• Paloma Lopez

My Road to Future Fit Foods

Updated: May 21, 2020

My love for nature and food began on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast where I spent my childhood. My father was a ship captain in the Spanish Merchant Navy, who left his career at sea to be closer to his family and start his own business. His entrepreneurial spirit, love for the outdoors and real food, combined with my mother’s strong moral foundations as a former Montessori teacher and a great role model, shaped my life forever. I remember spending many weekends in Monovar, a small mountainous town in the Alicante province known for its Monastrell vineyards, taking hikes and harvesting food. In the Spring, my big sister and I would go on long hikes searching for wild asparagus; in the Summer, we would pick figs from our backyard trees; and in the Fall, we would gather almonds, persimmons, and even forage wild pomegranates.

Monovar, on an almond tree

I moved to California when I was still a teenager. Hard work helped me get a tennis scholarship to pay for my undergraduate degree. In search for purpose and discovery, I later traveled to Africa as a volunteer, getting a good insight into Ghanaian traditional cuisine. On my return, I took a job in the food sector, working for Kellogg. While my work was stimulating, I knew it was not enough; I needed to find a greater purpose in my day to day work. Going back to school to get a master’s degree in Sustainability gave me a chance to move into a new position managing Sustainability initiatives.


In 2013, I partnered with a work colleague to spearhead the first company's Sustainable Agriculture program: Kellogg’s Origins, which overtime helped support over 300,000 farmers. The photo below was taken during a visit made to Kashi organic farmers to install solar panels.

Nominated an Aspen First Movers fellow in social intrapreneurship and recognized in Forbes as a woman sustainability leader, I was encouraged to help solve the broken aspects of our food system. When I left Kellogg in 2019 after many years in the corporate trenches, I knew that it was time to move to more transformative business models. Carrying forward my father’s entrepreneurial spirit and my mother’s strong moral foundation, it was time to do something more transformative to accelerate the urgent change we need to see in our food system. I also knew I had the perfect partner to hit the road: Sean Ansett.


Besides being my life-partner, and the most extraordinary person I know, Sean is also a mover and shaker in the Sustainability and startup space. His outstanding integrity, creativity and networking capabilities set him apart. He has great experience helping get off the ground new businesses as he has been the co-founder an advisor or board chair of five start-ups over the last six years. He was a co-founding team member and CSO of Fairphone, the world’s first sustainable and modular smartphone that raised $8million in crowdfunding. And he has formally held executive sustainability positions at Gap Inc., Burberry and Apple. He currently sits on the Board of the Cradle to Cradle Certifications Standards which is also a perfect fit given Future Fit Foods’ commitment to circularity. Now, we are combining our superpowers and working on this together.


The inspiration and content for Future Fit Foods (FFF) was developed on the road, inspired by many events and engagements with people and communities we met along the way. For nine months during 2019, Sean and I travelled through Asia, Africa and Central Europe, searching for examples of humanizing and circular foods, and sharing them on Instagram @projectnext2020. For example, early in 2019, during our visit to Ko Phayam, a small island off the coast of Thailand, we found the pod below floating towards us. That was the starting point of a year-long conversation around circular and regenerative packaging options for FFF foods, away from single-use plastics.

The problem Future Fit Foods seeks to solve is twofold:

First, ultra-processed foods using low-nutrient commoditized ingredients have become the norm in convenience foods, often leading to sub-optimal diets. What we have learned through COVID-19 is that moving forward we need to create a strong health baseline to keep our bodies strong.


Second, the plastic waste situation in landfills and oceans is unsustainable. If we don’t change the way we sell and consume foods, our oceans will contain more plastics than fish in only three decades. Is this the world we want to live in?


Future Fit Foods is an impact startup with a mission to bring nutrient-dense and affordable plant-based convenience foods to people through humanizing and circular solutions delivered in novel vessels.

This will not be an easy endeavor. We need you to join this movement, share your thoughts and your ideas. Together we can inspire the food industry to do much better.

Paloma




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