Good Food Movement Leadership| November 15, 2018

Good Food is Good Medicine… And Good For Business

by Katie Daniel and Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed

Increasing the availability of Good Food has been central to FamilyFarmed’s non-profit mission for more than two decades. To accomplish that mission, FamilyFarmed has created bold and innovative programs, such as the Good Food EXPO, Good Food Accelerator, Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, Market Development, and Farmer Training, that support early-stage entrepreneurs who share our values to scale up and thrive.

Support FamilyFarmed through our annual “Birthday Challenge,” or find out how your Year-End Contribution can have a direct impact on the Good Food ecosystem. [Please note that donations of $1,250 or more made through Giving Tuesday on November 27 will be subject to a generous $1,250 match by The Coleman Foundation.]

Support from Good Foodies like you helps realize our vision of Good Food on Every Table — we can’t do it without you!

Virtually all of the food and farm entrepreneurs who engage with FamilyFarmed and its programs make and market better-for-you products. This is no coincidence, as FamilyFarmed’s goal is a healthier, more environmentally sustainable and more economically dynamic food system.

However, the three businesses highlighted as part of our Annual Appeal — all 2018 graduates of the fourth cohort of our Good Food Accelerator program — are noteworthy, because their companies emerged from products they created to address critical personal or family health issues.

 

 

ready to BRANDS

Mark Muller was working in finance in Melbourne, Australia when his wife Meagan, then pregnant, developed a severe case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which Muller describes as “100x morning sickness.”  “Things just kept getting worse,” he said. “So what started out as the search for relief escalated to something that was an absolute necessity.”

The power of Mark Muller’s creative response to a critical situation — and the simple appeal of his organic, all-natural nausea-relief product — helped ready to BRANDS win a highly competitive Pitch Slam, beating out eight other outstanding business startups at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in June.

Despite the intensely personal nature of the problem that prompted the creation of ready to BRANDS, Mark Muller entered the Good Food Accelerator in November 2017 with an open mind. Michael Schopin of Zenfinity Capital, in his role as mentor, persuaded Muller that targeting his product to only pregnant women suffering from morning sickness would produce a customer base too small to allow for major growth.

“We really knew right away that we were on the right track in the broader positioning, because we had so many people come to us with other use cases for why they see a need for our product,” Muller said.

Muller’s flexibility resulted in a revised business plan that impressed the Pitch Slam judges. As a result, ready to BRANDS won a prize package valued at $15,000 that included a cash prize, plus in-kind consulting and other business services from Pitch Slam sponsors Smoketown Strategy & InnovationCreative AlignmentsNewPoint Marketing, and KemperLesnik.

When asked after the Pitch Slam about the benefits of participating in the Accelerator, Muller focused on the far-reaching network that FamilyFarmed has developed under the leadership of founder/CEO Jim Slama. “Connections across the entire supply chain. Connections with distributors like UNFI… Things like that really do accelerate your growth. The right brokers and attorneys, pretty much anyone and everyone you would need to be in touch with to do this right, the Accelerator has made these connections,” Muller said.

Read more about ready to BRANDS on Good Food News. Contribute to FamilyFarmed and have a direct impact on amazing Good Food startups like ready to BRANDS.

Mark Muller, founder and CEO of ready to BRANDS, chatted with attendees at the Financing Fair, a centerpiece of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on June 19, 2018. Just earlier, Muller was declared the winner of the Conference’s Pitch Slam, in which he and eight other rising food entrepreneurs participated. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed

 

No Denial Foods/Posh Nosh

Debbie Wood was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was 9 years old and celiac disease when she was 32. “I struggled to find foods that brought joy to me, that didn’t hurt my body. I thought about food 24/7. It caused me a lot of anxiety,” Wood said.

Wood’s solution was to create her own grain-free, low-glycemic treats, all while pursuing a first career in real estate. “It was a salty, sweet, decadent snack mix that you can munch on during the day, you can top on yogurt, you can top on fruit, eat it with your coffee,” she said.

These snacks were so popular among her friends that she came to two conclusions. The first was that she might be able to make a business out of this. The other was that her recipes, though designed for people with health issues such as her own, were also delicious to people who did not have such problems.

