Our theme of the month is food, and we are partnering with Bolthouse Farms for our August The Feast Worldwide Dinner. In this post, Bolthouse Farms’ Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dunn tells us about how Bolthouse Farms is helping people to make healthier choices and opportunities for others to do the same. Join us Tuesday, August 26th in NYC to address how can we use the power of the internet and social media to celebrate fruits and vegetables.
Tell us about the Bolthouse Farms journey and how it got to where it is now.
Bolthouse Farms will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. In 1915, the Bolthouse family started commercial vegetable farming in western Michigan and by 1950, Bolthouse Farms was the leading supplier of carrots to Midwest processors like Gerber, Campbell’s and Heinz. In 1990 the baby carrot was “born”, which completely changed the business and revolutionized the industry. In 2003, Bolthouse Farms started several new business lines, including super premium beverages. In 2007, we started manufacturing yogurt-baseddressings.
I joined the company the following year and we started a revolution to change the conversation around healthy eating. In 2010, we launched the “”Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food” marketing campaign, bringing baby carrots into the snack food spotlight and demonstrating that the same junk food marketing tactics that have been successful in the center of the store for decades can work in the produce aisle.
Earlier this year, we launched The Food Porn Index, a website that tracks the health of the Internet to raise awareness of the imbalance between healthy vs. unhealthy food conversations online. The latest chapter in the Bolthouse Farms story is our new line of fruit and veggie-based snacks for kids, called Bolthouse Farms Kids, which we announced in late July and will be in produce aisles across the country in time for back-to-school.
Is there a basic principle or value that guides what Bolthouse Farms contributes to the world? What is it and why?
Bolthouse Farms’ mission is to inspire individuals to lead healthier lives by making the healthy choice the easy choice. We believe we can contribute to a healthier nation and increase demand for fruits and vegetables by investing in marketing, product innovation and merchandising that makes fresh foods more available, accessible and affordable.
On the personal, business, or world scale, what do you see as the holy grail right now in your industry? What do you see as the biggest challenges to reaching it?
For me, the Holy Grail would be for the industry to come together, rip a page from the junk food playbook and launch fun, playful, even irreverent advertising ideas that will change America’s relationship with fruits and vegetables forever. I’m talking about campaigns funded with multi-million dollar budgets and the taglines, characters and excitement that we’re used to seeing in junk food commercials. We’ve got to help Americans make the healthy choice the easy choice, not by preaching rational based messages that won’t work, but by positioning fresh, nutritious foods more creatively, innovatively and pervasively. Think “Just Do It” but for your favorite fruit or veggie.
What is the long-term vision for your organization, and more broadly your industry, and how it impacts the world?
I would love to see the day where our Bolthouse Farms’ marketing team is trying to find a strategy to compete with the latest ad campaign for Brussels sprouts or celery sticks. The produce industry as a whole has been a little shy when it comes to advertising, but my hope is that the industry will continue to embrace the power that comes with exciting marketing to help make fruits and veggies “cool” and we’ll see more and more produce companies playing around with advertising. Who knows, one day junk food marketers could be looking at our campaigns for inspiration!
Are there ways how entrepreneurs or initiatives could contribute to your goal in collaborative or parallel ways?
We’ve seen tremendous support from The White House, Sesame Street, the Produce Marketing Association and others in the produce industry who recognize the need for a new approach to how we market fruits and vegetables. Recently, The White House, Sesame Street and PMA came together for an initiative to grant produce companies royalty-free access to use Sesame Street characters to market fresh fruits and vegetables for two years, with the goal of inspiring a lasting love of fruits and veggies in the next generation.
I think that it is the responsibility of all of us in the produce industry to work to make it easier and more affordable for Americans to eat healthier. Junk food is winning the fight for people’s taste buds and rather than blaming junk food, the produce industry needs to do better to create innovative products that people want to eat.
What are some of the creative or inspiring ways you’re engaging people so that you can maximize Bolthouse Farm’s mission?
