Written by: Stuart Foxman
Richa Gupta looks at the bottom line differently. Some entrepreneurs want to make a million. Gupta wants to feed a million.
That’s her goal – feed 1 million people by 2020 through her company, Good Food for Good (goodfoodforgood.ca). The Toronto company sells a line of sauces. For every purchase, they feed one person in need. That happens through donations to Food Banks Canada, the Akshaya Patra Foundation (which serves children in India) and the Los Angeles Region Food Bank.
The donations aren’t just a matter of philanthropy; they’re embedded into the very mission of Good Food For Good. When Gupta started the company – she calls it a social enterprise – her objective was to use any business successes to help those in need.
“I wanted to combine food that’s good for you with a way to give back,” she says.
Gupta has a background in the food business. She worked for General Mills in marketing, with brands such as Fibre 1, Old El Paso and Green Giant. Before that, she was in sales management and buying for a fashion retailer.
At General Mills, Gupta got the chance to touch on everything from costs to distribution, which was great training for her current efforts. “It was like being an entrepreneur on training wheels,” she says.
What made Gupta take the leap? While her job was going well, she yearned to do something more meaningful, for herself and for others. Food was a natural venture, given her industry expertise. She wanted to make it about something more than just the pursuit of profit.
That’s when Gupta thought about her MBA studies at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where became acquainted there with the TOMS business model. The shoe company matches every pair purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. Gupta decided to apply the same concept to her new food company.
She launched Good Food for Good in 2013. Gupta aimed to create sauces that didn’t compromise quality for convenience. Her products would be tasty, health and fresh. At the outset, Gupta sold her wares at farmer’s markets. All of the recipes were her own, and she perfected them for sale by trial and error.
Today, Gupta’s sauces are available at roughly 1,500 locations, across Canada (major grocers as well as natural food stores) and in the U.S. too (mostly in California). The Good Food For Good line now includes BBQ sauce, regular and spicy ketchup, butter chicken sauce, coconut curry sauce, regular and spicy taco sauce, and tikka masala sauce.
Why this particular product mix? Gupta cooks Indian and Mexican food in her own home every week. “It made it easier for me to understand what people like,” she says.
All of the Good Food For Good products are handmade in Toronto using fresh, whole and mostly organic ingredients. The sauces contain no additives or preservatives, and are sweetened only with dates.
Good Food For Good is a B Corp Certified company. That means it uses its business as a force for good in the world. The accreditation aligns Gupta us with other like-minded companies globally (more than 3,000).
“We’re committed to sustainability, and working for environment and social benefit,” she says.
Profit matters too. But with her buy-one-feed-one model, Gupta is showing that companies can hunger for a higher purpose.
Photo credit: Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real