why a former hershey exec sold his porsche to build a cashew business in mozambique - plastic foil packaging
Do you have to be a little crazy in order to give up all the signs of company success? Move your family to Mozambique, set up a Cashew Company and promise to donate 90% of the profits to help orphans and farmers?
More than a few people made the same advice to toDon Larson, an executive at former Hershey, who sold his Porsche, hot air balloon and house with pool, A Mozambican company in Matola was purchased to start his social business.
Larson's sunshine nut company sells roasted cashew nuts grown by small farmers in Mozambique, completely in-country.
The company made its first profit 18 months ago, sold around $2 million worth of cashew nuts last year, and Larsson expects revenue to reach $3 million to $5 million this year.
Nuts are now available in about 2,000 USS.
Stores including Whole Foods and Wegman's.
More than 30 years ago, the production of cashew nuts in Mozambique ranked the highest in the world.
But 16 years of civil war and bad banking policies destroyed the industry after independence in 1975.
Now, Larson is trying to bring it back. -
This time, by empowering local communities, paying fairly for farmers' products, and creating upward mobility jobs for orphans and abandoned children in Sunshine factories.
The company used 30% of its net income to support agricultural development and 30% to care for orphans and vulnerable children;
Another 30% will be used to expand to other developing regions and eventually to other crops.
Most social entrepreneurs like to highlight their founding stories, the goals they want to achieve, and the motivation to drive everything they do.
Sometimes it's just good enough but nothing special.
Savvy social entrepreneurs have learned that a sincere mission and a superior product must go hand in hand. in-hand.
It took 52-year-
Old Larsson has had some time to make this happen.
Until recently, he issued a warning to the founder of his company.
His marketing is the product.
He doesn't want people to buy his nuts because of his social mission.
Larson believes that just because they taste so good and the price is competitive, sales will grow with word of mouth.
Larson recalls until his retail customers get involved.
"The retailer said, 'You are crazy and people need to know your story.
The opposite will happen, they will buy the product at a competitive price, it is very delicious and very fresh because of the good things you do, they don't walk down the aisle without seeing your package and putting it in the cart.
Soon the sun will release a new package, with the Sun's background story and mission highlighted in 2015, which he gave to xtalkinlancaster PA.
He called the Sun "the social impact of steroids ".
"I recently met Larsson at the Summer Food Show in New York.
Larsson's ultimate goal is to replicate his factory. in-a-
Box business model-
Everything he needs is 40 years old.
He follows the "sunshine approach, sticking to what he calls the" four-heavy bottom line ".
"Most social enterprises judge their success through three aspects: financial feasibility, social mission and environmental impact.
Larsson insisted on the fourth indicator, creating a "transformation" in the local economy, thus taking it further.
In Mozambique, in addition to paying farmers reasonable prices and providing a market for their products, Sunshine is also training and hiring adult orphans to hold leadership positions in the factory, and it also works with local universities, teach food services and international safety standards.
At present, there are about 35 workers in the factory.
They provide a market for about 50 000 farmers and provide income to thousands of others who earn a living by shelling cashew nuts by hand.
In his 13 years, Hershey, Larsson wore many hats, moving from one industry to another at a time as a "man who turns things around" for a year to achieve
While operating global cocoa purchases, he was deeply moved by the extreme poverty in many African countries.
In the end, he left Hershey and joined a cocoa processing company, first serving as chief operating officer and then acting as chief executive to provide liquid cocoa for Hershey.
Things went well until one day the investor called him and said they no longer needed him.
The next day, the company was acquired.
Disappointed and frustrated, he refused many job opportunities.
In order to rethink his future, he continued what he called the "spiritual journey ".
Remembering his experience in Africa, he is determined to make a difference.
Now that he and his wife Terri run the sunshine approach Foundation and lead a "modest" life, he says, "We are very happy.
"Larsson does not like to dwell on the bad things that have happened since he began to shine in the sun ---
Like being held in front of Mozambique's own house with his family under the gun, with AK-
Aim at his chest.
He would rather highlight the achievements of the Sun: planting 2,000 cashew seedlings in villages in northern Mozambique;
Give the orphans a widow and build a new house for them. ;
Run a sewing factory that employs local women to make school uniforms for children who are unable to attend school due to lack of funds.
The list continues.
Of course, none of these items can happen if the sun doesn't sell nuts that people want to eat.
Larson said that his competitors usually purchase shell nuts in India and Vietnam and then ship them in plastic packaging so that moisture will accumulate;
They don't deal with it for months at a time.
"They never start with fresh cashew nuts," he told me . ".
"I was shelled on the road and I put it in a foil package with a high shelf life.
Cashews lovers say you ruined me and I can't buy someone else's cashews.
"There are four varieties of Sunshine nuts, from common, baked with sunflower oil, to those coated with herbs, spices, or" salt. "For the herb-
Larson played the chef and threw a bunch of herbs on the table to cover the nuts.
He will not reveal the recipe except to say that rosemary and garlic are the main characters.
He noticed that most of his competitors' spices were placed at the bottom of the bag, not on cashew nuts.
How did he make them stick so well?
Mr Larson, a shrewd businessman, replied, "I am not saying.