The New Jersey start up is having a major impact on local communities with its Buy One, Give One business model.
Co-founders Megan Shea and Chip Heim left their roles at Campbell to develop The Soulfull Project in August 2016 in an effort to help combat hunger in local communities.
For every serving of hot cereal a consumer purchases, the company donates one serving of its cereals – which are Non-GMO Project Verified, Whole Grain Stamp-approved and contain no artificial flavors or colors – to a food bank in that shopper’s community.
The idea was born after Heim and Shea had met with a needy family who told them how challenging it was to eat healthy food.
“Beyond giving them extra food and extra money, we made a promise to do something more meaningful to help them,” Shea told BakeryandSnacks.
The mission-focussed company started with three giving partners – the Food Bank of South Jersey, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Philabundance – and distribution in 14 Wegmans stores.
Now, it serves 200 food banks across the country and has donated more than 100,000 servings to-date.
“The first part of our mission is to get good food to people in need, but the other part of our mission is to inspire people to get involved with their own community. So, we embarked on doing 100 volunteer events in 100 days, sharing news on social media. We got really good results, increasing our Facebook followers from 300 to 20,000 within 100 days.
“The next big aim is to reach our goal of one million donations by 2019,” added Shea.
The company has also increased its retail footprint nationwide, including a listing on Amazon and at CIBO Gourmet Express Markets in airports across the country.
“We are very excited with our recent listing on Amazon, because it means we will have an impact in every community in the country,” said Shea, noting the company’s website keeps a running tally of how many servings are going to go to each of the regions across the country.
100% accountable and transparent
The Soulfull Project was also recently awarded Certified B Corporation status, which guarantees it is meeting the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
“Giving to others is the backbone of our business model,” said Heim.
“Our B Corporation certification means we are joining the ranks of more than 2,300 like-minded companies who also strive to use business as a force for good in the world.”
He also told us that, while there are only two on the team, they receive “tons of support from Campbell's for everything from legal to government to supply chain issues.”
Shea noted The Soulfull Project had been approached to extend its business model to other regions.
“Before we look at any expansion, we need to make sure the mission really lives up to the promise that consumers will be doing good for themselves while helping a neighbor,” she said.
However, that does not preclude ambitious plans for the future.
“Our dream is to see us expanding into breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’re excited to be starting with the breakfast but we see it going much bigger,” said Shea.
The Soulfull Project’s multi-grain hot cereal are packaged in individual cups, multi-serve re-sealable bags and multi-serve cartons of individual packets. The cups are available in four flavors: Cinnamon Spice, Blueberry Almond, Brown Sugar Pecan and Tart Cherry. The multi-serve re-sealable bags are available in 4 Grain Blend and Hearty Grains & Seeds varieties. The multi-serve cartons of individual packets come in an Irish Oatmeal, Cinnamon Spice and Hearty Grains & Seeds variety, all of which are gluten free.
The Soulfull Project’s first giving partner, The Food Bank of South Jersey, helped create the 4 Grain Blend, which consists of rye, oats, barley and toasted red quinoa, with no added sugar.
The cereals are available at Berkeley Bowl, Earth Fare, Jewel-Osco, and Wegmans, and will be hitting shelves at Central Market, Fred Meyer, Giant, Shaws, and Stop & Shop stores this month.