Why being a Force for Good is just Good Business

The shift to more sustainable diets cannot be left just to individual consumers. It's the private sector's responsibility to do right by the planet—and the market is already there.
Kees Kruythoff

Kees Kruythoff

Chairman & CEO at the LIVEKINDLY COLLECTIVE

Published July 1, 2020

By now, we all should be aware of animal agriculture’s devastating, multi-faceted effects on the environment, on people, and animals. Studies connecting meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood to the current climate crisis have reached mainstream press. Eating less meat, or going plant-based, they say, is one of the best things that all of us can do for the planet. But, the shift to more sustainable diets cannot be left just to individual consumers. 

I believe that the private sector must be a force for good not only when it comes to changing the food system, but making that choice easier for consumers. 

So much of what’s happened to the planet is because of corporations. That needs to change today. It’s the private sector’s responsibility to do right by the planet. That is why during my time at Unilever, I spearheaded the launch of the company’s Sustainable Living Plan in 2010. 

So much of what’s happened to the planet is because of corporations. That needs to change.

This inspired me to ask myself how we can do even better. And we should lead the change, even if it means going against the grain, such as taking on the global meat industry, which is projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2022. Companies need to be purpose-driven. And that’s what we at the LIVEKINDLY co. have set out to do.

Last month, the LIVEKINDLY co. acquired Swedish plant-based meat startup Oumph!, which joined the company’s collective of heritage and startup brands including South Africa’s The Fry Family Food Co., Germany’s LikeMeat, and digital media platform LIVEKINDLY. 

It is easy enough to tell others that plant-based is the solution to the aforementioned global issues. Getting consumers to eschew beloved foods such as burgers, sausages, and chicken is another matter. Sales show that interest in plant-based food is growing rapidly—global consulting firm AT Kearney predicts that the global market will reach $120 billion by 2025. 

The work is only just beginning. This week, we announced that we will begin a significant expansion of The Fry Family Food Co.’s main factory in South Africa. With nearly 30 years’ experience in making plant-based meat, the Fry family has been making meat alternatives long before it was cool. Now, they’re available in more than 30 countries with plenty of room to keep growing. It’s a true testament to sticking to your values. And we’re ready to grow with them.