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Food2Smile, the Inspiration Factor

“How do you do it, as a small company, entering number 7 out of ‘40 most inspiring companies in the Netherlands’?” A question we are being asked time and time again.
At first, we were also surprised, as we weren’t aware of our ‘inspiration status’. Because to us, what we do is normal.
Why Food2Smile achieved this position before others did?
Judged by what others say to us:

– Your Purpose is something else, truly special
Well, we want to help children get through life healthier, so they can live long to enjoy the benefits. If this then also helps mum, dad, granddad and grandma, even better. And if it means everybody starts loving ‘the healthy stuff’, best results are met. Making money isn’t our main priority.

– You combine Purpose and Purse within PURpoSE, that’s very creative
Purpose into what we do is our main goal, however, we do achieve to make enough money (Purse) to ensure our continuity. Hence, we invest carefully, working together with and listening to our customers and partners.

– Concept selling instead of product selling: unique
We want to offer children the full package, inclusive of education/information and snacks/candy. Nobody has an excuse not to act, as awareness is part of the picture. Our full range of products has been carefully selected to offer an alternative to every known naughty snack. Our protein rich and less fat chips, alternative to traditional potato chips. Our candy, some almost zero calories, compared with sugar rich and calorie rich candies. It’s most important to offer a complete package to ensure the right choices at that time can be made. When it comes to sugar replacements, salt, fat and so on, we constantly develop and watch the market closely.

– Education/awareness on top
That’s right, awareness on what too much sugar could cause at a later age is our number 1 priority. Food2Smile and the Apenheul (the Dutch Ape Zoo) together wrote a method to be used in schools for children aged 9-12. Biologist Thomas (of the Apenheul) explains how monkeys stay healthy and our Miriam relates theory to humans. Whenever we can, we love to raise awareness at schools and educate children into making more responsible healthy choices.

– Your ‘School Approved’ marks the spot
Our product range meets most of the Dutch voedingscentrum standards. Particularly the guidelines of the Gouden Schoolkantine (Gold School canteen) are leading. If it’s up to us, all our products are School Approved. Healthy products to take to school or to sell at schools.

– Portion control: very wise
Yes, to snack and eat candy has become part of life, a life without seems unthinkable. And without doesn’t have to, as long as you know when enough is enough. That’s why all our products are smaller, more responsible portions.

– It’s true, you offer less, less, less in sugars, salts and fats
Yes, we always offer a good alternative containing less ‘damaging’ ingredients. Totally without sugar, salt or fat is not always possible. It’s an art to create a great tasting product making none or few unhealthy compromises.

– No, No, No to added sugars and bad e-numbers, very good
We want to make it all work. Therefore we choose healthier alternatives and are constantly looking for even better solutions without negative taste affects. Children are very sensitive when it comes to taste.

– Finally transparency, knowledge on what’s inside
Each product is researched to not only monitor its affect, but also to establish what’s in it. We inform our customers what the ingredients are in a clear and transparent matter, for everybody to understand.

– You avoid animal substances, great
Yes, another item we’re worked hard on to achieve. We would love for as many children as possible to enjoy our products. Allergies, diabetes and even religion can be important obstacles to conquer. Almost everything we offer is gelatine-free.

– You guys are truly social
That’s right. Our products are packaged under sheltered employment in Pluryn. Employees there are part of our team, working together to accomplice the Food2Smile mission. We feel good about the involvement of sheltered employment and our local employees there are aware of why they’re involved. Double profit. But we do more, like passing on our knowledge to interns and hiring people with a slight disability. Even choosing social partners, it’s all in the game for us. This way we create job opportunities and even employment elsewhere.

– You focus on Fairtrade
We believe in equal opportunities for everybody. Fair trading is part of that deal. Slavery-free is a must and something we can promise. We’re developing our own fair trade chocolate.

– Your own educational project in Kenia, nice
Yes, for ages now we believe in improving education and to educate children in underdeveloped countries. Through the Twiga project we’ve been doing so since 1997. Despite the experience of a violent robbery, which is why we cannot return to Kenia, we continue to support ‘our’ children there. In order for them to become an example to other Kenyan children.

– Kids Council, great idea
It’s a natural development. We want our customers to have the final say. So we’ve asked some children to provide feedback as part of a Kids Council. They try new products and talk to us about what our plans are. The results are refreshing and can be surprising too. We’ve changed our packaging and have added chocosmiles and marshmallows.

– ‘Together’ really means together
It’s a necessity to act together in order to change something this big. We need all the help we can get. Working together with amusement parks, schools, governments and also suppliers, distributors and supermarkets is a must. Our main partners are our Food2Smile ambassadors: satisfied Food2Smile customers. When they are satisfied, they spread the news. Vital to our business, as our marketing budget isn’t sky high.

– You always remain positive
We believe in ‘better’, constantly. Customers who become more aware and the development of more responsible products. It’s a slow process, but each step taken is one step forward. More and more schools choose healthier alternatives, as are hospitals. Every step we take makes us happy! Fighting against a world full of sugar isn’t easy, but together we can do it.

– Talented people make a difference
We do not believe in hierarchy, job descriptions or bonusses. We do believe in growing together. Everybody contributes using their own talents. Most importantly, quickly taking chances and anticipating change. In doing so, we make mistakes providing excellent ground to learn. Positivity, now and in the future, also when it comes to talent. Our believes have one negative side effect: we are allergic to negative people!

– Your STORY is real
Very much so. Made up PR stories are not our thing. People usually see right through those fake stories. Our drive, especially in Miriam’s case, to help children is very real, you can feel it straight away. Her fight to promote a healthier lifestyle with healthier products oozes passion. Listen to Miriam explain how she encourages children to make the right choices and you will never forget the passion in her voice. She inspires.