We’re always looking for new and unique ways to inspire people to make healthier choices. For example, in February we launched The Food Porn Index (www.foodpornindex.com), an interactive website that tracks the health of the internet via hashtags used on social media to raise awareness of the significant imbalance of unhealthy vs. healthy food discussions online.
By shining a light on the imbalance in a playful way, we hope to further change the perception of fruits and veggies by showing how they can fit into your Twitter updates or Instagram posts. The site features game-like “food experiences” which urge visitors to share the Index with their own social networks.
We have seen really great engagement since we launched the Index with over 100,000 site visitors. And early response suggests that the Index is contributing to changes in behavior as we’re seeing a shift in the healthy vs. unhealthy food conversation imbalance. When it launched, the number of tracked hashtags was 28% healthy vs. 72% unhealthy. As of August 11th, the tracked hashtags were approximately 34% healthy vs. 65% unhealthy.
You’re partnering with The Feast for our monthly dinner series where we’re addressing how we can use the power of the internet and social media to celebrate fruits and vegetables. What do you want to achieve from this dinner?
Our goal for this dinner is to come together with a room full of engaging individuals for thought-provoking conversation and inspiration. I’ve always found that the best ideas come from speaking with someone from a different walk of life and it’s always great to get perspective from someone outside of your industry. When you’re talking about harnessing the power of the internet and social media to celebrate fruits and veggies, the sky is really the limit and a lot of fun ideas can come from that. We’re really looking forward to it.
The Feast’s weekly round-up is a mixture of useful information and extraordinary inspirations. Is there something that should be on the next list? Let us know!
The sum of these robots is greater than their parts. Inexpensive Kilobots perform tasks more efficiently and correctly when working with a team of many more Kilobots.
Need to focus? Science makes a compelling case for meditation as a way to increase self-awareness and compassion and decrease stress.
A pay-it-forward streak that lasted 11 hours. Starbucks customers in Florida made 378 other peoples’ mornings a little better this week.
How to make yourself happy. Having specific goals for displaying kindness can be the most rewarding for both you and others.
Is the future of space projects in the private sector? Companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Planet Labs seem to think so. Planet Labs is a start-up launching tiny satellites to creative a more up-to-date and cohesive view of the earth. Silicon Valley at its best.
Want to optimize your job performance? The most productive people have these practices in common.
Why businesses need to start thinking like small town, mom-and-pop shops. Social media interaction with businesses needs to be personal and gracious.
Life in outer space. Astronauts found living organisms from Earth clinging to the International Space Station.
The best innovations are the simplest. This college student used his summer to create an effective and affordable water purifying system primarily using the sun.
Distinguishing characteristics of leaders. According to this study, scientists found significant differences between leaders and their subordinates, including stress levels.
Wrangling a new consumer model for the future’s economic drivers. Inconsistent buying habits due to economic pressures have made millennials hard to figure out.
Need some help with that? This study shows that asking for advice can make you seem more capable than if you stay silent.
With The Feast 2014 under two months away, we’re looking back to some of our favorite memories from last year’s conference. Enjoy this round-up of must-see videos.
Want more goodness? Head over to vimeo or be there in person to experience first hand this year’s unforgettable moments.
Typical health class models are changing and growing through community input. Cities across the country are promoting social and community reform through health classes that go beyond the basics and help students make informed decisions about their lifestyles.
At first, local governments tried to address the need for health education. Every state in the United States has a different way of handling or recommending health education programs in public schools. Some states, like California, have specific guidelines for the topics that must be covered and when they are to be taught in schools, for example, HIV/AIDS prevention instructions between 7-12th grade and parenting education in 7th or 8th grade. Others are much less strict about the material and expected outcomes.
State funded health education programs are also facing major budget cuts. For some, health education in school is the first time they learn about nutrition, mental health, and negotiating healthy relationships with future partners.
