Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 38 of 139

PHOTO: NATIERRA BY BRANDSTORM, INC. 36 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com T hierry Ollivier, a Parisian, fell in love with Los Angeles and its sunny climate in 1995 and soon got a job importing sparkling lemonade and candy from France. Advancing to a position in charge of sales, he traveled 200 days out of the year, visiting clients and searching for ideas for other products he could introduce to the U.S. In 2002, Ollivier started his own business, BrandStorm, a play on the word 'brainstorm,' and subsequently, Natierra, an umbrella brand. His goal was to create innovative brands, and he found one in pink Himalayan salt, reportedly the first one to launch in the U.S. market. It got such a great reception from consumers, he continued to travel back to the Himalayas and elsewhere around the globe to look for more opportunities. "I found the goji berry, at the time unknown to stores, and showed them to Whole Foods," he says. "Before we knew it, we were the goji berry guys." His Los Angeles-based company pioneered organic goji berry concentrate as well as freeze-dried bananas and mangos, using technology that retained all the nutrients. They also placed emphasis on fair trade, helping to educate poor farmers in South America and Africa so they could sell their produce at a premium price. "About three years ago I was studying the supply chain in Haiti and saw a way to use the unsellable mangos that were dented or bruised, creating jobs for people to peel and slice them," he says. He discovered that some women and children were so poverty-stricken they were eating mud cookies, a cheap way to trick their bellies into feeling full. Sourcing ethical products from Haiti and creating jobs was no longer enough. "I freaked out," he says. "How desperate do you have to be? We were in the food industry, selling superfoods with soul, and I told my team, 'Let's put our soul to work. We can do better.'" He bought a mud cookie to taste it for himself and was disgusted, saying it tasted exactly the way you'd think it would, plus it was sending droves of people to the doctor, experiencing abdominal discomfort. Now, for every purchase of its Superfoods product line, Natierra provides a meal for a child in a Haitian school, called the Feed a Soul program. For some children, it's the only meal they'll have all day. Partnering with a non-governmental organization, Convoy of Hope, they provided more than 350,000 free meals in 2017. The goal for 2018 is one million. "It's changed my life and my entire team," says Ollivier, 44, who now has 60 employees. "It's not about selling our products anymore, it's how many kids are we feeding. I keep cookies in my office to remind me when I work. I am a firm believer that businesses can do much bigger things than profit and dollars, have a higher purpose than just making money." Thierry Ollivier Natierra By BrandStorm, Inc. highlights 2002 Founds BrandStorm, an innovative importing company; launches Himalania Pink Salt in the U.S. 2003 Becomes the first importer of organic goji berries in the U.S. 2015 Introduces Natierra umbrella brand. 2017 Launches Natierra Feed a Soul project and packaging redesign. 2011 Introduces organic and fair trade line, Freeze-Dried Nature's All Fruits. 2013 Launches fair trade chia and organic hemp seeds. VISION

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