This company is pulling in $125 million in sales by cooking up a solution to sad school lunches

Business Insider
By Emmie Martin
July 7, 2016

After tast­ing oven-​​roasted but­ter­nut squash for the first time dur­ing a demon­stra­tion at her high school in Ingle­wood, Cal­i­for­nia, one stu­dent loved it so much she took her mother to the farmer’s mar­ket so they could load up on the veg­etable at home.

Kristin Rich­mond, whose Oakland-​​based com­pany Rev­o­lu­tion Foods is try­ing to upend the sta­tus quo in school lunches, was serv­ing food at the veg­gie tast­ing, and the story remains one of her favorites — it’s a healthy reminder of the impact her com­pany can have on real lives by expos­ing chil­dren to nutri­tious, tasty food.

A trip to the farmer’s mar­ket may con­sti­tute an aver­age Sat­ur­day morn­ing for some fam­i­lies, but for many chil­dren, fresh veg­eta­bles rarely make an appear­ance at home — or in their diets at all.

Rich­mond and her part­ner Kirsten Tobey (No. 16 onBI 100: The Cre­ators), cofounders of Rev­o­lu­tion Foods, want to change that. Their $125 mil­lion in sales food startup sup­plies healthy, afford­able all-​​natural meals to schools — and it’s on a mis­sion to help stu­dents and fam­i­lies eat health­ily for every meal of the day.

The ori­gins of that mis­sion date back to 2006, when Rich­mond and Tobey were MBA stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley. The duo hap­pened to meet in a mar­ket­ing class, where they both pitched busi­ness ideas on how to make healthy food acces­si­ble to all stu­dents. They each yearned to trans­form the Amer­i­can food sys­tem, start­ing in schools, where stu­dents are often served meals that arereheated, void of nutri­tion, and largely unap­pe­tiz­ing.

Both of us had come from edu­ca­tion and had seen incred­i­ble dif­fer­ences — in kids in the class­room and out­side of the class­room — between those who were well-​​nourished and those who were not,” Rich­mond told Busi­ness Insider. “We both felt like access to healthy, deli­cious, afford­able food was absolutely crit­i­cal to set stu­dents up for success.”

So they paired up to write a busi­ness plan and launch a com­pany that would sup­ply schools with nutri­tious, cost-​​effective break­fasts, lunches, and din­ners that con­tain no arti­fi­cial col­ors, fla­vors, preser­v­a­tives, or high-​​fructose corn syrup and are largely pre­pared from locally grown ingredients.

To read the full arti­cle, visit Busi­ness Insider.