Expo West 2018

Applegate teams with Whole30 to expand the reach of its humanely-raised, clean-ingredient products

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Whole30 Approved logo has become a shortcut for consumers looking for products made with real, simple and nutritious ingredients, and as such it is giving products that bear the certification a huge market boost, as Applegate recently discovered.

However, earning the certification isn’t easy.

“We have probably on average 90% rejection rate for Whole30 Approved,”​ Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig told FoodNavigator-USA at Natural Products Expo West earlier this month.

She explained that earning the Whole30 Approved certification requires more than offering clean ingredients.

“Obviously, the baseline is your having to be compliance with the Whole 30 program,”​ which functions as a 30-day dietary reset designed to help people improve their health, dietary habits and overall relationship with food, she said.

But in addition, she noted firms that want to become Whole30 Approved need to be “partners in the truest sense of the word. Are you committed to supporting our community the way we are to supporting yours? Does your mission and vision align with ours at Whole30? Are you engaged with your community? Are you supportive and are you willing to partner with us on things like giveaways and charitable events?”

For Applegate, the answers to all of these questions was yes.

“We have been looking at Whole30 for many years … and back in December we announced our partnership. And so we have had just phenomenal success in doing this,”​ Nicole Glenn, vice president of marketing for Applegate, said.

“It’s a really great partnership. It is great to have shared values just from humanely raised to clean ingredients and really being able to offer that to our consumers and especially from Applegate on a convenient side of things – really to make Whole30 so much more accessible,”​ she added.

On the sales side, the partnership has been a boon for Applegate, too.

“Melissa is a huge brand ambassador for the program and went out and announced our partnership and immediately you have got a welcoming community within Whole30,”​ Glenn said.

A concrete example of the partnership’s impact on Applegate sales was the company earning one of its highest weekly sales of Whole Foods on hot dogs in the first week of January, just after the announcement about the partnership.

“You don’t really think of hot dogs being part of that New Year’s food revolution. But we saw this phenomenal success and I am convinced it was Whole30ers trying our hotdogs for breakfast, Glenn said.

In exchange, Applegate has been an “amazing partner”​ for Whole30, Hartwig said.

“Obviously we love their squeaky clean ingredients, their transparent labeling, their commitment to animal welfare – that is kind of an obvious choice for Whole30. But they have been a true partner with giveaways and sponsored content and collaborative resources that support the Whole30 community,”​ Hartwig explained.

She added that ultimately, “what Applegate is doing is making Whole30 easier and more accessible for my Whole30ers and that is such a win.”

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1 comment

Humanely raised?

Posted by Jennifer,

Good article, but what, exactly, does "humanely raised" mean? Was it intentional that this article was evasive on that issue? Applegate sources its pork from hundreds of farms. Do each of those farms comply with the genuinely meaningful and enforceable farmed animal welfare inspection programs run by third party animal welfare and organic organizations? How does Applegate know? Unless each farm that supplies Applegate meets the criteria for earning an "animal welfare approved" logo from a certifying animal welfare agency, such as the Humane Society of the US, the final product cannot legitimately be called humanely produced. Neither can it legitimately be priced as a humanely raised product, but probably the Applegate execs don't want the public to know that! It's sad, but the term "humanely raised" is bandied about mainly to drag a premium price from the consumer and make people think that meat consumption is ethically OK. The truth is that the phrase "humanely raised" is meaningless in either the social or the regulatory sense. I suspect Applegate's display of apparent social consciousness is probably just part of an elaborate attempt by the meat industry to lure consumers away from the increasingly popular plant-based competition. If you don't see a logo from a third party involved in a certification program (such as OTCO or the Humane Society of the US) on an Applegate product, put it back! If in doubt, do the best thing: buy a plant-based alternative, instead.

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