When we moved to Boulder, Colorado, on February 2020 to kick off the food development for Future Fit Foods, we could have never imagined how COVID would change the course of everyone’s lives.
After our scouting trip in 2019 looking for the ideal home for Future Fit Foods, meeting food justice organizations, food developers, and chefs in various cities, we were struck by the Boulder community, their shared vision of developing sustainable food systems and openness to collaborate.
On February 15th, 2020, after driving nearly twenty hours from Bend, Oregon, to Aspen during a heavy snowstorm through the Rocky Mountains, I landed in Boulder. We had very little less essentials: a couple of backpacks, camping equipment, laptops and the Future Fit Foods’ business plan. Sean would join a couple weeks later. We landed excited about rolling up our sleeves, executing on our plan to build an ecosystem to set our impact business up for success in close proximity to nature including massive douglas firs, limber pines, blue spruces and hiking trails galore. Grounded in nature, in the town that gave birth to much of the US natural food movement, we felt at home surrounded by an incredible community of food entrepreneurs, chefs, investors, health enthusiasts to inspire, enable and join us in building a new generation of foods.
One of these collaborators is Dan Heiges, the founder of Natural Development, a certified B Corp. We shared our vision for Future Fit Foods and our ambition to develop a tasty, nutrient dense, fun food with a truly novel delivery. We were very aligned on what is broken in our current food systems and on how we could co-create a new future for food drawing on our superpowers to deliver something different to the market. That was when we decided to work together.
We had our food brief kick off on February 21st, 2020. I went to the Natural Development kitchen and got to work in a Wonka like environment. We had by then crystalized our Future Fit Foods' mission: to bring nutrient-dense, convenient and affordable plant-based foods to people through disruptive circular and humanizing food solutions. Then we got into the details of our food brief like leveraging plant based, few and pronounceable ingredients with nothing artificial, all organic ingredients, no single use plastic packaging, etc.
Dan (Founder and President of Natural Development), Connor (In-House Chef) and myself, Paloma, on our February 21st kick-off meeting.
And it was on that day back in February that Future Fit Foods’ food journey had officially begun. We buckled up and got ready for the ride.
We then began fine tuning ‘the box’, which essentially means a list of what the food is and what is not, a detailed rundown of ingredient, cooking methods and nutritional requirements that the food development team needs to make happen. We had a lot of back and forth discussions, in particular on things like the salt content which we were committed to bring down by at least 60-80% versus similar food offerings, and ensuring that all our foods were a good source of fiber, protein and key nutrients.
We also kicked off circular packaging research with the team and within a few weeks, we had pretty much mapped out some of the most advanced and exciting edible, backyard compostable and highly cyclable packaging solutions.
It was only a few weeks into the project that COVID hit Colorado and the rest of the world. Our networking events in Boulder and face-to-face meetings with Natural Development came to an end, everyone on both teams worked from home, ingredients became scarce and packaging samples delayed but by March 23rd we got our first round of protocepts in the rough cardboard box below.
Month one in Boulder: Outdoors' Inspiration and our first box of Future Fit Foods' Protocepts
We were so excited to see our vision becoming more tangible. The journey will continue on our next blog so stay tuned.