The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

me & goji

me & goji

Sustainability

March 27, 2011

Founded by Adam Sirois and Alexander Renzi, me & goji is a custom artisanal cereal company that takes America’s favorite breakfast food and gives customers the power to cater it to their specific tastes and nutritional needs. Carbon negative since the company’s inception, me & goji believes in using resources in ways that benefit social and environmental needs. We talked to Renzi about the importance of being an active force in creating solutions for environmental problems.

How does your business define sustainability?

As a company, me & goji strives to be not just sustainable, but restorative. Eliminating our carbon footprint is not enough; sustainability is a parabolic process, and as a business we must accept culpability for not just our employees but humans as a race. As we grow, so will our dedication to sustainability and our radius for change.       

How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?

We REDUCE waste and consumption of packaging materials by using 100% recyclable Cereal Capsules and 100% post consumer waste (PCW) shipping boxes (most boxes are only 30-50% PCW).

We MODERATE our energy consumption and carbon emissions by eliminating one of the most energy intensive aspects of all supply chains: transporting goods across the final miles between the supplier and company. We located our facility next door to our main supplier’s warehouse, so instead of operating a fleet of trucks, we use pull-carts to pick up our ingredients. Furthermore, our cereals are hand-mixed, and the only machine in our production process is an electric seamer.

We PRESERVE the environment by including only all-natural and organic products in our cereals. Even our apparel line is 100% organic and sustainable!

We PROMOTE alternative energy and offset the carbon emissions generated by the manufacturing and shipping of our cereal in the form of green tags issued by Bonneville Environmental Foundation. These funds are invested in high-quality renewable energy projects around the U.S.       

What are your short term and long term goals?

Our short term goals are to promote our green tag initiative and educate our current customer base. As our company continues to grow, so will our sustainable impact onto new customers and business partnerships.  

Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?

We believe the biggest impact we will have is through our all natural and organic ingredients. Cereal is typically considered a fast moving consumer good with low perceived value. We are attempting to reposition cereal, much like coffee has been repositioned, into a premium product. Consumers want to know where their ingredients are coming from and are demanding unprocessed ingredients. The more natural our ingredients, the better off the consumer and environment are. We hope to start a trend where all cereal companies push for all natural, high quality ingredients from environmentally respectable sources. 

How do you measure your progress?

We quantifiably measure our progress through the amount of green tags sold. Quantitatively, we measure our success through customer feedback and brand awareness. We really push our green initiatives at farmers markets and different events we attend. 

How do retailers factor into your efforts?

Since we are strictly an online business, we do not deal with retailers. However, we are in the process of creating a retail product and have developed a very targeted retail distribution approach with retailers who promote natural foods as a top priority. 

Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?

Sustainable practices are important to the food industry because high quality ingredients are a direct result of a healthy environment and farming methods. It is up to the food industry to set the standard from which all other industries are held accountable. If the food industry does not adhere to sustainable practices, how can we expect a plastic manufacturer to take them seriously? With every action, we aim to make the environment a healthier place because me & goji exists.  

Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?

Some like to turn the issue of global warming and climate consciousness into a political debate: right-wingers are gas-guzzling capitalists and left-wingers are tree-hugging Prius-drivers. We believe that it does not matter which wing you are on, because we are all flying on the same bird. It is everyone's responsibility to protect and nurture it. Consumers are the driving force in determining best practices for a business. Their decision to support sustainable companies through their collective purchasing power is vital the sustainable business movement. 


In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with food companies that are making strides in their sustainability efforts. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing to get involved please contact Allison Bloom atallison@foodnutritionscience.com.