Snippets – US online speciality food and an Irish Organic sector challenge

These have been kicking around my inbox for a month or so now.

They don’t aggregate products and pass fulfilment back to producers. And they have a lovely definition of their core focus:
“Included in the “indie food” category are artisan, small batch, handmade, organic, gluten-free and other packaged specialty foods that are “made by people not corporations, and typically involve a recipe,”

Screenshot 2014-01-05 12.32.38

I am liking that a lot. Funding in place, great design and strong core. Picked up via a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Hope they succeed 🙂

An Open Letter to the Organic Movement in Ireland

Ollie Moore is someone I like a lot. A journalist and musician he juggles a lot of pies. And hats. At his core is organics and the importance of a healthy sector in Ireland. His post is about stagnancy and what can be done to overcome that.

Much more debate needed around this tbh.



Lyfe Kitchen, Brussels Sprouts based Fast Food @LYFEKitchen

What they do

Sustainable, socially responsible fast food.

Where they do it

LA is the location of their first branch. Top marks if you guessed that 🙂

Who are they

The polar opposite of hippies. Mike Roberts and Sidwell are an ex McDonald’s COO and an investment banker who sat down one day and decided to build an ethical fast food business which would scale.

The management team is chokka full of management capability and VP’s. If anyone can scale this crew can.

The ethical bit?

On the suppliers side this is from their website:

  • Look to serve organic foods whenever commercially viable
  • Monitor how quickly product arrives at LYFE Kitchen to guarantee freshness and flavor
  • Maintain that all meats must be antibiotic and hormone free
  • Ensure that all meats and chicken are Global Animal Partnership approved

My thoughts

It is always hard to compare a business like this with Rapunzel for example. The latter is clearly driven by personal ethics whereas Lyfe could be a positioning exercise chasing a market opportunity. However this Wired article does point to ethical leanings during Mike Roberts time in McDonalds so maybe.

One way or another if there have to be fast food chains then this one is nicely positioned to make the supply chain a lot more ethical than the norm.

Links to more

/ keith

Scaling and mainsteaming – the ethical dilemas

Everyone with an interest or passion for a particular ethic around food (be it organic, fairtrade, vegetarian, whatever) is challenged with the issues that are almost inevitable when a niche business or sector gets bigger and then edges on mainstream.

One of those issues is the purchase of large and profitable independent food businesses by larger and more profitable entities with little or no core ethics.

This is more than a theoretical consideration as this study by Philip H. Howard on the US organic food sector shows.

This is a still from an 18 second animation which shows left to right the gradual absorbing of the key independent players in the sector into larger entities over 12 years 1995 to 2007.

Have a look at more detail here. For me a business absorbed into a larger company with no ethical core drops from my shopping list (Green & Black being a good example, I have no interest in supporting Kraft Foods)
/ keith



The Flour Pot Bakery, design work by Sara Nicely

This bakery in Florida had its new packaging and menus redone by Sara Nicely. From her site:

“The bakery’s interior space is inviting and warm with natural lighting and eclectic funky displays advertising baked goods.
This identity system was designed to convey the unique and handmade qualities of the bakery.”

Check out the full post here.


Thanks to @jkeyes for this one.

Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco

Thanks to @jkeyes for the tip-off. This video homage is to Four Barrel Coffee, coffee roasters in San Fran.

As with many small scale coffee roasters they work directly with the growers of their beans to ensure they build up long term relationships instead of purchasing beans from the marketplace where commodity dealers rule,


Listing of Artisan chocolatiers in San Francisco

Extract from article:

Only in San Francisco, with its rich and lucious history of food, can one find four of the nation’s 11 major chocolate manufacturers and a disproportionate number of unique boutique chocolatiers.The Bay Area is home to some of the greatest chocolate factories in world including: The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, See’s Candies , Scharffen Berger Chocolate (recently acquired by the Hershey Company) and Tcho


Artisan at work: Rogue Chocolatier

Rogue Chocolatier

One man bean-to-bar chocolate making in Minneapolis

At a mere 24-years-old, Colin Gasko is fervently bringing the fine art of bean-to-bar chocolate making to the Midwest. Over the past few years, the Minneapolis-based Rogue Chocolatier has experimented with techniques….

Gasko sources his own cocoa and oversees the entire three-day-long production process…..

Gasko offers four different flavors of chocolate created from beans around the world, as well as the occasional limited edition…..

Read on Cool Hunting

Nothing to add to this, that would be amazing chocolate.


Cool Hunting: Nature’s Catch Smoked Salmon Jerky

Nature’s Catch Smoked Salmon Jerky

The classic road-trip snack gets a healthy, sustainable update

Nature’s Catch serves up a nutritiously tasty substitute with their Smoked Salmon Jerky….Using only wild Alaskan salmon, the Blaine, Washington-based company keeps sustainability in mind—the Environmental Defense Fund names salmon as one of the best eco-friendly fish to eat—when creating their thinly sliced jerky. 

Drawing on the well-managed population of salmon inhabiting the Pacific Northwest, the snack is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats, as well as vitamins D, B6 and B12.

Read on Cool Hunting

There are some great salmon/fish products out of Ireland as well and I will post about them here. The development of “value added” products and brands for marine based resources helps to create sustainable businesses and therefore helps to manage natural resources.


Cool Hunting: Alter Eco, global Fairtrade food brand

Alter Eco

Quinoa chocolate bars, purple jasmine rice and more from a powerhouse fair trade brand

Though today the fair trade food brand Alter Eco works with 25 cooperatives across 19 countries, they began in 1999 as a small shop in Paris carrying mostly furniture…. One of the leading members of the Fair Trade Initiative, their hands-on approach has led to major impacts in improving the food cycle…

Products range from bags of hearty grains like jasmine rice and quinoa to chocolate bars filled with sugary mint or crystallized orange peels…..

Each of Alter Eco’s 56 fair trade, USDA organic products sell on their site at reasonable prices…..For in-store purchase, check out the webstite’s retail locator, which lists carriers all across the U.S. and in parts of Canada.

Read on Cool Hunting


6 Artisan producers featured in Food and Wine mag, USA

Via the True Blue Ridge blog came this feature from the September Food and Wine magazine in the USA. It features the following 6 small scale producers

Some great stories (and great websites too). The photo is from the North Caroline Organic Bread blog.