The model behind TOMS Shoes has been such a smashing success that when Will Hauser and Lauren Walters decided to go into business together, they borrowed the buy-one-give-one model and applied it to food. For every Two Degrees food bar purchased, the company donates a nutrition pack to a hungry child.
But it's not just any nutrition pack. What is most exciting about Two Degrees is that the food they donate is locally-sourced, and produced by a company that also hires locally. That's a pretty great thing to see for a food aid project, traditional models for which have tended to import food [PDF], which in turn can devastate local economies rather than help them.
The nutrition packs that are donated come from Valid Nutrition—Two Degrees' partner, along with Partners In Health, in this endeavor. Valid Nutrition says that they manufacture: "a range of highly fortified nutritional pastes for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition. These products are made in the countries in which they are needed, thereby stimulating the local economy as well as providing life-saving products at affordable prices."
The other really great thing is that at the other end of the exchange, the bars they're selling are pretty nutritious as far as food bars go—they're made with fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains like quinoa and millet.
The company is off to a pretty good start so far. Entrepreneur wrote in June:
Through their own resources and 20 angel investors, Walters and Hauser raised approximately $1.3 million and launched Two Degrees in January 2011. During a trip to Malawi in February, they made their first donation to Partners in Health: 10,800 nutrition packs that would feed children in Neno, a small village in southern Malawi.
The company started selling in Whole Foods Markets this summer, and predicts annual sales of more than five million bars by the year's end.