Image Gallery: The Top 10—Food Product Design, January 2014

Esca Bona Supply Heroes and transparency work in lockstep to further the good food movement

These Supplier Heroes are changing the supply chain game for the better.

Over the last six months, writers at New Hope Network and Natural Products INSIDER have turned in some remarkable Supplier Hero Stories. The purpose of highlighting these brands as Supplier Heroes is to showcase their alternative approaches to repairing and solving many problems rampant in today’s global supply chains. 

Leaders are fueling innovation and solutions by following a road less traveled, establishing connections and networks that are unconventional and introducing—or, in some cases, resurrecting—antiquated ingredient formulations. Simply put, they are doing things better, if not perfectly, and furthering the good food movement. 

However, there is nothing simple in overcoming bad habits that have come to define today’s complex food system—a system where food-production efficiency has come at the expense of quality, taste and, ultimately, wellbeing. These stories are about brands and suppliers that are digging in to resolve the opacity, distance and disconnectedness between manufacturer and supplier that makes all the difference in creating a product that consumers want—those made with ingredients that address social and environmental issues and are nutritionally superior compared to conventional offerings. 

Whether brands are connecting directly with farmers or to suppliers who connect with farmers, these leaders are making radical changes through relationship-development and resulting infrastructure to make traceability the core goal in the good-food movement. Knowing where our food comes from meets a consumer demand, of course, but it also sets the foundation that puts the do-gooder supply hero in a position of greater responsibility to usher in ingredients visible back to the farm with accompanying ripple effects. Such ripples include higher premiums paid to farmers, community development programs, stable jobs, improved agricultural production methods and ingredient manufacturing processes, and new transportation networks, to name a few.                

Revisit some of the amazing adventures of our Supply Heroes thus far: 

Justin’s pursues difficult supply questions for “progress, not perfection.” 

Madécasse is ending poverty for cocoa farmers in Madagascar while proving that the business of chocolate can be done differently. 

Alter Eco, in collaboration with Pur Projet, demonstrates how insetting carbon footprint strengthens supply chains. 

Natural Habitats, through its “Palm Done Right” campaign, aims to reframe the discussion against conflict palm oil and educate stakeholders—consumer, manufacturer and farmer—on the social and environmental benefits of palm oil. 

Coffee Flour takes one of the most popular crops in the world—coffee—and turns its troubling, not to mention relatively unheard of, coffee pulp byproduct into a versatile functional food ingredient. 

Popcorners is always looking to “Do One Better,” and elevates its supply chain by securing non-GMO corn for its products. 

Hummingbird Wholesale supplies food staples to businesses in the Pacific Northwest with a dedicated commitment to ambitious environmental goals

REBBL, plant-forward beverage innovator, delivers efficacious levels of functional herbs in clean, indulgent coconut milk elixirs. 

M2 Ingredients understands the importance of the below-ground mushroom mycelium network and turned it into a whole-food functional ingredient

HERE salad dressing farm-to-label brand builds a clean supply chain with locally farmed ingredients.

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