Being Local Isn't EnoughAn Interview With Megan Klein
Megan Klein is the President and Co-Founder of Here. Their mission is to bring people closer to their food by making locally sourced and produced food and beverage using only real ingredients. All of their products support Midwestern farmers, the local workforce, and your neighborhood grocer who chooses to source close to home.
Klein says, “more than 90% of people would buy local given the opportunity.” The problem consumers experience when buying local, she explains, is the lack of already cooked and prepared foods. In today’s fast-paced world, not everybody has time to cook a full meal every day. This is why Here makes packaged foods such as cold-pressed juices, dips, spreads, and salad dressings.
They use imperfect produce from local farms and create products that are clean. “We could have increased shelf life by 6 months if we put something unnatural in, but we decided to not do that,” says Klein. They work very closely with their food processing facility to create products that are clean and natural. Klein says, “Customers are looking for clean labels and transparency. It does take a lot of resources, but it’s worth it.” From product development to shelf, they are trying to keep their timeline to about six months.
Here has partnerships with Whole Foods and Marianos and as of November 2017, with Jewel Osco. They want their products to be convenient and easily accessible. Targeting these three grocery suppliers helps achieve that goal. Klein also says, “Being local isn’t enough, our products also taste good.” Here has created clean, healthy, and local products and they’re just getting started.
With the Food Labeling Workshop just around the corner, we asked Megan what she was most excited about for this event. She says she is grateful to be included and that the key to being successful at a small company is “surrounding yourself with smart people.”
The Food Labeling: Evolving Regulatory Compliance Workshop Intensive is a one-day extension of the annual Food Labeling: Evolving Regulatory Compliance Conference. Food Labeling and Regulatory professionals who attend this workshop will walk away with new methods on how to maintain compliance with the regulations as well as ways to implement new FDA and USDA regulations. The deadline to register is quickly approaching. Register today!