Snacks for a Sustainable Future.
Affordable, delicious snack made of fresh mushroom, onion and yucca that is sustainable, GMO-free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Low Calorie
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
UNITED STATES: Washington DC, New York NY, Portland OR, San Francisco CA, Los Angeles CA
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Whilst awareness continues to develop towards ethical and sustainable food practices, healthy dietary choices are still at the mercy of the restrictive costs of sourcing, creating and selling better, healthier food options. This is especially true in the snack sector. Outside of fresh fruit, nuts and cost prohibitive ethical options, there is still room to address peoples desire for 'naughty' satiating snacks that tick the boxes for healthy living.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
We begin with the understanding that we cannot get consumers to easily change their eating habits but we can get them to change their snacking habits. We do this by developing a practical solution to a difficult question: offer a snack alternative that can be produced, shipped and sold cheap enough for the consumer to consider it as a viable alternative to a bag of crisps whilst maintaining it is a low calorie, low sodium product that is sustainable and completely vegan and GMO free. Changing snack habits towards developing better lifestyle choices.
We have developed a working system of production and delivery that, once activated, guarantees Snacklins can supply to expanding regions with a reduced emissions impact. Thus, reducing our total emissions footprint dramatically. This involves shipping our product prior to final frying and bagging with an estimated reduction in volume shipped of over 1000%. We will then work with local co-packers under strict directions for finishing.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
Our product is 40 percent fresh mushroom, locally sourced. A recent sustainability study has shown that only 1.8 gallons of water and 1.0 kilowatt hours of energy is required to grow a pound of mushrooms whilst generating only 0.7 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions. By comparison, pork production generates approximately 800% the emissions per pound. In addition, mushrooms are high yield with up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms able to be produced on a single acre annually. This is what makes it one of the most sustainably produced foods in the US. Promoting Snacklins as 60 or 70 calories per *whole bag* addresses both the health concerns of the average consumer as well as promoting consumer confidence by bucking the trend masking a higher calorie count by using a *per single serve* format. We believe this low calorie count shows consumers that it is possible to offer both a healthy and delicious snack in what is traditionally a "cheat food" category.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Our decision was to create a self sustainable for-profit model of our product. We sell our snacks to support the growth of our employees and company. Everyone who has been with the company for a prolonged period of time or (within the first 6 months) has equity share in the company and also makes key decisions on a day-to-day basis. We have worked to minimise private equity funding as we grow. This has been made possible by partnering (10% equity stake) with innovative DC based food incubator Union Kitchen. The result: In 12 months, Snacklins has fast-tracked into over 100 grocery stores in the DC and NY area. We have secured further distribution in California as well as with United National Foods - primary distributor to Whole Foods Market - through their UNFI Next Accelerator program.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Sustainability is and will always be at the core of our company philosophy, but knowing how most business works, we knew that we had to make it a profitable entity as well to get the most bang out of our buck and to keep the idea afloat during those first crucial years. We have managed to break into many markets with healthy, plant-based sustainable snack chips, with most people not even realizing they are making a positive impact, because it is just a "delicious/affordable" chip in their eyes.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Honestly, it was a joke that has gotten completely out of hand. From the initial thought of "wouldn't it be fun to make a vegan pork rind" we never thought it would grow to this magnitude. Not only are we making a delicious meat-snack alternative, but we are using sustainable vegetables in a way that makes them easily consumable by the masses and has a greater impact on the every day lives of people.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Upon recommendation from others