Lean, bean fighting machine
Through its products, packaging, and selected partnerships, 8 Track Foods believes that canned beans will make a positive impact on the world
Food scientist and plant protein expert, Maggie Seng Sadowsky pioneered innovation with the food industry’s biggest names before she decided to launch 8 Track Foods. “Unfortunately, we wrap our food in plastic, and over 40 percent of the food we grow ends up in the trash. That’s a huge impact to our climate,” she begins.
“So, what I envisioned was a time when we gathered around the table as a community, preserved our food naturally, and we didn’t wrap our food in plastic packaging. I wanted to go back to simple, whole foods, and redesign the food system to get our supply back on track, and ensure that our process and practices were sustainable,” Maggie says, adding that this is how the concept of the company’s name came about. “Eight is the infinity symbol, and so everything we do is to keep that cycle closed and self-sufficient, making sure that not only are the products sustainable, organic and non-GMO, but also that the packaging has little impact on the environment as well.”
Now, Maggie is the proud owner of a business that specializes in offering organic classic black beans, blonde chickpeas and dark red kidney beans, and recognizes that much of her success is owed to her suppliers. “It was very important for me to source our ingredients and packaging, and produce our products domestically, and use local organic farmers to create partnerships. Those relationships became incredibly valuable particularly once the pandemic hit, because when the food system cracked and no one could really get products, having those relationships allowed us to continue to source ours, and we didn’t have to rely on pulling items around the globe. I believe that being able to find the highest quality partners on so many levels and building those relationships is really important.”
One would think that the clash between introducing a new food to the market and a pandemic would bring about some challenges. However, for
Maggie, the timing proved to be a catalyst for the company’s success. “I thought it would be this uphill battle to get customers to embrace a premium line of canned beans, but we were designed for this sort of post-pandemic world. Once the system shifted, and other businesses struggled to get ingredients for their products, we could keep ours on the shelves. Again, this comes back to the fact that the partnerships we forge are local, allowing us to continue to stock up and sell,” she expresses.
Another key characteristic to its impressive growth is the fact that 8 Track Foods is a certified women-owned company. “There is a lot of heart and passion that goes into this work. For example, we hire people who align with our mission, rather than focus on finding a specific skillset. What I find is a particularly unique stand-out about working with this business is that we are all excited to share what we do, not just with the beans alone, but the impact we are able to have as an organization,” she expresses.
Following the feeding frenzy of the festive season, Vegan January is coming up, and Maggie is happy to share the benefits of beans, and encourage others to move towards a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. “At the start of next year, we are launching the white cannellini bean, which is exciting! I think the trouble is that consumers don’t know how to incorporate them into their diet, which is why we create a lot of fun recipes around curries for example, or vegan whipped cream to incorporate aquafaba. All the recipes on our website are designed to be vegan, and are simple and easy to make, with beans at the center of the plate.”
The future of 8 Track Foods looks bright and Maggie plans to expand into other categories “The vision of my company is to redesign the pantry so we can utilize products that are completely sustainable. We are taught to shop the perimeter of the store where all the fresh ingredients are housed, but by using your pantry, you can also create really fresh meals. I would love to expand and share how to cook from your pantry to reduce food waste and eliminate plastic packaging,” she concludes.