SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

News > Markets

Read more breaking news

 

 
Soup-to-Nuts Podcast

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: How doing good can also be good for business

By Elizabeth Crawford

20-Jan-2017

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: How doing good can also be good for business
Soup-To-Nuts podcast: How doing good can also be good for business
Loading the player...

In today’s highly competitive landscape, many food and beverage manufacturers try to set their brands apart by tapping into consumers’ desire for products that not only are better for them but also better for the planet or for society. 

This is demonstrated in the wide offering of better-for-you snacks that replace classic ingredients that are high-in fat, sugar or sodium with ones that are nutrient dense and lower in unwanted elements. Likewise, many companies offer a percentage of their profits to charities as evidence that they aren’t just about making money. Or they source only sustainably farmed ingredients or pay fair or direct trade prices to help otherwise disenfranchised suppliers earn a living wage.

And while many companies can check one or two of these boxes, natural food manufacturer Health Warrior has consistently checked all three by making nutrient dense, low-calorie, superfood-infused snack bars based on sustainably raised chia seeds and by quietly donating to various charities.

But with the launch of a new Kickstarter campaign earlier this week, the brand effectively dunks on its previous efforts and those of many competitors by offering to donate 100% of the proceeds of a new Mexican Chocolate Chia Bar to fund sustainable agriculture projects for the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, which have suffered devastating droughts recently. 

In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts Podcast, Shane Emmett, CEO of Health Warrior, talks about this campaign, and the macro trend of offering products that are better-for-you, better-for-a-society and better-for-the-planet that seems to be gripping so many startups in the food and beverage industry.

He explained that Health Warrior was founded with a grand vision that reflects the evolving values of consumers and these emerging desires to buy products that are healthy and helpful.

“Our vision was that better health will build a stronger society … [and] our job is to help the pendulum swing back to move away from over-consumption of nutrient weak foods and just make eating nutrient dense whole foods easier and the norm,” Emmett said. And, he optimistically added industry is headed in the right direction, in part by offering options that are healthier for consumers, the planet and different societies impacted by production and supply chain management.

For its part, Health Warrior is helping consumers lead healthier lives by offering snacks that Emmett says aren’t just better-for-you, but are actually good for you.

“Positive nutrition has been a big part of our innovation from the beginning and it is a big part of the brand,” Emmett explained. “Chia seeds are the No. 1 ingredient in our chia bars, of course, and one of our rules is that although we use superfoods we use them as the first ingredient … and I think that is really one indicator for moving from better for you to good for you.”

He went on to explain: “When I think of better-for-you I think of a lot of products that say hey we have less sugar, hey we are low fat, we all know how that trend has gone. Or even hey we are using fake sugars so there is no sugar in here but that is not positive nutrition. Our idea is saying we are putting chia seeds as the number one ingredient in these bars, and it has the highest plant based form or omega-3s protein and fiber, incredibly satiating and they make you feel better after you eat them.”

Choose sustainable crops

Chia is also good for the environment in that the seed is a sustainable crop, which Emmett suggest responsible manufacturers must consider, especially as they scale up production.

Chia “grows like a weed. So it is this really great crop that doesn’t require as much fertilizer, it doesn’t require insecticides and it actually has citronella in the leaves so it is really sturdy crop and I think that is an interesting angle to keep an eye on if you’re going to sell something and be selling millions of some product, maybe even more, than you want to make sure the supply chain is doing good for you for the soil as well. You don’t want something that takes all the nutrition out of the soil and can’t be farmed in a sustainable manner.”

Giving back in ways that help, not just that are easy

And finally, Health Warrior has a long history of quietly giving back to its community in ways that are needed, not just that are easy for the company.

For example, Health Warrior’s Kickstarter campaign that launched this week is designed to raise funds for the company’s Operation Farm and Run, which aims to refurbish Terahumara farms in the Copper Canyons of Mexico with basic supplies and the labor required to grow chia using traditional Tarahumar farming practices.

When the company learned of the droughts and difficulties facing Tarahumara farmers, Emmett said it wanted to apply some “entrepreneurial thinking to the challenges,” so it asked what the farmers needed and created the campaign to fill those requests, including restoring soil, paying for labor and creating seed banks.

The Kickstarter campaign’s goal is to raise $25,000, which could help restore several farms. To entice investors, Health Warrior is offering several prizes in exchange for different levels of support. A pledge of $5 will snag a donor two Health Warrior Mexican Chocolate Chia Bars and a note from Emmett, $20 or more will get a donor 15 bars and for $60 a donor would receive 30 bars, a bag of chia seeds and a running shirt. The prizes get bigger as the pledges do with a grand prize of a trip to the Copper Canyons for $7,500 or more.

