Single Origin Food Co (Sofco) a Delaware-based startup, recently secured $1.1 million in seed funding to expand the production and availability of its flag product, Vegan Un-Honey. Produced with only natural plant-based ingredients and fortified with organic flower pollen. It is a new superfood alternative to the traditional honey without disturbing the lives of bees. The company and its investors believe that this product will disrupt the food industry.
“Our mission is to fix the food chain, Our Single Origin model of working collaboratively with our farming partners actively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases biodiversity, removes animal use from the food chain, and provides full product traceability to our customers to ensure we deliver the highest quality, best value food to market. We are proud to say we are well on our way.”elal Elbana, Sofco CEO
The key for the success of Sofco’s is by establishing long-term partnerships with farmers who share the same commitments to sustainable and ethical practices. The company reports they sell in more than 3,500 supermarkets across the United States with their existing portfolio of rice, salt, and sugars but the main reason for their astronomical growth is its Vegan Un-Honey. Sofco’s Vegan Un-Honey was launched all over the United States in Sprouts Farmers Market and recently has been rolled out across Whole Foods, Natural Grocers stores.
Sofco’s seed round will support the Vegan Un-Honey rollout and accelerate the product development. The Vegan Un-Honey product has a few different offerings which include Copper Vegan Un-Honey (made with dates); Amber Vegan Un-Honey (made with organic cane sugar); and Blonde Vegan Un-Honey (made with organic coconut nectar).
Future product development will include “Nada” a sugar free version and “Gold” a version with Maple Vegan Un-Honey. Additionally, it sees long-term potential in the product and plans to further develop “Un” plant-based products using organic flower pollen and other wild plant nutrients.
Traditional honey isn’t considered vegan because veganism, by definition, means avoiding or minimizing animal exploitation, including that of bees. Taking honey from bees is exploitative, especially when its done in commercial honey production, this practice includes the queen is artificially inseminated and she has her wings removed to prevent her from leaving the hive and colonizing a different one.
Bees work hard to create honey as their source of nutrition by collecting the nectar from flowering plants and converting the sugary liquid to honey, the insects’ primary source of carbohydrates. Honey provides bees with the energy for flying, colony maintenance, and general daily activities.
Honey is for bees
Despite the importance of honey to bees themselves, beekeepers take it away and sell it for profit, and replace the honey in the bee hive with a cheap synthetic alternative that is nutrient deficient, such as sugar syrup. In addition to disrupting their lives and stealing their primary sources of nutrition, mass breeding of honey bees affects the populations of competing nectar-foraging insects, including other bees.
Overwhelmed by the increasing quantities of farmed bees, the number of native honey bees has drastically declined. In addition to honey, we take and use bees’ pollen (another source of nutrition for bees), royal jelly, and beeswax for our own purposes.
Honey bees play an important role in the health of our environment and ecosystem. Specifically, they are largely responsible for regulating our food supply by pollinating our food crops. According to the FDA, approximately one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds.