Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Spilling the Beans: We chat to Amelia Christie-Miller, founder of Bold Bean Co, and take a look at the 'Beans is How' campaign.
Featuring Bold Bean Co, smol, DAME, ChicP, Hodmedods and more...
This week we’re peeling back the lid on the up-and-coming bean scene. We cover:
Quick Take: “Charming but disruptive” - the ‘Beans is How’ campaign is doubling down on a small but mighty saviour.
Brand Spotlight: Bold Bean Co: We ask founder Amelia Christie-Miller about sourcing sustainably, becoming B Corp and the power of coalitions.
In case you missed it: 💥 #9 - Meet the Brands: allplants are going all-in on a more sustainable food system, featuring Ellie Harrison, Sustainability Lead at allplants.
👋 Before we dive in: over the next few months we’ll be inviting experts to share their knowledge with us via actionable and achievable guides. Previous examples are here and here. We’d love to hear from you - what would you like to learn more about?
Thank you! You can also reach out to us and make suggestions for what you’d like to see - we’re always keen to hear from you: email@example.com.
> Good News Last Week
🎯 smol announced the expansion of their Rinse & Return scheme to include their fabric conditioner and stain gel bottles. The Rinse & Return scheme in collaboration with Again collects the empty bottles before cleaning and inspecting them to be refilled. Each bottle will have its own unique code to show how many times the bottle has been refilled, from which the data can be used to construct Life Cycle Assessments of the bottles.
🎯 DAME launched their DAME Period Cup. The cup is made with antibacterial materials, Sanipolymers™, meaning that it does not need to be boiled like other menstrual cups. Compared to the average menstrual cup it is 100x less carbon intensive over its lifetime.
🎯 Blueland’s CEO and Co-Founder, Sarah Paiji Yoo, won EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Blueland aims to eliminate single-use household plastic waste with products ranging from hand soaps to laundry detergents all produced in reusable packaging.
🎯 Meatless Farm announced that they have been acquired by VFC Foods Ltd, rescuing them from administration. The Meatless Farm brand will be retained and expand VFC’s plant-based meat range.
⭐️ McCain Foods released their Regenerative Agriculture Framework which details six key principles for regenerative farming of potatoes. The framework is split into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, acknowledging the differences in soils and climate contexts. Their commitment is for onboarding level regenerative practices to be adopted across all their potato acres by 2030.
⚡ Climate activists in England were granted permission for a full judicial review of the government’s national food strategy. They are arguing that the strategy does not include any plans to cut meat consumption and transition to a low-carbon diet.
⚡ Upside Foods and Good Meat received approval from the US Department of Agriculture for the sale of their lab-grown meat. This grant of inspection will allow the companies to sell their cultivated chicken to restaurants and retailers in the US.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
“Charming but disruptive” - the ‘Beans is How’ campaign is doubling down on a small but mighty saviour.
Agricultural scientists, nutritionists and key leaders see beans (yes, beans!) as a driving force for transformative change, especially toward Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. However, transformative and truly systemic change is rarely achieved alone…which is where the ‘Beans is How’ campaign comes in.
Launched in 2023 by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub and Good Food For All, the Beans is How campaign aims to double the consumption of beans and other legumes by 2028. A huge part of this is changing their image, so the campaign says it aims to ‘make beans aspirational to consumers, favourable for investors, profitable for farmers and a priority for policymakers’ too. One way they’re doing this is by clearly communicating key benefits of a bean-based diet - let’s take a look…
Beans, and the wider legumes family, not only provide an excellent source of nutrients, vitamins, fibre, iron and calcium, but they also positively aid digestion & nutrient absorption. When paired with carbohydrates they can provide all the essential amino acids, making them a high-protein food.
Throughout history, pulses (beans, lentils, and peas) have been critical for strong soil health. They reduce the need for fertilisers as they absorb nitrogen from the air which naturally enriches the soil (a process called nitrogen fixation). Pulses also release up to 90% less harmful greenhouse gases than some animal proteins and use less water than other protein sources.
Example: Chickpeas have a high protein content of 23%, making them an excellent replacement for animal meat. They’re brilliant at nitrogen fixation too!
3. Rising costs
Beans have historically played an important cultural role as a low cost alternative to meat. On average, dried beans cost $1 per 500g. With thousands of varieties all over the world, beans are a simple and affordable option for a large proportion of the world’s population.
Example: Kidney beans are mainly produced in India, Myanmar, Brazil and the US today, having originated in Central and South America. They’re affordable and very easy to source, and so double as a major source of protein and fibre round the world.
So, how do they plan to ‘make beans sexy again’?
The coalition provides recipe inspiration via their website, offers a quiz to learn more about beans and also partnered with Grow It Yourself for a quick starter guide on growing your own beans too. Bring the conversation beyond consumers, they’ve launched a ‘Menu Challenge’ to encourage ‘restaurants, caterers, cafés, schools, and other food providers to include #beansonthemenu’.
