Toward a sustainable food system: How CPG and ingredient companies are driving innovation, impact

Ingredient company Ciranda and food company Every Body Eat are leading the way in sustainability by embracing holistic sustainability, innovating and prioritizing community engagement.

Quayla Allen, Global manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)

September 21, 2023

2 Min Read

At a Glance

  • Food companies are starting to embrace holistic sustainability, recognizing the competitive advantage it can offer.
  • For Ciranda and Every Body Eat, disruptive innovation is the driving force behind gradual transformations.
  • These companies are prioritizing sustainability and championing community engagement to shape a more sustainable future.

Amid the fight to stabilize the world’s food systems, food-based CPG and ingredient companies are at the forefront of the sustainability kaleidoscope.

Navigating through ever-changing definitions and interpretations, more companies are starting to embrace holistic sustainability, recognizing the competitive advantage it can proffer. For Ciranda and Every Body Eat, disruptive innovation is the driving force behind gradual transformations for their businesses and the communities they serve.

At Every Body Eat, sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line—a framework for measuring business success in the key areas of people, profit and the planet. “It’s about building an ecosystem with concentric circles that radiate out, putting positive nodes into a network effect,” Nichole Wilson, co-founder, explained. The company’s clean and craveable snacks, developed to offer people with allergen-free diets better-for-you options, “bring people together over a shared love of delicious food.”

Measuring impact through the social determinants of health is the next phase of the company’s work, especially when, as co-founder Trish Thomas noted, “your workforce has the highest rates of disease and death because they don’t have access to healthy food.”

By bringing integrity into food manufacturing, Every Body Eat champions its employees through nutrition, financial literacy and advocacy. As a result, Wilson and Thomas have seen employee eating habits shift and sick leave decrease, signaling a more engaged workforce.

Creating a positive ripple effect in the community meant recognizing their employees’ needs in an employer-appropriate way. “You just decide that your choices are gonna be the right choices, and then you try to make them financially work,” Thomas said.

“From the beginning, we’ve been intentional with [upholding] the highest standards possible, as well as what’s the right way to do it and not what’s the easy way,” Wilson added.

Ciranda, a global supplier offering organic, non-GMO and fair trade ingredients, prioritizes sustainability by strategically allocating a portion of its annual profits to local organizations near its headquarters in Hudson, Wisconsin. Examples include St. Croix Valley Food Bank, Hudson Backpack & Food Program and Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks Inc. Head of Ciranda’s sustainability efforts, Joe Rouleau, leads the development of the organization’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) pillars. “The critical thing is looking at the good our suppliers are doing and inspiring others to engage,” he explained.

Rouleau believes championing values-driven initiatives, from farmer education to disaster response, across the company’s global community of suppliers—spanning over 15 countries—can further its sustainable practices in the United States and abroad.

In this ongoing pursuit of sustainability, the food industry is witnessing inspiring examples set by companies like Ciranda and Every Body Eat. As they prioritize sustainability, champion community engagement and embrace disruptive innovation, these businesses actively shape a more sustainable future for their organizations, communities and beyond.

About the Author(s)

Quayla Allen

Global manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), The Kraft Heinz Co.

Quayla Allen is the global manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) at The Kraft Heinz Co. She is an equity and impact strategist and creative freelancer at the intersection of arts, culture, food and travel. Driven by a deep belief in the power of culture, collaboration and storytelling, through her consultancy Wynn & Noble, she enjoys reimagining travel as a means to foster cultural equity and the creation of more enriching experiences for eaters, travelers and destination managers alike. Allen lives and works in Pittsburgh and can be contacted at [email protected].

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the healthy food and beverage industry.
Join 30,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like