The Power of Plants

Building Novel Supply Chains for Local Plant-Based Food Innovators and New York City Private School Meal Programs

Agriculture in the 21st century has become industrialized. The agricultural industry is unethical, immoral, and inequitable. The United States is currently facing a 50-year failed experiment with factory farming. Although it has provided cheap meat to consumers while externalizing its aggregate costs to society, factory farming has been a calamity for animals and the environment, while playing an integral role in the nation-wide public health crises. With these issues in mind, our nation has to find an alternative solution to these catastrophic practices, in order to counteract diet induced health concerns, eliminate the commodification of animals in extreme confinement and deplorable conditions, and protect our foodscapes for future generations.

At the forefront of this changing agricultural climate, one initiative that seeks to solve many of the aforementioned agricultural problems is plant-based alternatives to animal products. Plant-based protein, meat, and dairy alternatives are already found on grocery store shelves, in restaurants, and on consumer palates worldwide. However, determining how this innovation in food production can be both brought to new markets, specifically private school meal programs, and effectively utilized using hyper-local supply chain models, is a critical unresolved issue, as identified by the client organization The Good Food Institute (GFI).

Building localized supply chains using the food hub model to bridge the gap between plant-based protein producers with private schools, will be a tremendously profitable market opportunity. As consumer palates move towards increased consumption of plant-based alternatives, the market environment for plant-based food innovation will continue to flourish.The Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit think tank and accelerator in the field of clean meat and plant-based alternatives, supports those seeking to disrupt such consumer markets to make plant-based alternatives to animal products a viable solution to the detriments of animal agriculture. The organization has identified the need for supply chains to support such novel protein sources, but have yet to research the possible entry into private school meal program markets.

As the consultant, this project seeks to assist GFI in the research and case studies required to determine market entry by food producers to schools, within the identified research region of New York City. The project takes the form of a comprehensive business action plan and recommendation that can be used to scale other similar initiatives within comparable private school accessible and urban foodscapes. Specifically, initiatives that are seeking to disrupt the changing market economy in the realm of plant-based alternatives to animal products.

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