Cautionary advice and encouragement

Reflecting on his experiences so far with weaving a culture of doing good into his business, Emmett offered other firms looking to do the same thing two pieces of advice and one caution.

First, he advised companies not to overcommit but rather to under promise and over deliver, just like in business. Second, he said the cause should be personal and related to the company’s mission in order to keep staff motivated and earn buy in from other supporters.

And finally, he cautioned companies to “have a little bit of devil’s advocacy” and do due diligence to ensure the causes that they support are worthy and will effectively use the donations. 

Related products

Soup-to-Nuts podcast: The return of consumers to home kitchens

Soup-to-Nuts podcast: The opportunities & challenges of consumers' return to home kitchens

Despite continued pressure from the on-the-go lifestyles that dominate today’s culture and have fueled...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Key strategies for innovation from Kraft Heinz

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Key strategies for innovation & renovation from Kraft Heinz

A commonly held perception of the ongoing renaissance in the food and beverage industry...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?

For time-strapped entrepreneurs who are brave enough to take the stage, competing in pitch-slams...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Can duck be a dark horse of animal proteins?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Can duck become the dark horse of animal proteins?

When it comes to eating meat in the US, chicken, without a doubt, is...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The business case for kosher certification

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The business case for kosher certification

Ethical claims on food and beverages sold in the US are almost as ubiquitous...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Hemp is overcoming hurdles to become superfood

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: How hemp is overcoming hurdles to become the next superfood star

Nutrition-packed, environmentally sustainable and already notoriously well-known – although partly for the wrong reasons...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Seeds emerge as superfood powerhouse

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Nutrient-dense seeds emerge as superfood powerhouse

Nuts and seeds in the US are finally reaching superfood status, thanks in part...

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: 3 trends driving growth in bottled water

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: Three trends driving growth in the bottled water category

After years of steady growth in the high single-digits, consumption of water in the...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: grain-free vs ancient grain trends

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Gluten free movement spawns divergent grain-free vs ancient grain trends

As the tenacious gluten-free trend continues to grow and mature into a market behemoth...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Agency enforcement and litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: FDA & FTC move forward with enforcement even with some regulations in limbo

New regulations and draft guidances may be on hold at many federal agencies until...

As soda sales fall, kombucha rises

As soda sales fall, kombucha rises

Tumbling soda sales have opened the door to the mainstream market for a variety...

Bonafide Provisions expands bone broth's appeal with Drinkable Veggies

Bonafide Provisions expands the reach and appeal of bone broth with Drinkable Veggies

As recently as two years ago, bone broth was virtually unheard of by the...

Defining dietary fiber at the 2017 IFT show

VIDEO: Should we define dietary fiber on the basis of what it is or what it does?

Which ingredients should be classified as dietary fibers and why? Elaine Watson caught up...

Sugar Reduction: What’s next? At IFT, companies weigh in

How will added sugar labeling change the market? At IFT, companies weigh in

The controversial requirement to list added sugar on the nutrition facts panel has divided...

Corbion's trans fat-free emulsifiers allow manufacturers to 're-engineer' cakes

Corbion's trans fat-free emulsifiers allow manufacturers to 're-engineer' cakes

"The conversion away from partially hydrogenated oils is really an opportunity to re-engineer cakes...

Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food, EverSweet, at IFT 2017

VIDEO: Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food: ‘All food is made of chemicals’

To many consumers, ‘processed food’ is just another term for ‘junk food.’ It’s hard...

Entomo Farms talks edible insects at IFT 2017

Entomo Farms: 'We’re one of the most recognized [edible insect] brands across the world now'

Canadian bug powder supplier Entomo Farms is still doing most of its business with...

Clean meat labeling and regulation in focus at IFT 2017

VIDEO: Will we need a new regulatory framework for clean (cultured) meat?

Producing ‘clean’ meat by culturing cells – instead of raising or slaughtering animals -...

IFT 2017 green banana flour in focus

VIDEO: ‘Green banana flour has the functionality of a starch and the label of a fruit…’

One product that generated quite a buzz at the IFT show this year was...

Retail competition heats up as consumers seek more ethnic products

Competition among retailers heats up as consumers seek more diverse, ethnic products

Consumer demand for products that are authentic and ethnic is not only prompting brand...

Key Industry Events

Promotional Features

Content Provided by Fonterra

Way forward with whey protein