivaled only by its ability to create flavors cow’s milk ice cream could only dream of, NadaMoo! has earned a permanent spot on our freezer shelf. Of course Daniel Nicholson figured this all out well before us. There aren’t a lot of people that can attribute a 180º career change to taking a bite of coconut milk ice cream. Daniel, president and CEO of NadaMoo!, is one of them. We caught a line with the man behind the ice cream carton.

What made you want to get involved with NadaMoo! back in 2011? How did you go about doing so?

Daniel Nicholson: I decided to get involved with NadaMoo! back in 2008. I was fresh back from a stint in Madrid, Spain, working for the largest wind power utility in the world, and I was introduced to Maple Pecan NadaMoo! scoops and the founder of the company over a business meeting thanks to a close family friend introduction. It was a very cliché but very real love-at-first-bite experience that had me determined to help support the growth of this company. I believed in it and its power to put people on a better indulgent path. At the time, the founder was looking to raise growth capital, so I helped facilitate the largest investment the company had ever received thanks to a family investment. Once we had worked together to solve this problem, I maintained my desire to work for the company full time and free of charge. I didn’t want the founder to feel obligated to bring me onboard due to the recent family investment if she didn’t think I was a good fit, so I let her know. She looked at me and said, “Your first day is Monday.” It was the beginning of an entirely new path in life that I’ll never forget. Sweet serendipity.

What was the inspiration behind creating these Snack Bites in addition to the company’s traditional ice cream pints?

DN: Snack-able indulgences for people who are excited about getting out of their confined spaces and back out into the world. People on the go need a convenient way to snack on their favorite dairy-free ice cream brand, NadaMoo!

Describe the process of choosing the different flavors for this new product.

DN: We looked at a lot of frozen dessert category data to assess where the opportunities were, and it was critical that we have something for everyone or multiple flavor options for everyone. Within ice cream and novelties, we believe we’ve picked the best of the best for those traditional and nostalgic flavors we all love.

NadaMoo! Snack Bites

Best flavor IYO?

DN: Mango exterior strawberry interior Bites. Mic drop.

You’re in charge of creating the next Snack Bite. What’s your flavor combo of choice?

DN: Coffee exterior chocolate hazelnut interior.

A book or movie you think everyone should read or see in their life.

DN: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

Something you’d go back and tell your college self.

DN: Focus on cultivating relationships.

Best bite to eat in South Texas?

DN: Too many to choose from. Best northern-style Mexican food in all of America. I’ll go with my latest favorite and a newer concept for the city of Laredo, Lolitas Bistro. Que delicia!

Someone that inspires you in all aspects of your life.

DN: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.

Ice cream in the Winter: red or green light?

DN: Go baby go…GREEN!

What’s your favorite memory of enjoying ice cream as a kid?

DN: When I was in elementary school, my mom was very busy. As a single mother, she was working as a teacher’s aid, working at my family’s TV station and going to school to finish her teaching certificate. Because of this, my grandmother, Mami, would pick me and my siblings up from school almost all the time. Every day, without fail, we’d go straight to Dairy Queen for the Blizzard of our choosing. Those were some incredible and happy days as kids. Oreo or Banana Split Blizzard were some of my most frequent and favorite choices.

What are some of the ways that NadaMoo! makes sustainability a priority?

DN: We care about our ingredients to the point where there’s not a single farm we haven’t personally been to that harvests our core raw materials that are key to our product formulation. We’ve always cared to meet the operators and understand what they are doing on the ground floor of the supply chain to be good stewards of the land.

Recently and continually, we have been working with our packaging suppliers to ensure we are doing our best to be at the forefront of the sustainable packaging technology they have access to. We must push the food supply chain system forward with these decisions. As a supplier of food products to the market, taking everything into consideration is just the right thing to do. Health is wealth, and it starts at the level of the soil.

Photo taken from the ground of two men harvesting agave (pineapple-like) fruit in a field with a dark green tractor behind them to carry the load.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when you first stepped into the role of CEO a little over a decade ago?

DN: I’m very much an extroverted introvert. I’ve never been one to yearn for the spotlight or unnecessary attention. I love to lead, but I’ve always done it the only way I know how—by example and by setting a standard. It was tough stepping into a leadership role and feeling like I was not fully prepared to take on the CEO title. The good thing was that we were incredibly small, so we had to do a lot of growing before any of that really felt real. We are still very small and so much of my job and that of the team’s is just to constantly allow resilience and perseverance to carry us through to new heights.

If you had to give an elevator pitch for dairy-free ice cream to a traditional milk enthusiast, what would it be?

DN: Imagine if you could mindfully indulge in ice cream every single day of your life and never get that disgusting bloated feeling it always gives you, which is effectively your body telling you that you should not be consuming it? Here, try some NadaMoo!

Flavor of The Day

We put Daniel in the hot seat to share some rapid-fire reccos on which of the brand’s plant-based Snack Bites to keep in our back pocket for the more important holidays rolling around this time of year. On three.

Flavor of Snack Bites you’d pair with pie on Pi Day?

Pecan Pie with Peanut Butter Bites à la mode

A stack of light brown Peanut Butter NadaMoo! Snack bites sitting on a table with the royal blue package and a bowl of the snack bites visible in the background. One Snack Bite has a bite taken out of it to expose the dark brown chocolate interior. Bits of chocolate are scattered on the table.
Aerial view of a bowl of light brown Peanut Butter NadaMoo! Snack Bites sitting on a white marble table. One Snack Bite is cut in half to expose the dark brown interior. Silver spoons full of peanut butter are hovering on either side of the bowl and bits of chopped chocolate are scattered on the table.

Flavor of Snack Bites you’d bring to the bar on St. Patty’s Day?

Mint Bites with a mojito chaser

Glass bowl filled with light green Mint Nadamoo! Snack Bites. Cut up chocolate and mint leaves are scattered decoratively around the bowl and a royal blue package of NadaMoo! Mint Snack Bites is visible in the background.
Aerial photo of Mint NadaMoo! Snack Bites displayed neatly on a light gray plate. The snack bites are light green and bits of chopped up chocolate and mint leaves are scattered decoratively around the plate on the white marble table.

Flavor of Snack Bites you’d want in your lunch box while planting trees for Earth Day?

Orange Crème Bites

NadaMoo! Orange Crème Snack Bites (light orange exterior, white interior) sitting neatly on a dark blue ceramic plate. A royal blue package of the Snack Bites is visible in the background on the dark brown wooden table.

Flavor of Snack Bites you’d want in your hands while binging Star Wars on May the 4th?

Mango & Strawberry Bites

Close up of Mango & Strawberry NadaMoo! Snack Bites, some whole some cut in half to expose the pink interior. The snack bites are scattered on top of a bunch of bright red strawberries.
Close up of a hand holding a NadaMoo! Strawberry & Mango snack bite with a bite taken out of it. The Snack Bite is orange on the outside and light pink on the inside. In the background on t eh white marble table, the snack bites are neatly placed in alternating rows of fresh whole and halved red strawberries.

Flavor of Snack Bites you’d send home to mom for Mother’s Day?

Salted Caramel Bites and a bouquet of begonias

Closeup of a Salted Caramel NadaMoo! Snack Bite with a bite taken out of it. The exterior is light brown and the interior is while. The Snack bite is sitting on a plate of other snack bites decorated with lots of sea salt.
Aerial photo of a hand holding a light brown Salted Caramel NadaMoo! Snack Bite with a bite taken out of it  to expose the white interior. In the back ground, the white marble table is covered in light brown caramel drizzle.