Foodpreneurs Re-envision School Lunch
Will Rosenzweig, founding CEO of The Republic of Tea and Dean of The Food Business School, explains how “foodpreneurs” are focusing on supply chains and distribution models to change school lunch for the better. In particular, Rosenzweig focuses on Revolution Foods, which he cautions “is neither an overnight success nor a VC 'unicorn'. It is however, a very valuable business with a focused purpose, a solid, long-term value proposition and a clear conscience.” The company, which produces fresh, healthy meals for school cafeteria, has grown from serving one Oakland, California charter school almost a decade ago to serving more than a thousand schools across 15 states. Revolution Foods’ operating model is markedly distinct from those serving school cafeterias for decades now: “Vegetables are introduced in creative ways; students learn about the foods they eat, where they come from and why they are important to their well-being.”
Further, Revolution Foods “has designed an environmentally responsible and defensible supply chain. Most importantly, the company’s leadership has re-imagined breakfast, lunch and dinner, while delivering chef-crafted, kid inspired nutrition-rich dishes that are transforming the health and habits of a generation of children—the very ones we need to adopt and lead the food revolution for the next 50 years. With the company’s recent and successful entry into the retail grocery channel, Revolution Foods is reaching an even broader national constituent of families seeking healthy and affordable meal options.”
Rosenzweig emphasizes that there is plenty of room for innovative food entrepreneurs to flourish. And indeed, the food system needs passionate, innovative entrepreneurs as local food struggles to scale up while avoiding the pitfalls of “big food.” And Rosenzweig cautions budding food entrepreneurs that they “would be well served to envision themselves as stewards, rather than hackers or disrupters,” as they serve a wide breadth of stakeholders and are involving themselves in an intimate cultural and personal phenomenon.
Are there food entrepreneurs you are particularly excited about? What sorts of innovations do you think are most needed to create a more just, environmentally friendly and accessible food system?