Exclusive interview

Clean-label food start-up SAFE + FAIR gains listing on Amazon

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Safe + Fair's primary channel is e-commerce. Pic: Safe + Fair
Safe + Fair's primary channel is e-commerce. Pic: Safe + Fair

Related tags: Supermarket, Chocolate chip cookie, Food

Former PepsiCo executive Will Holsworth contends his clean-label food company's listing on Amazon - expected within a week - could skyrocket the company as Americans look for safe and fairly-priced foods.

The CEO launched SAFE + FAIR a year ago as a e-commerce business selling chocolate chip cookies, cake mixes, and mac & cheese for consumers with food allergies.

Campbell Soup’s venture capital arm, Acre Venture Partners, invested in the start-up, which will soon have some of its products listed on Amazon.

Holsworth said SAFE + FAIR products - currently sold on its own website - will be available on Amazon this week, and the company will be moving into new product categories with granola and pasta sauce.

“The online model has enormous potential to us: 17 million Americans are looking for safe and fairly-priced foods, and that’s a common concept throughout CPG,”​ he said.

"If we get 1% of those consumers this year, our business will do well over $100m; 10% of them will help us generate over $1bn.”

Will Holsworth2 Crop_High Res
Source: Safe + Fair

“The unique position for Amazon is they are still able capture the value chain on the dry goods, whereas most grocery stores wouldn’t be able to do that because they can only sell so much of their center-store items.”

Holsworth described the $13.7bn Amazon-Whole Foods deal​ as “highly transformational for the entire food industry,”​ and told BakeryandSnacks he envisioned the back of Whole Foods stores will become a depot in order to ship to products more efficiently, while the front of the stores will be focused on perishables.

Dry goods - like cookies and crackers - will be mainly sold online, he added.

“Consumers do not need to touch a box of cookies after the first time they buy it because they know what they are getting,”​ he said.

“Amazon has demonstrated [a] remarkable ability to get things efficiently with the right price.”

The unique position for Amazon is they are still able capture the value chain on the dry goods, whereas most grocery stores wouldn’t be able to do that because they can only sell so much of their center-store items.”

Brick-and-mortar stores need innovation

While Whole Foods may transform a large amount of dry goods to be sold online, Holsworth believes brick-and-mortar retailers still have an opportunity to step up the game – by stocking more innovative products.

SAFE + FAIR will also be launched in Costco next month because the grocery chain prefers clean-label foods compared to many of its competitors.

“We are fairly priced and make less margin on purpose than Kraft, General Mills and PepsiCo because I made a choice to be clean label, and the allergy tests cost a lot of money, too,”​ he said. “People with allergies are still shopping and, [generally] whenever they buy, they purchase a ton of [the product] because they can’t afford to be out.”

According to Holsworth, Campbell Soup’s recent $4.9bn acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance​ to expand its footprint in the healthy snacks space “would not have any effect”​ on SAFE + FAIR.

He noted the company is expected to grow 125% in revenue in 2018, and maintain 50% to 75% year-over-year growth moving forward.

Related news