How many businesses give away half of their profits to genuine carbon-reduction projects? Not many. But popular locally-produced ‘We the Many’ gourmet breakfast cereal is leading the way with a unique business model that does exactly that. They’ve just given $5000, and their next target is $100,000, says founder Will Brook.
‘Our healthy cereals are now available in Woolworths, but that’s mostly important because we want other companies to see that our business model can be as successful as a mainstream business,’ says Will. ‘We have also rejigged the packaging so that it is a recyclable single-polymer plastic, but the purpose and main mission of the company hasn’t changed. We found we weren’t being clear enough that we are investing 50 per cent of the profits into carbon reduction, this is the prime purpose of the company and this is the main part of our business model that we want people to know about. That’s now really clear on the packaging.’
The pinkish hue of the Antioxidant Porridge, just one of their range of breakfast cereals, has been a talking point in our household for the whole of winter, as, somewhat like a healthy version of Ink Gin, when you add liquid to the porridge it turns an inviting pink colour.
‘Yes, that’s fun,’ says Will, ‘but all of our range contains ingredients that are scientifically proven for their functional health benefits. The beetroot that gives the pink colour is a powerful antioxidant – red and purple-coloured foods often do have this quality, although the colour is not the scientific reason. One study showed that beetroot juice, like the freeze-dried beetroot we use, increased the cardiovascular capacity of athletes very tangibly, there was a measurable causal relationship. Athletic performance was improved with beetroot when it was used like a supplement, and it’s not part of people’s everyday diet, but it can be.’
The We the Many range also includes a curcumin product (an anti-inflammatory), and green banana flour (a resistant starch) is another ingredient that has measurable prebiotic effects. ‘[Resistant] starchy foods have the highest levels of prebiotics,’ says Will, ‘but in modern days they are rarely eaten. Plaintains, which are very starchy, have been replaced by the sugary bananas that are more common now, but the idea of the green banana is to reintroduce that prebiotic starchiness into the everyday diet, which is much healthier.’
‘But apart from health, we want other businesses to see what we are doing. We are trying to lead the way in making the climate-helping side of things a core part of our business. To have our products accepted on the shelves of Woolworths is just part of it – we are trying to prove a model that investment in the environment can be part of your ‘core business’ if you are any kind of business, and [still] be a profitable business. We are in an experiment to prove the success of this kind of business model, except that, of course, we’ve put your money on the line to prove it can be done.’
‘We think it’s going to be successful because it tastes really good, but the more people that buy it, through the larger market offered by Woolworths, this will be a good thing as we are committed to investing 50 per cent of profits in carbon reduction projects.’ You can join We the Many in fighting climate change simply by eating their carbon-neutral breakfast range, available at Woolworths nationwide. If you want to find a nearby local stockist, head to the We the Many website.
See Instagram: we.themany