At just 35 years old, Josh Tetrick is at the helm of Hampton Creek, a rapidly growing food startup that's about more than just mayo (get it?): According to Tetrick, it’s about fixing an outdated food system—a mission he recently described in an open letter to the presidential candidates.
“It'll take courage, because this problem isn't mentioned with the economy in the weekly Gallup poll of our most important problems. But polling data often ignores what's stressing out good folks from Birmingham to Boston,” Tetrick wrote in the open letter. “Our outdated food system is the thread running through our most important problems, from diabetes and obesity (health care), to food deserts (race relations), to the decline of our family farms (economy). Folks don't believe good food for everyone is possible.”
Tetrick founded Hampton Creek in 2011 as a food manufacturing and food technology hybrid. The company’s signature Just Mayo condiment is an eggless mayonnaise that utilizes pea protein and other plant-based ingredients to produce a healthier (and more affordable) product. The company also produces Just Cookies, an eggless, sustainable cookie.
But tasty, well-priced condiments and snacks are only part of a much bigger picture. Hampton Creek's fearless leader wants to change the face of the food industry. He thinks the high price of healthy foods is a political issue.
“We didn’t start this company just to sell food products,” he said in an interview with FoodNavigator-USA. “This relates to the reason why we started this company in the first place. Why is it that food that is healthy is too damned expensive?”
Tetrick, whose company has been working on plant-based ingredients that would make industrial eggs obsolete, wants to make food issues a centerpiece of the election. There’s a growing need to nurture food companies like his, and for mega food companies to take bigger strides to make food healthier. As Tetrick points out, healthy foods shouldn’t be a luxury that only the wealthy can afford.
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