Thank you and goodbye!

We’ve certainly learned a great deal about the food and beverage industry during our time contributing to this blog. Each of our group members approached the subject matter with a distinct perspective that added to the blog in a unique way. Although we have enjoyed our experience with the blog, we have chosen to end our journey here. We will not continue to make blog posts in the future, though we do appreciate all of your support over the past few months. Thank you for everything, we have certainly enjoyed ourselves and learned from this project.

Spencer Donnelly


Final Post

My first post looked at the social side of the boulder food industry. Community Food Share donates millions of dollars in addition to thousands of pounds of food during its corporate challenge. The local food bank not only gives back to the community but also works on creating a strong relationship between other companies based in Boulder. This post helped to develop the other side of the food industry in Boulder. With a huge focus on being sustainable consumers forget that these companies also help support the community. After looking into all that Community Food share does I realized that there are many people suffering from poverty right here in Boulder County.  The $12.5 million in food that Community Food Share donates goes to help the 59,000 people in Boulder and Broomfield County that are living below the poverty line.

The second post I made continued to look behind the scenes of the Boulder food industry. Silk, soymilk is based in Broomfield and has recently switched from natural and organic soybeans to conventional ones. One of the main focus points of many Boulder businesses is doing the right thing. After experiencing a lot of backlash from dedicated consumers, Silk began to take all the necessary steps to rebuild confidence in their brand once again. This post demonstrates the social responsibility that Boulder companies must have as well as how dedicated they are to building a strong relationship with consumers.

In week three I posted about the strong venture capital investment environment that Boulder has cultivated. Many large and successful corporations have come out of Boulder and this has attracted investors from all across the nation. With the help of these funds more businesses are erupting and seeing success.

My final post focused on one of the successful Boulder food companies that was able to grow with help from these investors. The most remarkable thing about Justin’s Nut Butter is that as they are expanding throughout the United States, they are still focused on doing the right thing. Justin’s still makes the products in small batches only using natural and premium ingredients. I think this company embodies the spirit of Boulder business. They are focused on sustainability and making new improvements every year to reduce their carbon footprint. They are focused on doing the right thing as shown through the numerous hours and funds put into several different charities. Justin’s is the perfect company to end my blog posts with because it truly encompasses all aspects of the being a business in Boulder

Local Boulder firm spurring fresh approach to food and money

Slow Money is a local Boulder organization that is dedicated to changing the way that Americans as well as the rest of the world thinks about food and finance. Although they have a series of seven major principles that drive their vision, their basic message emphasizes that “we must bring money back down to earth.” This is encompassed by the core of their movement that argues that in the food industry, money is “too fast.” The central point being made is that companies are too large, and the finance of these companies is too complex to be efficient for everyday consumers. The belief that as a society, we must invest in food, farms, and fertility is central to Slow Money’s theme of rebuilding our economy, starting with creating new relationships and critical sources of capital in small food enterprises. Slow Money’s principles and main message can be found HERE.

I agree with this approach to food and nurturing local economic outlets before throwing your money at large corporations. It does not take more than one viewing of the documentary Food, Inc. to grasp that our modern food system is essentially an assembly line controlled by giant businesses. In 1970, thousands of slaughterhouses existed in the United States that produced the majority of beef nationwide. Only thirteen exist today, all controlled by major corporations with billions in annual revenue. I am not against efficiency in the market place, I am however against the side effects of this type of production.  Although the current system provides the best price for the consumer, it ignores dangers of the assembly line system. The food that has been made extremely cheap to buy and produce is very unhealthy when compared to alternatives. This availability and low price is also contributing to the rise in obesity and diabetes in the United States. 1 in 3 Americans born after the year 2000 will contract early onset diabetes, while minorities will have an even higher rate, at 1 in 2 suffering from early onset. This is only a brief summary of my distaste for the current food system in the United States, though I do see the economic appeal due to the business efficiency that it provides.

Slow Money is a movement that I am much more supportive of. Their main goal of making 1 million people invest 1 percent of their money into local food systems is a wonderful idea. I take this point of view not only because I would like to see a healthier and happier country, but because I think it contributes positively to local economies. By supporting local food organizations that care about the consumers that they provide their products to, this would make a positive impact to the health of local citizens. Whether it’s organic, locally grown, or just plain health oriented, contributing to the Slow Money movement seems like a much more viable alternative than continuing to buy into the large food corporations that ignore health and ethical issues with their behavior in sight of their fat bottom lines. I wish to blog more about this in the future, as I have much more to say on the issue.

