Food for the Socially Conscious

By Alexa Harris – April 1, 2014
photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

It may be time to start putting our money where our mouth is.

Think TOMS Shoes, but for food. A number of food companies are aiming to satisfy taste buds and make a difference. So the next time you are out shopping or need a boost after a hard workout, consider an item that not only cures your hunger, but aids someone in need.

Founded by Joey Grassia, Kutoa resembles the coming together of two life-changing events in Grassia’s life. He spent seven months in South Asia, where he witnessed firsthand the issue plaguing underdeveloped areas of the world—hunger. Upon returning home, the idea of Kutoa (which means “to give” in Swahili) became clear.

Grassia wants to enable people to live well, “give health, and empower change around the world.” The bars are made from natural, non-GMO ingredients, handcrafted in small batches, and made available to the public online or in retail stores. For every bar purchased, Kutoa gives a bar to a hungry child in need. Since 2011, Kutoa has sent almost 200,000 bars to malnourished children.
Kutoa offers bars available in four flavors, and in kids’ squares.

2 Degrees Bar
Founded by Will Hauser and Lauren Walters, friends who wanted to make a global impact on the lives of children, 2 Degrees has a mission to help feed the 200 million hungry children (under the age of 5) around the world. They’ve partnered with organizations already involved in the process of helping provide relief to the world’s children, such as IMA World Health, Relief International, and Valid Nutrition. 2 Degrees also works with Feeding America to distribute meals to individuals in the United States through area food banks.

These gluten-free and vegan bars come in four different flavors and are made with all natural ingredients. To this date, 2 Degrees has donated more than 1 million meals.

Bumble Bar
The vision for Bumble Bar began in 1995, when Liz Ward decided to combine her two passions in life—healthy food and sustainability—into an energy bar. She was adamant that her bars be organic: no chemicals or pesticides allowed. Manufactured in Spokane, Wash., Bumble Bar is a sesame-based, organic, gluten-free, vegan energy bar.

In addition to providing jobs in its own community, Bumble Bar also helps support farmers around the world. Ward buys all the organic ingredients from farmers in countries such as Ethiopia, Honduras, Turkey, and Canada; the sesame seed used, for example, comes from a farm in Selet Hulling, Ethiopia.

For every pound of sesame seed Bumble Bar purchases, 5 cents are donated toward school construction in Ethiopia. Additionally, another 5 percent of sales go toward in-kind donations.

Bumble Bar are available in 14 different flavors and can be purchased online or in retail stores.

Hope Hummus
Ryan Weilert founded the company Hope Hummus, based in Boulder, Colo., which makes an organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher hummus from local ingredients.

Hope Hummus donates 10 percent of its annual profits to the communities that purchase the product. They also donate a generous amount of their product to local communities in need.

There are currently six different hummus flavors available, including Thai coconut curry. The company is continuing to expand into grocery stores throughout the country; in Austin, it can be found at Whole Foods Market.

Kind Bars
Launched in 2004, Kind Bars began with eight varieties and hopes of showing people that healthy food can be tasty, too. Kind now offers 22 bar varieties and six snackable clusters made from healthy grains. All Kind snacks are made from all natural, whole-grain ingredients. Each month, Kind likes to “Do the Kind thing” and donate $10,000 to support one project of their choice.

January’s winner was an organization called Greenheart International, a summer nature camp for inner city Chicago youth. With Kind’s $10,000 donation, the organization can offer scholarships to campers who would otherwise not be able to attend, as well as help with the purchase of camp supplies.


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