This startup raised $ 1 million to make honey that is actually vegan
Delaware-based startup The Single Origin Food Co (Sofco) recently secured $ 1.1 million seed funding to expand the growth and availability of its signature product Vegan Un-Honey. Made only from natural herbal ingredients and enriched with organic bee pollen, it offers a new superfood alternative to traditional honey without disturbing the life of honeybees. The company and its investors believe this innovative product will revolutionize the food industry.
“Our mission is to fix the food chain,” said Belal Elbana, CEO of Sofco. “Our single-origin model of working with our cultivation partners actively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases biodiversity, eliminates the use of animals from the food chain and offers our customers full product traceability to ensure that we have food of the highest quality and the best price – Bringing for money to market. We are proud that we are on the right track. “
A key to Sofco’s success is building long-term partnerships with farmers who are mutually committed to sustainable and ethical practices. The company sells its existing rice, salt and sugar portfolio to more than 3,500 supermarkets in the United States – but the engine of growth is its vegan Un-Honey. Sofco’s Vegan Un-Honey was launched nationwide at Sprouts Farmers Market and is now being launched in Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Safeway Albertsons stores.
Sofco’s seed round will support the launch of Vegan Un-Honey and accelerate product development. Vegan Un-Honey product offerings currently include Copper Vegan Un-Honey (made from date nectar from California’s fertile Coachella Valley); Amber Vegan Un-Honey (made from organic cane sugar grown in Colombia); and Blonde Vegan Un-Honey (made from organic coconut from a farm in Thailand). Future product developments include Nada (sugar-free) and Gold (maple) Vegan Un-Honey. In addition, the company sees long-term potential in the product and plans to further develop “un” -products on a plant basis using organic bee pollen and other wild plant nutrients.
Is honey vegan?
Traditional honey from honeybees is not considered vegan as veganism, by definition, means avoiding or minimizing all forms of animal exploitation, including that of bees. Collecting honey is exploitative, especially in commercial honey production where the queen bee can be artificially inseminated and her wings removed to prevent her from leaving the hive and colonizing another.
Bees work hard to create honey as a food source by collecting the nectar from flowering plants and converting the sugary liquid into honey, the insects’ main source of carbohydrates. Honey provides bees with the energy they need for flying, colony maintenance, and general daily activities.
Honey is for bees
Despite the importance of honey to the bees themselves, beekeepers are taking it away and selling it for profit, replacing the honey in the beehive with a cheap synthetic alternative that is low in nutrients, like sugar syrup. Mass rearing of honey bees not only affects their lives and robs them of their major food sources, but also affects the populations of competing nectar foraging insects, including other bees.
Overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of useful bees, the number of native honey bees has decreased dramatically. In addition to honey, we take and use bee pollen (another food source for bees), royal jelly and beeswax for our own purposes.
Honey bees play an important role in the health of our environment and our ecosystem. In particular, they are largely responsible for regulating our food supply by pollinating our food crops. According to the FDA, about a third of the foods Americans eat come from honeybee-pollinated crops, including apples, melons, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds.