When Campbell's employees Megan Shea and Chip Heim pitched the idea for The Soulfull Project to the soup giant, their main mission was to help people make an easily tangible impact on their local community. Over 300,000 servings later, this Certified B Corporation, through funding from Campbell's, is well on its way to making that happen nationwide.
Photo: Peter Pham//Foodbeast
Shea, Heim, and several other employees left Campbell's to start the corporation in August 2016, and it has since grown tremendously. Soulfull now partners with roughly 200 food banks across the country to help bring nutritious breakfasts to their consumers as well as the food insecure in their communities.
At its root, the giving power of The Soulfull Project is a simple concept. You buy one serving of the startup's hot cereal, they donate a serving of it to a local food bank in your region. Meticulous time and thought has been put into every aspect of the business, especially its charitable power. For Shea, the tangibility of that value needed to be something that even a child could relate to.
"Fundraisers where you add a dollar to your grocery bill or meal are great, you don’t really know where the money is going and what it’s doing and it’s hard to explain that to a child," she told Foodbeast. Conversely, by purchasing servings of the cereal to local food banks, you're feeding and assisting those close to you.
Speaking of those food banks, The Soulfull Project has worked closely with them from the start. It's helped the company ensure that they help address the needs of the food insecure as well as those providing nutrition to them.
Photo: Peter Pham//Foodbeast
"Breakfast is a big need for food banks," Heim said, while also mentioning that Soulfull worked with their first food bank partner, Food Bank of South Jersey, to develop the four-grain blend for their cereal and ensuring that it met the needs of those they assist. Ingredients like red quinoa, chia, almonds, and blueberries are packed into the breakfast, adding vitamins, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients. According to Chip, the food donated to food banks aren't always the healthiest options, so having a product like theirs readily available for donation is a step in the right direction.
The cereals also fit into the model of a food bank well because they are relatively low cost and shelf stable. The single-serve and multi-serve packages are good for anywhere from 9-12 months, depending on the flavor. A single serving bowl carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2.79, while the SRP for the multi-serve bags is $5.99. (Six packs of the product on Amazon are $23 each.) Considering that's basically the price of double what you receive (the rest going to the food bank), it's not a bad cost for a product loaded with specialty grains and healthier ingredients.
The Soulfull team hopes to sell (and consequently, donate) 1 million meals by 2019. They've already accrued 313,844 servings and delivered 106,000, so they've made some hefty progress in getting their target sales/donations amounts.
For the Soulfull Project team, though, selling their product is just part of the solution. As they work with food banks, they also volunteer and encourage others to do the same. "Once you start giving, it becomes a lot easier to do it regularly until you feel like you impact someone who needs help," Shea told Foodbeast. She recommended the Feeding America site for those looking for local food banks to volunteer at, although her website also has a list of centers they partner with across the country.
Those who feel that they don't even have time to volunteer, though, can utilize Soulfull's system to enjoy a fast and wholesome breakfast while knowing that they gave someone the same meal.