So Wood created No Denial Foods, and when she exhibited at FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food EXPO, her booth drew a crowd of people eager to sample her products. The experience also prompted her to apply for the fourth Good Food Accelerator cohort, for which she was accepted.

“I realized it was the right time for my business to benefit from learning so much more. Again, you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn something or ask the right questions or meet someone who tells you you should know this,” Wood said in an interview in January 2018.

This statement turned out to be prophetic. Not only did Wood (like Muller) pursue a strategy to seek a broader market, she pivoted on her target market, creating a brand called Posh Nosh aimed at the specialty product and gift consumers. Wood will be officially launching Posh Nosh at the One of a Kind holiday gift market at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Read more about No Denial Foods on Good Food News. Want to see more amazing companies like No Denial Foods in your local supermarkets? Contribute to FamilyFarmed and support our work to increase the supply and availability of Good Food.

No Denial Foods’ delicious treats can sell themselves. But when you do a lot of sampling events, as founder/owner Debbie Wood does, an outgoing personality doesn’t hurt either. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed

 

Cultured Love

Food entrepreneurship was far from the minds of Jodie and Paul Krumpe a decade ago. Paul was a technology consultant, Jodie a stay at home mom whose cooking was, in her words, “more processed, easy foods.” But their lives were disrupted by Lyme disease, which most seriously affected their daughter Molly — then in middle school — but also burdened Jodie and Paul.

An arduous recovery, which medical professionals treated with heavy doses of antibiotics, spurred Jodie to undertake what Paul calls “a ton of research.” That research revealed the positive health impacts of a diet change featuring healthy foods in general, and fermented, probiotic foods fostering gut health in particular.

This led the couple in 2014 to start Cultured Love, their line of raw, naturally fermented sauerkrauts in flavors traditional — Dillyicious, flavored like a dill pickle, and Carry Me Away, with caraway seeds — to adventurous, such as curry-flavored Curryosity, kimchi-style Root for Ginger, and Purple Hot & Spicy with red cabbage and cayenne.

Just as with No Denial’s sweet treats, Cultured Love’s tasty sauerkraut immediately established appeal to a much broader market than those consumers with specific health concerns.

“We found that people who are on a plant-based diet really love that we have a variety of flavors. They’re less interested in traditional sauerkraut as much, because they eat so many plant-based foods, they want more flavor,” Jodie Krumpe said. “The people who are coming from a standard American diet of maybe meat and potatoes, we pull them in more with the Dilly-licious kraut, the one that tastes like a dill pickle, because it’s more familiar.”

While they knew they had a delicious, healthy product, the first-time entrepreneurs knew they needed the mentorship and community provided by FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator to make their business grow. “It was all passion and I wanted to get good food into the standard American diet, good food on people’s plates,” Krumpe said. “I just knew we needed the information. We need the support and the infrastructure and also to be with other food entrepreneurs.”

Read more about Cultured Love on Good Food News. While you’re online to place your order for some Cultured Love, we hope you will contribute to FamilyFarmed and support our work with entrepreneurs such as Paul and Jodie!

Jodie and Paul Krumpe plunged deeply into research on the connections between food and health after Lyme disease afflicted their family. Their discoveries about the powerful benefits of fermented and probiotic foods led them to launch Cultured Love, which produces organic sauerkraut in a variety of flavors. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed

 

These are just three of the amazing food and farm businesses we work with every day. Businesses come to the Good Food Accelerator with better-for-you food products. They leave the Accelerator with healthier business plans and strategies for getting their healthy products to more consumers. Our ultimate goal is to provide food and farm entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills in marketing, operations, finance and strategy they need to thrive commercially and have a powerful ripple effect on our health, the environment, local economies, and our communities.

Support FamilyFarmed through our annual “Birthday Challenge,” or find out how your Year-End Contribution can have a direct impact on the Good Food ecosystem.  [Please note that donations of $1,250 made through Giving Tuesday on November 27 will be generously matched 1:1 by The Coleman Foundation.]

Support from Good Foodies like you helps realize our vision of Good Food on Every Table — we can’t do it without you!

 

Category

Good Food Movement Leadership


Author

Katie Daniel


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