Today, locally communities are building curricula to meet the needs of their students and provide up to date information about medical services. There are a number of great organizations like Yale’s Community Health Educators or the Peer Health Exchange that try to create safer spaces for young adults to discuss and learn about health issues like nutrition, STIs, and mental health. These programs target teens and young adults to give them tools to make informed decisions about their health.
Some communities have begun to answer the need for health education by pooling their own resources and building health curricula. Community Health Educators (CHE) was started 1999 when a teacher from Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven and a group of Yale students developed a comprehensive health curriculum for high school students. Today, CHE is a group of 150 volunteers, teaching health education courses in 24 middle schools and high schools in New Haven. The program regularly reevaluates its materials to make sure that they are relevant, up to date and ready for their audience. Teachers from the host schools are involved in the material evaluations and reform, to make sure it fits the audience.
CHE strives to give students tools to make their own choices about their health and relationships. Michael Solotke, a former Coordinator for the program, says that the curriculum “is designed to empower students with skills and knowledge to help them make healthy decisions throughout their lives.”
The presentation of the material may be just as important as the material itself. “We really value being able to teach on a peer-to-peer level,” says Katherine Rich, one of this year’s coordinators for Community Health Educators. Rich believes the peer relationships between educators and students helps open up conversations around challenging topics like sexual and mental health.
The Peer Health Exchange (PHE) grew out of the original CHE to address gaps in health education on a national level. Colleges in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and many other cities across the United States partner with PHE to provide similar comprehensive health education in schools that are also under resourced. PHE reports that 92% of their high school students said that they will use information from the program to inform their health decisions and another 68% said they had already used information from the program to make a decision regarding their health in the last six months.
The Peer Health Exchange is also growing quickly with the support of local communities: 97% of the principals in the schools that offer PHE programs said that they would recommend this program to other schools. New York City is one of the largest markets for the program. While Barnard College, New York University and Hunter College, among others, have already partnered with the program to send volunteers, PHE and CHE could always use more help.
Both programs rely heavily on volunteers who enjoy teaching and talking to students about health. Their biggest challenges lie in building relevant material that their students can relate to and finding the right educators to engage with these student groups. Interested in doing more? Check out what your local school district offers in terms of health education options and see how they are trying to grow this year!
Diana studies informal economies, social enterprises, and economic systems at Locus Analytics. She spends a lot of time exploring new neighborhoods, especially in Latin America.
What are you pursuing or working on now? How did you get started?
Right now I am a Co-Founder working on two different projects: I explore the transformation of online marketing and advertising at Nest Media through the lens of native advertising and content on demand. I also oversee International Relations and Enterprise Business Development at Found.ation, a new kind of accelerator supporting technology startups from the pre-seed and seed stage. Both projects started about 18 to 24 months ago, as a result of long talks and observations around a variety of topics, from advertising trends to (the lack of) startup culture in Greece and more.
Are there any challenges that you didn’t expect?
I am always trying to apply a IRL (“in real life”) layer in my work, so I will give you some real life examples I’ve faced so far. Finding talented people to join your company is always a major obstacle, especially for new companies with limited resources. I had this problem in mind when we started but the reality always pokes holes in the theory. Another major challenge I didn’t expect came after the hiring process: creating a unique company culture and efficient internal process. Thankfully, the quality of the people you choose to work with does make a difference, so it helps you overcome these issues.
Who or what has been the biggest supporter of your work?
I was fortunate enough to have a group of dedicated and honest friends on my side from the very beginning. They acted as my mentors then and still do today. Two in particular have helped me at the very start:
• Entrepreneur Abraham Tsoukalidis for instilling a deeper sense for strategic thinking and meaning into my work. He also taught me how to master my excitement, an attitude that can be tricky when you’re young.
• Entrepreneur Sophia Belouka in the tech and food industries,who helped me understand that good in-person business relations still matter enormously, even in a world that goes more and more towards digital.
