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This snack brand aims to combat climate change

Planet FWD Founder and CEO Julia Collins joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the company aims to be the first regenerative food brand.

Video Transcript


ZACK GUZMAN: Well, from electric cars to solar panels, there's no shortage of ways to flex your climate consciousness. But a new snack company is putting that front and center with sustainability at the forefront of what it set out to do. That company is Planet Forward, and it's changing the game up with their moonshot crackers.

We're delighted to have the CEO and founder of Planet Forward with us today. Julia Collins joins us right now. And Julia, you started this after cofounding the Pizza Robotics Company, Zoom Pizza, that attracted backing from SoftBank. You left that to do this. So what about this new endeavor has you even more fired up?

JULIA COLLINS: I think it would come as a surprise to many people to learn that 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from our food system and land use. And while there's no silver bullet solution to the climate crisis, certainly reimagining the way that our food system works is a great place to start. Yeah, this all really got started for me when I became a parent--

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, no question, Julia. We are seeing that across the--


AKIKO FUJITA: And what I was going to say we've been seeing sort of this-- you point to the reimagining. We've been seeing this play out in, for example, companies like a Beyond Meat or an Impossible Foods. You're talking about regenerative food. Walk me through the process here in terms of how these snacks are made and what other applications you see beyond what you currently have on the shelves.

JULIA COLLINS: The reason why we get so excited, Akiko, about regenerative agriculture within the context of climate change is regenerative agriculture is the approach to farming that helps to rebuild the health of our soil, soil that's been degraded through conventional agriculture. But in doing so, it also helps to restore the natural carbon cycle. And in many cases, wide scale adoption of regenerative agriculture can have the effect of actually drawing down carbon into the soil and into the above ground biomass.

The other great thing about regenerative agriculture is beyond just helping to store carbon in the soil. It has all of these other ecosystem co-benefits, like protecting pollinators and improving biodiversity. And so, regenerative agriculture is one of those scalable tactically viable solutions to creating a more climate-friendly food system.

ZACK GUZMAN: So for a consumer listening to you talk about that, obviously, the benefits would be rather large because, you know, we've increasingly learned that having too much carbon in the environment is a bad thing, specifically when it comes to greenhouse gases. But maybe talk to me about the comparative choice between going with a moonshot for a snack over-- I don't know-- goldfish, seeing as we know how important it is to maybe shift away from meats and the greenhouse impacts there. But why is it maybe better over some of these other plant-based snacks?

JULIA COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, when we talk to consumers, when we talk to millennials, we hear that 62% of them want to align themselves with sustainable brands. When we look at the data, Nielsen tells us that, you know, consumers in 2020 will reward sustainably marketed products with $150 billion in spend. So we certainly know that consumers are beginning to be more and more careful about the way that they consume. And think about sustainability as one of those elements of their purchasing decision that's really key.

But at the same time, you know, we're making snacks. Moonshot has to deliver on taste. It has to deliver on value. And it has to deliver on health, first and foremost. I think what's really exciting about reaching today's more sustainably minded consumer is that there's an opportunity to really bring transparency to the forefront of the equation and help consumers understand that they have the right, they have the power and they have the right to understand where their food comes from, what kind of practices were being used by the farmers that grew that food, and how that all relates to the overall not just carbon footprint, but the overall sustainability picture of that product.

So how we're different from one of your other favorite crackers is that we're carbon neutral. Not only are we using ingredients that are grown with these regenerative practices, but at the company level, we measure our scope one, two, and three carbon emissions, and we use offsets to make sure that we're carbon neutral at the product level and the company level.

AKIKO FUJITA: Julia, all of this-- the innovation that's happening right now in the space is happening in the context of so many countries, cities trying to reach that goal laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement of net zero by 2050. And I wonder if you look at the food space right now, I mean, how significant is it in terms of emissions? And why did you decide to focus on this particular issue if the ultimate goal is really to try and get to net zero by 2050?

JULIA COLLINS: Yeah, 25% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, a quarter is coming from land use and food systems. So it is quite a significant number. What's really exciting about food systems innovation is this is one of those solutions that helps us not only get to net zero, Akiko, but also to address the legacy load of carbon, to also think about carbon removal or drawdown.

And what we know to be true about the moment that we're living in is getting to net zero isn't enough. We also have to think about scalable solutions to drawing down carbon. And food systems reform is one of those solutions.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, no question. So many different layers to the problem here. Julia Collins, it's good to talk to you, Planet Forward founder and CEO.