Spencer Donnelly

Read more about Slow Money HERE.

Food, INC facts are HERE.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter HERE.

Trader Joe’s to enter competitive Boulder market

According to a local source, Trader Joe’s is headed to Boulder as a part of their new expansion plans.  In early January, the grocery chain completed paperwork with Colorado’s Secretary of State office in order to start conducting business within the next 3 months. This has been met by mixed reactions of Boulder residents.  On one hand, Trader Joe’s offers competitive prices on essential products vital to Boulder consumers. Although they may not have the most diverse product lines on their shelves, the chain targets price conscious buyers to boost their bottom line. On the other hand, many Boulder residents are reacting negatively to the news of a new grocery store chain coming to Boulder. Not only does the city already have large grocery chains like Safeway and King Soopers, the grocery market itself seems already saturated to many residents. With the organic chains of Whole Foods, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Alfalfa’s Market, and Lucky’s, the city is already an extremely competitive market place to enter into.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage’s co-president Kemper Isely emphasized this by stating: “Boulder’s the most competitive natural foods market in the country.” Others have also reinforced the difficulty that Trader Joe’s may have in entering the city. “It’s definitely a bold move for any new food retailer to move into the Boulder market, given how many retailers we have here,” said Carlotta Mast, a local editor of the Natural Food Merchandiser. She went on to mention that “…if there were one retailer who could make a successful go of it, it would be Trader Joe’s.”

Trader Joe’s has since voiced their intentions in Boulder with the bold statement of a location in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall. By stating what makes them unique, and what differentiates themselves from their competition here in the city. This could potentially clear up the citizens uneasy feelings about their arrival. Throughout this informational piece, Trader Joe’s focuses on what positive impacts they can bring to the local community. This could also be a sigh of relief for other Boulder food business that are worried about losing market share. The casual tone of Trader Joe’s seems to appeal to a wide range of consumers that include “the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado.” Whether their arrival in the city will be a huge success or a disastrous failure remains to be seen, though our questions will be answered in the coming months.

Spencer Donnelly

Trader Joe’s Statement

Daily Camera Article

Food Share issues corporate challenge

Community Food Share is a food bank that serves both Boulder and Broomfield counties. One of every six people in these counties is under the poverty line working with about $29,965 per year for a family of four. This totals about 59,000 people that are living below the poverty level between the two counties. An additional 13,000 children are on the free lunch program in St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts. Community Food Share has been delivering meals for the past 32 years and distributes more than 7.5 million meals annually. These meals have been collectively valued at $12.5 million dollars.

The company is currently recruiting corporations for the annual “Compete to Beat Hunger” Corporate Challenge. The purpose of this event is to raise money and food for the food bank. Last year’s winner, WhiteWaves Food Co., raised $225,185 and 5,360 pounds of food.

Competing businesses get 10 points for each dollar donated and one point for every pound of food donated. How the competition works can vary among companies but many have come up with clever fundraisers to create their donations. Among the competing business this year are Amgen, Ball Corp, Remax of Boulder and last years champion WhiteWaves Food Co.

The competition focuses not only on the donations but also on educating businesses about local hunger and poverty issues leading to a more direct form of involvement. It raises a friendly competition among local businesses creating a more connected network within Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Community Food Share not only helps with the county poverty and hunger problems but also helps cut down on the food waste. Grocery stores usually throw out millions of pounds of food per year just within Colorado. This includes damaged foods, items close to their sell-by dates and products that aren’t selling well. Community Food Share takes these unwanted foods and puts them to better use in their food bank. They also benefits from two major food drives a year, one based out of Longmont and one in Boulder.

The success of this local food bank has lead to the purchase of new and larger facility based in Louisville. CEO Jim Baldwin commented on the purchase saying that “With our central role in the community’s fight against hunger and food insecurity, Community Food Share recognized the need for expanded facilities to better serve the growing number of families, individuals, and nonprofit agencies that depend on our food distribution services.”

You can read more on Community Food Share and “Compete to Beat Hunger” at the following links:

Food Share issues Corporate Challenge

Community Food Share Purchases Expanded Facility in Louisville

Community Food Share