Meet Dr. Darren Burke and TJ Galiardi of Beyond Food Inc!
Get to know how Darren Burke, “DB”, and TJ Galiardi
began their adventure together and their goals for Beyond Food!
Q: How and when did you two meet?
DB: We met at a restaurant in Calgary, during the summer of 2009. It was an early stage of my last company where
I still answered the 1-800 number. TJ was in the offseason and had some questions about our products so he dialed the 1-800 number and I picked up!
TJ: At the time, I was looking for a clean supplement as the supplement industry was pretty dirty back then and still is.
As far as certifications, I don’t think there were many third-party companies out there certifying products. My strength coach connected me
with Darren’s brand at the time and he happened to be in Calgary where I was, so we sat down for lunch and have been friends ever since.
Q: Where did the idea for Beyond Food come from?
TJ: We were both at a point where we were ready to do something new and do it together and we knew
we wanted to do it in a space where he had success in the past and where I had experience with as a consumer.
We also wanted to do something different, not only on the plant-based side but do something that would differentiate us. That’s where our desire to help reduce food loss by diverting nutrious food from entering the landfill came into play.
DB: We wanted to do something on the giving side too. So, having a social impact is really important to us. TJ had been a
professional athlete and I had been in the sports nutrition business, and we wanted to bring something unique
that will actually have a big impact on the health of the planet and people, which is a big part of what we are doing with Beyond Food.
Q: What is your vision for Beyond Food?
DB: For me, I want us to have a significant impact on this waste issue. Our business is so dynamic;
it changes month-to-month, but, when we can take even 1% of the current waste situation and turn that into a
business model where we are selling product and giving product on a one-for-one basis, that is what I think will be our success.
To date, that is our target, our target is to get to the point where we make a product where we sell to a consumer and then we give to a child in need. In North America, it’s shocking to see how many kids still go to school hungry, so, for us, success will be when we accomplish that and I don’t think we’re very far away from that. In the last 2 and a half years, we’ve moved along far enough in the cycle where we’re making a product and a brand for professional athletes, but our end objective is the one-for-one giving. That is a big objective for me to see that we have achieved success. It’s a big milestone for us.
TJ: To echo that, the business, as far as being profitable, is great, but we do want to make a bigger impact and help as many people as we can. The more we dig into this and work with grocers, having open conversations and transparency, the numbers are shocking. It’s millions of pounds of food they’re wasting and they don’t have a solution for it. And that’s where we step in.
Q: What will be the biggest challenge in achieving that goal?
DB: The biggest thing to overcome for us, is the logistics of moving produce. If you can think, every grocery store has the challenge of bringing in the right amount of produce and at the end of its lifecycle they have to figure out how to get rid of it, and a lot of that time, the produce has packaging on it. We have discovered in recent weeks that de-packaging produce is going to become the biggest challenge for the grocer and for us as a company because our sustainable process is for the produce, it’s not for the packaging.
Both in conjunction with the grocer and our internal resources, we have to figure out how to overcome that. I think once we overcome that de-packaging issue, then it’s just a matter of deployment. Getting our zero-waste pods built as quickly as we can to deploy them to store level and then processing the produce will be challenging, but, it will be less of a challenge compared to the packaging issues that already exist in our food cycle. And the packaging is a big challenge for everyone, including the planet, as we continue to ask the question of how do we move away from traditional packaging and get something that is more environmentally friendly?
Q: What does going “beyond” mean to you?
DB: When we decided to call the company Beyond Food, it’s about “what’s next?” – What’s going to happen to our population?
What are we going to eat? What will food look like in the future? This is our move to better prepare our population for “what’s next?”.
About Beyond Food
Beyond Food is a manufacturer of plant-based functional foods. They take surplus fruits and vegetables and convert them into whole plant powders with a longer shelf life and packed with nutrients. Using a proprietary patent-pending process, they are reducing food waste and creating powerful ingredient combinations of effective natural health products. Their corporate mission is to create sustainable nutrition for health, performance and the environment.