Smart50 Eco Warrior Award winner: Your Food Collective

Smart50 Eco Warrior

Cousins Cara Cooper and Lauren Branson founded Your Food Collective after becoming frustrated by a lack of access to locally sourced food.

The business offers customers sustainably grown food sourced from less than 250km away, with products ranging from seasonal produce, to meat and seafood, snacks, dairy and baked goods.

Your Food Collective’s recent growth shows the founders’ commitment to sourcing food from regenerative growers is something consumers are craving. And it’s this focus on building a sustainable food supply chain that has earned the business the top accolade in the Smart50 Eco Warrior category, alongside 12th position on the 2021 Smart50 list.

When lockdowns catalysed a surge in demand for Your Food Collective’s home-delivered goods, the co-founders raced to keep up, condensing their growth strategy for the entire year into two weeks.

The business doubled its headcount, created its own delivery fleet, opened additional trading days, developed new tech, and even worked with more suppliers.

Cooper and Branson have no plans to slow down, having recently raised $1.4 million in funding from private and public investors.

The extra funding will help the founders recruit a marketing director, add to their product range and look towards interstate expansion.

In the longer term, the Newcastle-based business has global ambitions to scale its technology to facilitate more local food systems around the world.

“On a global level, we are seeing food as the vehicle for driving significant social and environmental change,” the founders said.

“And if we are going to feed a global population of 9 billion people by 2050, we need to change the way we grow, consume and produce our food.”

Our Smart50 judges were impressed by the founders’ mission to use food as a powerful vehicle for change.

One judge praised the startup’s triple bottom line of ‘profit, people and planet’, saying it “shines through in every aspect of the business”.

All the judges were inspired by the way the founders promote the farmers they work with, implement a sustainability rating for the producers, and work towards being zero plastic.

“The whole enterprise is bristling with places where they prove their mettle as eco warriors,” another judge said.

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