When are you at your best? How are you bringing your awesome to the world?
When I was younger, I thought of myself as a lonely rider who was too weird to hang out and create with with others. I was so wrong; I am a team person. I feel good when I’m around people who share the same passion with me and when we work together, day and night, to accomplish our shared vision.
Closing night of the TEDxAthens 2011 that Dimitris curated
It might be a new product, an event, even a new company; what really matters at the end of the day is to do what you love, together with the people you care and admire. And break some eggs in the process. That’s the fun part.
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
Being a lonely rider doesn’t help too much. I have seen zero companies/initiatives/communities/whatever-you-call-it thrive with egocentric people and axioms. Thankfully, I realized this early on. Great, vibrant and diverse teams are an essential catalyst if you really want to break things and create impact.
If you could name one thing, what would be the most important challenge for your country to tackle?
In my humble opinion, the lack of individual social responsibility is a major challenge for Greek society. It was built heavily around individualism, in a form of “I don’t really care about you or that.” We definitely need to change that in the years to come.
How and why did you decide to become a Worldwide Hub Leader?
Bringing together people with common values and shared visions is a major need in Athens. Moreover, conversation is the mother of action. The Feast provides an excellent opportunity for such gatherings and conversations, with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable platforms and initiatives to foster actions for social contribution in our community. I am delighted by the fact that Athens in a new local chapter in the global family of The Feast. We are eager to contribute our brightest ideas in this worldwide dialogue. Let’s do it!
The Feast’s weekly round-up is a mixture of things you want to know in-the-now and looking forward. Is there something that should be on the next list? Let us know!
‘Impossible’ engine works and could change space travel. After years of ridicule, it turns out that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works. But scientists have no idea why.
Find your unique innovation mindset. Innovation isn’t an elusive gift. Everyone is capable of innovating. The trick is to identify and focus on where your strengths lie.
Work smarter, not harder. Having transitioned from the industrial age into the knowledge economy, many are advocating working fewer hours to increase productivity, creativity and innovation. For some, this looks like a three day work week. While we’re far from the three day work week, there are manageable steps you can work less to work better.
The endless disruptions of 3D printers. 3D printed books enable blind readers to visualize the story.
Starting a business? According to this Inc. piece, if it has anything to do with automated vehicles, bridging global language gaps for businesses, baby-related items, or health food, your forecast looks good.
How great visionaries and the cities they lived in impacted the spread of culture. Scientists have mapped where the most notable artists, inventors, and innovators were born and died over the past centuries. The result is a mesmerizing data visualization of the migration of Western culture.
The cutting edge of social innovation and finance. The world’s first social impact bonds hold a lot of potential and also a lot of risk. So far, so good. The first social impact bonds are reportedly on track to produce returns within the next two years.
How likely is it that we’ll have established a base on Mars by 2060? Not very, according to this futures infographic, but it is likely that Facebook will be taken over as the biggest social network within the next two years.
Get a glimpse into one of mankind’s greatest minds. Read these quotes by Albert Einstein.
This is social innovation. Creativity and innovation abound in these out-of-the-box responses to homelessness.
Planning for decay in design. This amphitheatre will increasingly blend in with its surroundings as its shell decomposes.
From Humans of New York to Humans of the World. The massive internet hit Humans of New York (HONY) is traveling with the UN documenting people’s stories in war-torn countries in the Middle East. The posts have facilitated understanding and connection between cultures worlds apart more effectively than entire newsrooms.
The disruptive opportunity of the Internet of Things. Cisco Systems predicts the Internet of Things will generate $14.4 trillion of economic value in the next decade alone, all the while transforming entire industries.
Resilience is the word of the century. Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” The Rockefeller Foundation has invested $100 million to increase resilience, and we’ll be focusing on how people can thrive in the face of change at our flagship conference in October. Join us.
Join us for an extravaganza of the best musical, creative and culinary experiences that Brooklyn has to offer. Expect delicious food and drink from local Red Hook vendors, live music from a variety of Brooklyn bands, and epic dance party with a special guest performance.
Two years after Hurricane Sandy, the communities of Brooklyn are building back better than ever. Proceeds will support the rebuilding of a community that is stronger, more sustainable, and with more Brooklyn flair than ever before.
The Feast Fest is the culmination of The Feast’s three-day flagship conference where the most remarkable doers and thinkers across disciplines come together to change the world in new and innovative ways. This year, their flagship conference will be held at the incredible Pioneer Works grounds in Red Hook, Brooklyn, October 9th-11th to bring real change to the developing post-Hurricane Sandy community.
The Feast’s weekly round-up is a mixture of things you want to know in-the-now and looking forward. Is there something that should be on the next list? Let us know!
What’s the future of food? To answer the issue of sustainability and access, will we return to traditional production or will we adapt it into a super-efficient, yet hardly recognizable form only imagined in sci-fi movies? In honor of this month’s theme, watch these two entrepreneurs’ very different responses.
Libraries are not dead. This new design with modular furniture, tailored content and community participation has the potential to reassert libraries’ place in a changing and technology-focused world.
Even Elon Musk thought would he fail. Read more on a rare candid interview where he talked about Tesla Motors’ story and why he thought Tesla was dying.
Who would your neighbors be if Pangea never broke apart? Check out this great map for a reminder of the ever-changing nature of Earth and our common beginnings.
How smart is your calendar? The new app Timeful uses behavioral science to add artificial intelligence to your calendar, prioritizing your to-do list items in your free time for you.
This changes everything for robotics. Learn about the first self assembling robot and what it means for affordable and accessible robots in the near future.
Better safe than sorry when it comes to passwords. Compare your own password to this infographic to see how many years it would take for a hacker to crack it.
Need some inspiration? Listen to these professionals share their words of wisdom.
Get out of the busy trap. No matter what the cause of your busyness is, this will help.
What are the best places for business and careers? According to Forbes, Fargo has the best small town business climate. Should you move your business to Fargo? Maybe not, but opportunity is bubbling up in small towns everywhere thanks to technology and community.
Solar speed car breaks records. With the fastest speed and longest distance on a single battery, this student-invented solar-powered electric car could hit the road by 2015.
The next best thing for vision since the invention of glasses. MIT and University of California at Berkeley have come up with a new display technology that can automatically correct what’s on the display for your vision defects.
I do what I do because I see two simultaneous future realities: one where we destroy ourselves, and one of immense progress and possibility.
It’s challenging to battle the negative. To know that climate change has probably tipped past the point of no return. That our cities will likely have to move in the next 50 years due to flooding, demanding psychological shifts and hopefully less loss of life than necessary. A world where wars will break out over shifting agricultural resources with farmers failing as the crops they’ve known their whole lives, where there is no such thing as sushi because we have completely fished the sea dry. Where jobs as we know them are gone with a disparity of wealth and civil unrest.
But I’m an optimist, and mirrored in this scenario is the potential for the positive reflection. A world in which we create the technological innovations that will pull us out of increasing climate temperature, and the techniques that will provide alternatives for farmers and resources like water. Where we understand our impermanence and where engineering and ingenuity help people and cities adapt, potentially even becoming more mobile. A world in which we have an economic system and economy that allows creativity and services to flourish.
These are two very different worlds of which I feel the delicate balance. I wake up every day pushing toward the later as hard yet as gracefully as humanly possible. Because in my mind, I see the possibility in every person I meet, and because there is no other alternative. Once we all wake up is when we will see ourselves in the dream.
By Jerri Chou
Jerri believes we created this world and we can create a better one. Named one of FastCompany’s Most Creative People in Business, she develops progressive branding and marketing campaigns, social engagement programs, and product innovation — not to mention the occasional early morning dance party — creating a new standard for “business as usual.” Jerri is Founder of The Feast.