A Longmont-based startup Future Fit Foods, or FFF, recently launched its first line of products SUPPAS, freeze-dried, plant-based soups that are prepared within minutes. It’s the first step towards the company's mission: making instant meals better for consumers’ health and for the environment.
Married couple and co-founders Paloma Lopez — who serves as CEO — and Sean Ansett — the “chief storyteller” — combined their skills from their careers in sustainability. Lopez is the former global marketing and sustainability director for the Kellogg Company and has spent about 16 years working at the intersection of food and the industry’s environmental practices. Ansett has spent much of his career working on sustainability and ethical labor practices for apparel companies including Gap Inc. and Burberry.
Lopez and Ansett pull on their backgrounds of working with brands on sustainable practices for their first venture together. They wanted FFF to have environment and health built into the framework from the get-go.
“Future Fit Foods was born out of the idea that we need to design differently in the food industry, that we need to design for the change we want to see,” Lopez said. “And so instead of fighting our way into something that looks sustainable, we need to design for something that is sustainable from the start.”
Before launching FFF in early 2020, the couple spent a year traveling through parts of Asia, Africa and central Europe learning about food and packaging practices and developing inspiration for their brand. Lopez — who is from the Mediterranean coast of Spain — and Ansett — the first-born American from a British family and raised in Chicago — have also had their share of travels throughout their lives and careers.
Lopez and Ansett settled on moving to Colorado to start their business, living in a rental in Boulder in early 2020 and permanently moving to their Longmont house a few months ago. They are currently selling their SUPPAS line direct-to-consumer. They opened their e-commerce site on July 15 and sent out their first shipment over the weekend.
The three flavors available for SUPPAS are inspired by their travels and backgrounds. The “Southern Soul” soup, with black-eyed peas, green collards and sweet potatoes, is inspired by their exploration of southern U.S. Pulling from South Asian cuisine, the “Spice Route” has adzuki beans, shitake mushrooms and lemongrass. “Seven Seas” is inspired by Lopez’s coastal life in Spain and has seaweed, green papaya and sprouted mung beans.
“We really feel that food can bring us together, like music often brings us together across many cultural and political divides, that people can share across their table. So that's how we really view all of these soups to some aspect,” Ansett said about the available flavors.
The soups are fully cooked before being freeze-dried, a practice popularized as “astronaut food” but was chosen by FFF for dates back to the Inca Empire and being light to ship. Across each soup variety, FFF strives for a fully rounded meal and every product guarantees to contain 10 or more superfoods, 4 grams of fiber and 4 to 5 grams of protein.
The single-person meals are rehydrated within three minutes by adding the mixture to a cup of boiling water. Currently, customers can purchase a six-pack assortment or the assortment with a reusable SUPPAS mason jar.
Lopez said they are mindful of packaging. SUPPAS orders use previously recycled and recyclable materials for shipping. FFF includes a stamped envelope and encourages customers to mail back their SUPPAS packets so they can dispose of them. However, Lopez and Ansett are exploring prototypes for alternative packaging that will be easy to compost by the consumer or possibly be dissolved into the soup. While recycling is good, Lopez said, she wants FFF to be an example that companies can use compostable packaging.
“SUPPAS is really the vessel for the kind of conversation we should all be having also around foods and foods of the future. The conversation around packaging, how do we keep pushing them on their boundaries for more compostable solutions,” Lopez said. “We want to be a big contributor to making that a possibility for people and kind of demonstrating that it's possible.”
Along with working with 12 advisors, FFF partners with the University of Michigan's Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and the University of Nebraska’s Food Innovation Center, where SUPPAS is being manufactured. The education partnerships are working with FFF on packaging solutions. Exploring food innovation is a part of the FFF mission and the brand and products will continue to evolve, Lopez said.
“A big part of Future Fit Foods is really engaging the next generation of food professionals in the work that we're doing, so they can also be part of co-creating with us what that next generation of foods looks like,” Lopez said.FFF plans on staying in soups, for now, possibly branching into noodle soups down the road and working with local restaurants. As the brand grows and changes, customers can follow along on the FFF blog or social media accounts.