The Philadelphia-based project has also won a listing with Sprouts Farmers Market stores across the US, which will expand its distribution and donation footprint.
In just over two years of business with initial backing from Campbell Soup Company, TSP is now an independent entity.
BakeryandSnacks chats to founders Chip Heim and Megan Shea about the project’s strategy going forward.
BAS: How did Campbell’s initial backing help set up The Soulful Project?
When we approached Campbell’s with the idea for Soulfull, they agreed to fund it as a start-up. That initial investment helped us to grow from a few stores in the Northeast to almost 3,000 stores (and Amazon) across the country.
But, it wasn’t just the investment that made this so special.
Even before we officially launched, many talented and passionate Campbell’s employees reached out and wanted to help. It just showed us how powerful a mission can be in bringing people together.
Without them and the rest of the Campbell’s organization, we would not be where we are today.
BAS: When did the business officially become an independent entity?
As of October 28, we are now a fully independent company and we couldn’t be more excited.
We have the chance to grow this company in ways we never imagined were possible. We can focus on helping even the smallest food bank and at the same time support the largest. We want to do whatever we can to make an impact and get really good wholesome food to those who need it.
BAS: Was it always the plan to become an independent entity?
We knew going out on our own was a possibility, but our plan was always to grow the company in the way that best suits the brand and our mission.
When Campbell’s changed their strategic direction, it gave us a chance to look at our business from top to bottom and make the changes we felt were needed to grow the business even more.
BAS: How has it changed the company’s strategy?
The biggest thing for us has been to get the word out. That hasn’t changed.
Word of mouth is how we built the company and it’s how we are continuing to grow it. Word of mouth often starts on a very personal level: walking into a food bank, volunteering with the people in that community and dropping off much needed donations.
We have personally visited over 100 food banks across the country and sometimes in order to make the biggest impact, you need to start in the smallest place.
BAS: Now that you’ve reached the one million milestone, have you found people to be just as enthusiastic in the project as they were in the beginning?
We think people are even more enthusiastic. With every donation delivery, they can see the impact they are having and the food banks right around the corner.
For every serving purchased, TSP donates a serving of wholesome hot cereal to a food bank in that region.
The multi-grain hot cereals – made with nutrient-dense ingredients such as steel cut oats, rye, quinoa, nuts, flax, chia, dried fruits and seeds – are plant-based, gluten-free, Whole Grain Stamp-approved and contain no artificial flavors or colors.
Available in a range of serving sizes and variants, including Cinnamon Spice, Blueberry Almond, Brown Sugar Pecan and Tart Cherry, among others.
When we started, we were just in the northeast region and now – thanks to Fred Myer, Hy-Vee, Central Market, Jewel, CIBO and Amazon - we are able to deliver donations all across the country: from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank in California to Food Lifeline in Washington and The Atlanta Community Food Bank in Georgia.
Wherever you pick up Soulfull, there’s a food bank nearby where we are delivering donations.
BAS: What are your plans for 2019?
Our plan is to continue to deliver the donations to each of the regional food banks and to share those experiences with everyone so they can see the impact.
We have had many people who received our cereal at a food bank reach out and tell us their stories.
When you can actually see the impact you make, it just drives you to keep going and helping as many people as you can.
With our new retail partners, we continue to add food banks to the network. Now you can find us in local retailers around the country including Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Central Market & Wegmans.
With every new store, the impact gets even bigger.