Essential Living Foods’ mission is to promote health and wellbeing in our customers (by delivering great tasting, highest quality superfoods, foods extremely high in antioxidants and other nutrients that enhance health and performance), of our planet (through promotion and support of organic agriculture and ecological business practices), our employees (by striving to create a healthy and rewarding work environment), and our business partners (by practicing conscious business – fair, ethical, practical and holistic – with our vendors, customers, investors, and others).
Essential Living Foods believes in a “farm to table” model of sustainable business, where small farmers are supported by fair prices, the earth’s ecology is protected by organic, sustainable farming techniques, generous donations from the sales of the products goes back to source communities, consumers benefit from our great tasting, healthy foods, and our employees and partners have a rewarding, values-driven place to work and earn a living.
How it all started
One day in 2001, Christopher Daugherty got a call from Gordon, an old family friend and an early pioneer of organic farming and farming technologies since the 1970’s. Gordon had a college buddy with a farm in Peru that had just been covered with 6 feet of dirt in a massive mudslide. To try to make some lemonade from that big bunch of natural disaster lemons, they had gotten their new soil certified organic (which would enable them to get a higher price for their pecans). Gordon asked Christopher if he wanted to try to sell these organic Peruvian pecans, and hence Essential Living Foods was started.
Christopher sold that first container of pecans to UNFI (to a purchaser there named Ron Lautrup, who several years later, after he’d left UNFI, joined the board of directors of Essential Living Foods), and to many other customers the following year. We still bring in those same amazing pecans – in fact we’ve even made our pecan partner a shareholding in our company!
Christopher built on those first pecan shipments, adding his passion for organics, sustainability, and ultimate nutrition. He travelled the world looking for the most unique, highest quality, most nutritious and sustainably-farmed organic foods on the market.
Christopher continued to build on the direct to farm relationships over the years and has increased the bond of loyalty between Essential Living Foods and its supply chain (farmers, suppliers, processors, shippers, warehouses and customers) by implementing programs including Equitable Trade, fair trade practices, education, training, upgrading technology and agricultural systems as well as other investments into its supply chain.
Essential Living Foods quickly earned a reputation in the organic food industry as among the best suppliers of the purest, highest quality organic foods in the world. Due to our social impact business model, cutting edge product sourcing and its excellent customer service, we have developed a passionate and faithful following of customers.
We’ve stayed an innovator in the superfood and raw food movements, being one of the first companies to import goji berries into the US and the first company to bring in RAW chocolate.
Our expertise in importing the highest quality organic superfoods led us from simply supplying large quantities of bulk ingredients to managing our own production of finished products. We innovated formulas and worked with customers to develop packaging and labels, and we began to sell private label products – our same great tasting, high quality superfoods packaged for individual consumers.
With new expertise in manufacturing and product development, we added our own Essential Living Foods retail brand to our product offerings. So currently we offer direct from the source bulk products to distributors and manufacturers, private label packaging and manufacturing services to other brands, and our own brand – available online here at our web site and in natural grocery stores nationwide.
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