How Do 3 Guys, 1 Health Bar, and A Community Help To Cure Global Hunger?
California Based do-gooders (above left to right) Todd Grinnell, Ravi Patel and Ryan Devlin founded the health bar company, This Bar Saves Lives. This Bar is on a mission to provide life-saving food packets to children with severe acute malnutrition which affects over 20 million kids each year. How? For every bar sold, a life-saving packet of food is given to a child in need. What makes their concept so golden is the fact that they have found a sustainable way to cure global hunger.
In this interview with co-founder, Ravi Patel, we get a glimpse into the founders' lives like how he and his teammates are workings actors who launched This Bar inside Ravi's condo to now stocking This Bar in hundreds of stores nationwide. Ravi talks to Conscious about: the inspiration behind This Bar, company values, team culture, why they are joining Conscious Magazine as an editorial collaborator, and so much more. Read on.
1. WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA BEHIND THIS BAR?
A few years ago, Ryan and Todd (This Bar co-founders) were visiting Liberia when they witnessed severe acute malnutrition (SAM) firsthand. It was then that they were also introduced the Plumpy-nut, this life-saving packet of food that is prescribed to children who are days away from death, and then restores them to health in eight to ten weeks. It turns SAM affects over 20 million kids each year - a child dies every ten seconds from hunger. While this solution exists, there aren't enough of them to go around. That's where the idea came from: we wanted to provide a sustainable way providing aid to children in need. We launched in the summer of 2013, and we are now available nationally at various hotels, gyms, coffee shops, and grocery stores, most recently in over two hundred Whole Foods across the country! We've already donated over 300,000 meal packets, and hopefully, this is just the beginning. You can hear more of our story in our launch video here.
2. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES. WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
Like most people, we just want to live a life of purpose; it feels good. We are all working actors - that's how we all met - so knew we had access to loud mouths (celebrities) that could help us do more good (many of these people are investors in the company). Instead of starting a charity, we had a vision to create a sustainable solution to providing life-saving packets of food to the nearly twenty million children under the age of six who suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Our solution was to create bars as healthy and ethical as they were delicious, which is why we decided to only use top of the line ingredients - wild blueberries from Maine, bee-friendly almonds from California, and organic honey from Wisconsin. In this way, we aim to fight not just malnutrition abroad, but obesity in our own country. That’s the great thing about the bars – as people support children around the world by eating the bars, they are also filling their bodies with tasty, ethically-produced food, helping them stay healthy and equipping them to thrive as well. The bars are good for you and good for the world.
3. WE UNDERSTAND THAT SINCE 2013, THIS BAR HAS DONATED OVER 324,282 PACKETS OF LIFE-SAVING FOOD TO CHILDREN IN NEED. WOW! THAT IS INSPIRING. CAN YOU TELL US HOW THIS WORKS?
For every bar sold, a life-saving packet of food is given to a child in need. We partner with Edesia and Save the Children to provide two different kinds of food aid: the first, Plumpy’Nut® is intended to treat malnutrition, and the second, Nutributter helps prevent malnutrition. In the last decade, Plumpy’Nut® has become the most important weapon in the war on global hunger. It’s a nutrient-rich paste made from peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils, and a mixture of vitamins and minerals. Plumpy’Nut® is revolutionary because it’s so simple. It doesn’t need to be mixed with water, cooked or refrigerated, and it has a 2-year shelf life. Three a day for seven weeks and Plumpy’Nut® takes a child from near death to certain survival.
While there are millions of severely malnourished children that require the immediate help of Plumpy’Nut® , the best long term solution for the global tragedy of childhood malnutrition is prevention. Nutributter® was designed for undernourished children below the age of two to prevent stunting—a condition caused by a diet lacking in essential calories, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals—which not only affects a child’s growth, but also their lifelong health and productivity.
Between these two incredible products, we are able to contribute to both the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in children around the world.
4. WE LOVE HOW YOU ARE BUILDING A COMMUNITY AROUND CURING GLOBAL HUNGER. WHAT WAYS CAN OUR READERS GET INVOLVED?
There are a number of ways to get involved! In addition to purchasing the bars individually in-store and online, we have a special program called “This Workplace Saves Lives” where companies can bulk order the bars to stock their offices and kitchens. Bars can also be special ordered for special events such as parties, fundraisers and conferences. For students, we have a campus activist partnership for those passionate about being the voice of This Bar on their campuses.
5. WE SEE YOU ARE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THE CAUSE, AND WE'RE PRETTY SURE YOU HAVE A GREAT TEAM BEHIND YOU. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM CULTURE?
It's a very tight-knit group. To be honest, we started off working in my condo, and we were all juggling a million things while also checking out time to time to act. It's awesome to see how far we've come since then, and we are still trying to learn how to act like a "normal" company, but it seems we are in a great starting point with smart people who work unselfishly. We all know why we got into this, and love working together to find creative ways to help more people. We really value creativity, which is why we make it a point to listen to every member’s ideas – no matter how unrealistic they may sound. We believe that the craziest ideas are often those that change the world the most. And we all really like each other! It's not uncommon for all of us to be at the same restaurant at the same time at the same table. You might say we are a family. In the sense that we are perhaps too close.
6. AS A COMPANY BASED IN CALIFORNIA, WHAT ARE SOME THING YOUR TEAM DOES AFTER WORK HOURS?
This question seems as if people are expecting our lives to be a silicon valley version of Baywatch. Like I said, we do a lot together. Our latest obsession is SpikeBall on the beach. Google it. We also have a weekly happy hour on Fridays, which is always scheduled at 3, but usually happens at 5. We also love tacos. We also moonlight as super sexy lifeguards who are always running together, shimmering and such.
7. ANY COOL THIS BAR PROJECTS COMING UP?
We have a lot coming up that we are very excited about. Next year we will be launching the bars in Fresh & Easy stores nationwide. We are also in the final stages of developing a new bar flavor that we will be announcing in the New Year, along with a new product partnership that we can’t wait to introduce.
8. WE'RE EXCITED TO HAVE THIS BAR JOIN CONSCIOUS MAGAZINE AS AN EDITORIAL COLLABORATOR. CAN YOU TELL US WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Pleasure is all ours. We could not have gotten this far without the help of people like you. And personally, one of my favorite parts of this gig has been meeting all these interesting like-minded people. So, thank you!
Now that you had a chance to hear from This Bar's Ravi Patel, pick up and be part of saving children from severe acute malnutrition. Don't stop there! Share this story with your friends, colleagues, fellow social entrepreneurs and the like!
BONUS! This Bar is giving our Conscious Community a sweet 20% discount off online orders using the code, CONSCIOUS.
Photos: Ben Cope
FROM THE EDITOR
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