#60 The company making mayo without an egg, butter without a cow

This week, you get the chance to step inside the most talked about business on the planet right now. Hampton Creek’s CEO Josh Tetrick gives us a flavour of what makes his company tick – from attracting investment to staying true to your mission. Learn how this San Francisco unicorn plans to change the way we eat forever by not appealing to hearts and minds, just making great food.


If you’re like most of us, you grew up on nachos, vending machine cinnamon rolls, and fast food chicken sandwiches. Our parents would give us a few dollars. We’d eat whatever tasted good. And more often than not, if it was cheap and tasty, it was also accelerating chronic disease and climate change. That’s how unjust our food system is.

This is how Hampton Creek, rather brilliantly, introduces itself on its website.

So, meeting this business as part of my recent trip to San Francisco was always going to be a highlight.

From our base in downtown, we pile into a sort of mini bus and we’re driven to the outskirts of the city.

We arrive at a rather nondescript, beige-looking, sign-less warehouse-type building.

And this is the home of Hampton Creek, one of the most exciting and talked about businesses in the world right now – and for good reason.

It is a very young company, but with a rich history. You can Google all the stories of coups and customer wobbles; there are plenty of tales doing the rounds, not least the fact that three of the company’s top executives have just been fired by the CEO after he accused them of plotting against him.

Of course, the other huge story is that this is a company that has managed to grab a billion dollars of investment, largely based on a promise.

But what a promise.

This is a business that has promised to make us all eat better by making use of the 400,000 species of plant that the world just hasn't harvested for food so far.

Josh Tetrick:

I don't care about appealing to people’s hearts, I just want to make food taste fucking good

So, I feel so lucky to have entered through the very indiscreet doors of Hampton Creek, past the security guards, to see this place in action.

Much of its cash is currently being spent on laboratory equipment, to find out which of these plant species could be used to 'recreate' the foods that we know and love.

So far, Hampton Creek has about four different products on supermarket shelves – mayo, salad dressings, some cookie dough and cookies – so there is a long, long way to go.

But if you listen to the CEO Josh Tetrick on this week's show, you will understand why we should all be so excited about this business.

Enjoy.


For more on Hampton Creek check out hamptoncreek.com.

As I mention on this week's show, please don't also forget to check out the Better Business Show Pop-Up T-Shirt Store. We have men's and women’s tees emblazoned with fantastic quotes from the great and good of the environmental movemen. All of our lovely organic cotton t-shirts are ethically produced by the wonderful people at Rapanui on the beautiful Isle of Wight.

 

Episode #54 - What's up with Ivanka Trump's clothing line?

Show notes

Take a look down at the shirt, or top, or t-shirt you’re wearing RIGHT now.

Do you know where it was made? Or by whom?

Can you tell me if it was made safely, and by workers who were paid fairly? And that its production doesn't harm the environment?

No, didn’t think so.

But these are some of the questions our guest this week desperately wants people like you – and your friends and family members – to start asking themselves, and of the businesses that sell and make our clothing.

There has been a plethora of reports and analysis done into the changing consumer habits of the new generation of shoppers.

One of the most compelling is Forum for the Future’s consumer futures 2020 report which imaginess four plausible scenarios for tomorrow’s consumers: ‘my way’, ‘sell it to me’, ‘from me to you’ and ‘I’m in your hands’. These are based on two trends – whether society will be prosperous or not, and whether consumers will take the initiative, or expect brands to do it for them.

The ‘my way’ mainstream consumers of 2020 are keeping it local, in a climate where vertical farming is the norm and personal energy micro-managers make sustainable living high tech and easy. If you open the fridge, you’ll find packaging that refrigerates and changes colour if the food has gone off. Brands and businesses are the ones making it easy in ‘sell it to me’, where smart products and services replace unsustainable products. 

Hyper local is the name of the game for ‘from me to you’, with products sought as directly as possible. Good exchanges, recycling and re-use are common place, as is selling surplus food and growing your own hemp. Say goodbye to brand loyalty. The leasing model champions in ‘I’m in your hands’; retailers and brands not only lease goods, but also provide heat, water and nutrition. You won’t own your washing machine; you’ll lease it.

Yes, the four scenarios look quite different. But there is one common theme running throughout: sustainable consumption is mainstream.

This week, I’m in conversation with Natalie Grillon, co-founder and co-CEO of Project JUST, an online community looking to help consumers change the way they shop for clothing by raising awareness of a number of key issues that leave the fashion sector on the verge of straying into territory a new generation of shoppers just won’t tolerate

And Project JUST will also call companies out that are just not doing enough to be transparent about how their clothes make it from farm, factory, store and into people’s wardrobes. The big investigation Natalie and her team have been working on to shine a light on Ivanka Trump's clothing line is testament to that spirit.

As ever, let me know what you think of the show.

Natalie Grillon, co-founder and co-CEO of Project JUST

Natalie Grillon, co-founder and co-CEO of Project JUST