News / USA

Snack Maker's Business Model Aids Hunger Relief

Two Degrees co-founder Will Hauser gives a prepared food packet to a child in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
Two Degrees co-founder Will Hauser gives a prepared food packet to a child in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
Jan Sluizer
At an age when most Americans begin thinking about retirement, Lauren Walters founded a company aimed at feeding the world's hungry children.

The idea came to the lifelong political activist and entrepreneur after a visit to Rwanda.

He'd made a significant donation to an international health care organization and wanted to see first-hand where his contributions were going.  

“What I learned was that, for malnutrition in children, we know exactly what to do," Walters says. "We know how to bring them back from the brink.”  
The Snack with a Mission
The Snack with a Missioni
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

What it takes, he learned, is a nutrient-rich protein packet.

For every Two Degrees bar sold, the company donates a prepared food packet in poor communities around the world. (Courtesy Two Degrees)For every Two Degrees bar sold, the company donates a prepared food packet in poor communities around the world. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
x
For every Two Degrees bar sold, the company donates a prepared food packet in poor communities around the world. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
For every Two Degrees bar sold, the company donates a prepared food packet in poor communities around the world. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
​“These are packets, little sachets, that are 500 calories, that are medically formulated," Walters says. "It’s basically sweet peanut butter with vitamins. Those sachets, given over four to six weeks, several a day, can bring a kid back from the edge and can give them the chance, if they get adequate nutrition going forward, of developing in a normal way.”

However, relief agencies and humanitarian groups were unable to distribute enough packets to satisfy the growing need. So Walters came up with a concept to help meet the demand: a food company based on a one-to-one model.

For every item sold, a nutritious meal would be donated to a malnourished child.

“This one-to-one idea is a unique way to engage millions of Americans, Europeans, and others who will be buyers one day with the notion that they could do something for themselves and something good for another person," Walters says. "If we can give people easy ways of helping other people, I think that really changes the world.”
Two Degrees nutrition packets being produced at a factory in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)Two Degrees nutrition packets being produced at a factory in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
x
Two Degrees nutrition packets being produced at a factory in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
Two Degrees nutrition packets being produced at a factory in Malawi. (Courtesy Two Degrees)

At around the time Walters came up with that business concept, Will Hauser was also getting ready to change the world.  

His parents were old friends with Walters, and Hauser often called Walters for business advice.  

​Now a Harvard graduate working in finance in New York, Hauser told Walters he was unhappy and looking for another path. When Walters explained what he wanted to do, Hauser jumped at the chance to be part of what was to become the Two Degrees Food Bar Company.

“Two Degrees for me is this perfect marriage between my love of entrepreneurship and my long desire to do something good,” Hauser says.

The company name reflects the two steps involved in helping a malnourished child. For every Two Degrees energy bar sold, the company donates a prepared food packet in poor communities around the world.
Two Degrees bars sell for about $2 each. (Courtesy Two Degrees)Two Degrees bars sell for about $2 each. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
x
Two Degrees bars sell for about $2 each. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
Two Degrees bars sell for about $2 each. (Courtesy Two Degrees)

The packets, given out by the United Nations and other relief agencies, are produced in Europe and the United States, but Walters wanted to be able to buy packets that were produced in the areas where they are needed.

“We wanted to do it locally, because we think that it’s a better development model," Walters says. "People need jobs. And, even in our small way, if we can contribute to demand locally, we can help break the cycle which often leads to malnourished children.”

They contracted with a Malawi-based company, Valid Nutrition, to make the packets.

In February, 2011, one year after Two Degrees was launched, Will Hauser visited Malawi to witness the 11,000 nutrition packets his company donated being distributed to hungry children.  

He says the trip transformed him.

Two Degrees co-founders Will Hauser (left) and Lauren Walters hope to donate millions of nutritional meal packets each year. (Courtesy Two Degrees)Two Degrees co-founders Will Hauser (left) and Lauren Walters hope to donate millions of nutritional meal packets each year. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
x
Two Degrees co-founders Will Hauser (left) and Lauren Walters hope to donate millions of nutritional meal packets each year. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
Two Degrees co-founders Will Hauser (left) and Lauren Walters hope to donate millions of nutritional meal packets each year. (Courtesy Two Degrees)
“It’s a really sobering experience to see a severely malnourished child," Hauser says. "It’s just really a shocking experience to see that first-hand. You wonder how this could possibly happen.”

Two years later, Walters and Hauser have even bigger plans for their company.

They hope to donate millions of nutritional meal packets each year by expanding their offerings.

They're working on producing other healthy snack products including cereal, coffee and possibly yogurt, all packaged under the Two Degrees brand.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid