If you are reading this you probably want to know how initiated a new Mexican food startup in Denmark. But those words don’t capture exactly why and how we want to do it. Food supply chains have been getting more precarious for decades, and we’ve gotten to the point where many people have no idea how their products come to be, nor understand who made it or even what is in it. This means folks are eating things that are unhealthy, yet marketed as healthy, eating low-quality products that are masked as having high-quality ingredients.
We want to create a Mexican food company that delivers the highest quality products while giving you, the consumer, a chance to understand what it takes to make your products. Too many people eat high-quality food with little thought to the hard work, sweat, and tears that good people have put into their products. And too many people demand high quality, well-sourced ingredients, and products without being willing to pay for that quality.
As part of our project, we aim to create a socially sustainable approach to sourcing our products. This means we will work towards better employment terms for the employees in our partners’ factories, better payment for the farmers’ produce, and a true partnership between the production country, Mexico, and the consumption country whether it be Denmark, the US, or Europe as a whole.
To support this mission, we have three fundamental tenets we let our business be governed by:
- Be a good partner for everyone we work with
- Understand and respect our partners in Mexico
- Learn about everything in the supply chain, from seed to salsa – so that we can see problems from others’ perspective
What does this mean practically? It means that we spend a lot of time visiting and exchanging knowledge with our partners in Mexico. We want to support our partners where we can with information that does not come naturally to them, and we want to learn everything they have to teach about traditional agriculture, Mexican food culture, production, packaging materials, and much more! In particular, we are focused on supporting our partners with project management tools, health and food safety regulation, and marketing information about Europe and the US. This will not only benefit them in the short term, but it will also lead to much better growth opportunities for us as a team.
For the farmers, we work to create long-lasting real partnerships based on mutual trust. In Mexico, too many of the farmers that we meet tell the same tale: “big company X from Europe/USA said they would buy Y kilos of my product every month. I delivered it to them, and after 6 months they had never paid, and we were left with huge loans to live up to their production requirements.”
Specifically, we want to help our farmers in three ways:
- Pay a fair price for quality products. This means a price that allows the farmers to grow their crops sustainably, while taking care of their families and employees.
- Support investments and give back to the farmers. Once we have determined the correct set of farmers where there is mutual trust, we will set aside a percentage of every DKK/USD we earn to give back as lump-sum payments/investments to the farmers.
- Agricultural knowledge exchange. We want to help farmers in Mexico get access to the latest technologies and methods to increase yield, while maintaining low usage of chemicals. If you are interested in getting involved or you work in the academic world, please reach out as we can never get enough smart people involved.
Ultimately, our company will be driven by a desire to always cooperate and build together with our Mexican partners. This could, and should, be seen as a direct indictment of large food companies that we all normally buy from. If we can be a part of the wave that makes the global food supply more healthy, and even more importantly, more equitable, well then Vera Mexicana will have served its purpose.
As always, we love getting feedback and questions. So if you have any thoughts on the topics discussed, or just want to get your voice out there, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on [email protected] We would love to help you in any way we can.
To a better, and more delicious, meal.