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There have been a number of exciting acquisitions and investments in the plant-based food space in the past few years. From Danone, a world-leading company that made its fortune in dairy, acquiring mega-company WhiteWave for its plant-based milk brands to Tyson, one of the world’s biggest meat producers, investing in Beyond Meat, it seems that Big Food is catching on to the fact that the future of food is plant-based – and they’re betting their money on it.

Seeing giant food conglomerates introduce more plant-based and vegan options into their portfolios is very exciting because, frankly, our current food system is broken. In the developed, and developing, world, diets that are heavy in meat and dairy are the norm, but this way of eating has devastating effects on the environment and human health – not even mentioning the animal welfare concerns. In fact, we currently devote over half of the world’s land resources and a majority of our freshwater to the industrial animal agriculture system, and although we grow enough crops to feed around 10 billion people on the planet, around one billion still suffer from hunger. Feeding animals to create food for people uses way more resources than it provides and it’s making us sick. While many people are starting to wake up to this fact, the reality is our government rewards meat and dairy producers, making it easy for companies to churn out cheap, unhealthy food. If you’ve ever wondered why you can get a cheeseburger for $3 and most salads ring in at about $10, this is why.

But, if the big companies who have made billions of dollars making some of these foods start to focus on producing healthier, more sustainable, plant-based meals and snacks, then this vicious cycle can begin to end. Thankfully, that is what is happening and it’s being driven by consumer demand.

In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Nil speaks with Kelly Swette, CEO of Sweet Earth Enlightened Foods, a company that makes frozen and ready to eat plant-based meals and snacks, about her company’s recent acquisition by Nestlé. For Kelly, making healthy, affordable, and accessible food is her mission in life, and seeing the company that she helped build from the ground on sound principles get purchased from a giant like Nestlé is a sign that people who wanted better choices have “won.”

It’s no secret that consumers are becoming more aware of what they eat and how it is produced. They’re looking for foods that are nutrient dense and packed with whole ingredients, and Sweet Earth provides just that in a convenient package. Since they started in 2012, Sweet Earth has been met with incredible success and have grown from a small local company, to one that has national distribution. As a testament to how well they’ve done, they were recently acquired by Nestlé, which will allow them to expand their reach even further and drive down their prices.

Feedback from consumers has been mixed on the acquisition, especially considering Nestlé doesn’t have the best track record for being sustainable or transparent, a point that Kelly openly addresses in the conversation. However, in Kelly’s view, the only way to change the food system is to change Big Food itself. After all, if small, healthy food companies are catching the eye of one of the largest food conglomerates in the world, then it’s clear the times are changing.

For more from Kelly on why they sold and how she plans to reform the food system, listen in!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher.

If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.

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4 comments on “Big Food Is Going Plant-Based: CEO of Sweet Earth on Why They Sold to Nestlé”

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Ella Scott
4 Months Ago

I live in the UK so we don\'t have this brand, but I am really shocked that you are endorsing their sell out to one of the worst multinationals by far! I was the same when the Linda McCartney brand sold to Findus - how can Sir Paul stand up and justify anything he says after selling to a company that literally rape the oceans? I agree with all the comments below - there is no way of sweetening this move.

Dana Weber Harvey
4 Months Ago

Either Big Food wants to eliminate the competition or they want in on the action. A corporation’s duty is to its shareholders and if the money is with a plant-based food industry, they have to follow the money. Change or die.

Sandra Toles
4 Months Ago

OF all the companies to sell out to---UGH---explain away why you did this but it is wrong.

Nicole Loh
4 Months Ago

The moment they mentioned selling out to Nestle, it became pointless to continue reading it.
But granted, their idea of going plant based has nothing to do with animal rights as mentioned in the article, so in a logical sense it\'s one of the only few choices they had to make an impact business-wise.

Dee Schimak
4 Months Ago

It’s all about what’s on your plate...

Bree Airy
4 Months Ago

Nestle is the devil.

Kimberley Hodgdon Landsman
4 Months Ago

Good try. Nestle is not ever going to be vegan. They are giant animal abusing company. Conglomerate. Goodbye sweet Earth

Michelle Long-Dercole
4 Months Ago

Great! Nestle owns so much of the products we use, you’d be surprised

Meryll Krolick
4 Months Ago

More corp poison

Scheherazade Galifianakis
4 Months Ago

Sure. It had nothing to do with all the $$$$.


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