Behind all this are various organisations and individuals, championing the cause:
The Bean Board: A team of 7 individuals which act as the’ governance mechanism to shape the strategic direction, communications, identity and key priorities for the campaign’. The board includes Paul Newnham (Executive Director of SDG2 Advocacy Hub), Jean Claude Rubyogo (Bean Science & Innovation Advisory Council Co-Chair and Global Bean Program Leader and Pan-Africa Bean Alliance (PABRA) Director!) and more.
The Bean Coalition: A network of organisations, collaborating to ‘spread awareness, increase momentum and adopt localised engagement strategies to achieve goals’. The coalition includes brands such as Bold Bean Co (read on for our conversation with the founder!), Hodmedods, ChicP and Kraft Heinz Company.
The Bean Science and Advisory Council: A truly trans-disciplinary council of specialists that ensure that Beans is How campaign’s communications and advocacy strategy is evidence-based.
The Beans in How campaign coins beans as “charming but disruptive”, a prediction that will no doubt be shaped by the work of this powerful coalition, board, advisory group and campaign. With exciting new brands like Bold Bean Co rising up the shelves and championing this shift, we’re certainly excited to it!
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> Brand Spotlight
Bold Bean Co: We ask founder Amelia Christie-Miller about sourcing sustainably, becoming B Corp and the power of coalitions.
Beans are having their moment. They’re popping up on menus, on shelves and on our plates as the star of the show. As a source of natural plant protein and soil health, beans are more than just a food trend. They offer a genuine solution to the issues in our global food system. They’ve also come a long way - for a while beans were subject to bad press, seen as a sad alternative for vegans and vegetarians that lacked taste, texture, and importantly, style.
A good sign for our planet is that the tides are changing with the emergence of mission-driven, taste-obsessed brands such as Bold Bean Co. Launched in 2021, with a mighty team of four, they’re even releasing their own cookbook this year.
We chatted with the founder, Amelia Christie-Miller, on her brand, the mission and how Bold Bean Co plays a part in changing our food systems for the better. Amelia’s perception of beans changed forever when in Madrid, as a hungover student, she reached for a jar of Judion Butter Beans, and became obsessed with their taste and texture. With Bold Bean Co, her goal is to share the offer the best of beans to begin the long-awaited bean revolution.
We asked Amelia to tell us more about this ‘bean revolution’, and being an impact-focused founder. Here’s what she said….
Q: We know that beans are good for us, but how are they good for our planet?
Beans are the most climate-friendly food we have, and they're being overlooked by mainstream food culture. Our soils are degrading, yet beans help nourish and protect them. Temperatures are rising and populations are growing, and the most affordable, most widely accessible and carbon-friendly source of protein is beans! The problem is, they're not cool... yet.
Q: You’ve built a sustainable brand from the source with suppliers that use sustainable farming practices. Can you tell us the key steps you took to build your business in a sustainable way from the ground up?
We source our beans for flavour, which generally means that we are buying different ones than you find on the commodity market. This in turn means we’re helping build a more resilient, less monocultural agricultural system. However, we’re inclusive of all beans, whether they are canned, dried, or jarred, because we believe that increased growth of bean consumption in all formats is going to benefit people and the planet. That’s why our mission is very simply to make people obsessed with beans, not just our beans!
Q: Congrats on becoming a B Corp! How did you find the certification process? What were the most challenging and the most insightful parts of the process?
It was a massively worthwhile process. By setting out to become a B Corp at such an early stage in our business, we were able to set up good practices from the start, rather than change old ones. The most challenging part was collecting data from stakeholders.
Q: We’ve seen you’ve joined the Beans is How coalition, which aims to double bean consumption by 2028. What role does Bold Bean Co play in making that happen?
Our goal is completely in sync with the ‘Beans is How’ campaign, so it's hard to decipher the difference between what we do everyday and the goals of the campaign. We are constantly trying to remove barriers to bean consumption, most notably through our Instagram and the recipes we share that hopefully inspire people to see beans in a new light entirely.
I think restaurants and chefs have a huge role to play in supporting the campaign. So many food trends begin on a menu, and if the country’s finest talent can celebrate the bean, the trickle down impact of re-positioning beans in people's minds will be huge.
Beans are rightfully having their moment, with Stanley Tucci’s version of Pasta Fagioli causing a stir, and food bloggers from around the world bringing them into their cooking. How can you play a part in the bean revolution? Picking up a jar of Bold Bean Co and introducing them into your recipe rotation is a good place to start.
Take a closer look at Bold Bean Co:
> In case you missed it
💥 #9 - Meet the Brands: allplants are going all-in on a more sustainable food system.
Featuring Ellie Harrison, Sustainability Lead at allplants
> Follow up with…
Event: Carbon Markets - A View of the Future Showcase (13th July)