Monday, February 15, 2010

Moms Champion Their Own Socially Responsible Products

As if there aren’t enough challenges to being a mother, contending with agribusiness for high quality, nutritional, tasty food can be a war of its own. As the controversy over obesity swirls on, recently spotlighted by Jamie Oliver’s TED win, some moms have turned their own solutions for ensuring their families’ nutrition into million dollar food companies. The Wall Street Journal highlighted some of these stories in its article “The Mothers of Invention” by Dale Buss.

Blue Water: Healthy, Organic Snack Foods

The market has seen an influx of snack and food products created by moms that wanted socially sustainable, healthy, tasty snacks for their kids, but couldn’t find them commercially available. For example, there are a variety of organic, frozen baby foods now available that did not exist a few years ago, thanks to a new generation of social conscious shoppers- women who struggled to find healthy, non-GMO, organic baby food for their growing children. In this way, CSR is built into the business; the women founding these companies are fulfilling personal demands for sustainable food when the preexisting market failed to.

Professional Expertise To Meet Their Own Needs

Many of the ladies spotlighted in the WSJ article are not new to business. In this way, the article is an endorsement of equal rights as much as it is about food. One of the benefits of women’s expansion in the workforce and slow climb up corporate ladders, is that women increasingly see themselves as entrepreneurs. So when the mother/ marketing exec, or mother/ finance exec, or mother/ product development manager faces a challenge in her daily life, the “business opportunity” lightbulb goes off.

The women launching these businesses are also equipped with serious connections. According to the WSJ Gigi Lee Chang, founder of Plum Organics, came from a family in Chinese manufacturing. Shazi Visram, founder of Nurture Inc. and Happybaby, teamed with Stoneyfield Farms and a famous pediatrician. Tastybaby is co-owned by a member of the Swanson-family frozen food clan, and Denise Devine of Froose Brands is a former Campbell executive. By leveraging their careers, these women are able to both head their own companies and maintain a work-life balance nonexistent in the corporate world, solving a second latent need.

Parents Agents for Protecting Kid’s Futures

In some ways, parents are the most obvious agents for socially responsible ventures. Social responsibility is significantly about making an investment in the future, and the future belongs to their children. Outside of the children themselves, parent interests are strongly aligned with a healthy, nontoxic, sustainable world.

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