Building a Food Business Ecosystem from the Farm Up, with Michael Bosworth of Next Generation Foods

Agtech has long had an interest in shortening the supply chain between farms and consumers. And yet after years of effort, relatively little progress has been made beyond a proliferation of farmers markets and some new “local” tags at supermarkets. There are a lot of challenges in this space that go beyond a simple technical fix, and overcoming them often requires rethinking the entire business model. 

Enter Michael Bosworth, farmer and founder of Next Generation Foods, a California-based food brand and distribution company that's reinventing how food moves from the fields to chefs and home kitchens alike, with a special interest in sustainability, science, and transparency. Michael’s not only growing rice in a highly water-vulnerable region, he’s also growing a valuable food business to market his products and those from nearby farms to ensure that his model is both environmentally and economically sustainable. 

In this episode, Michael guest speaks about:

  • What his customers, and consumers more broadly, are really most interested in, including what drives the most sales when it comes to food purchases
  • His strategy for moving from being a price-taker to being a price-maker, and the ongoing investments required to maintain that position
  • Why having a “farm brand” can be an asset but also a limitation in terms of offerings and agility in the fast-moving food space 

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Key takeaways

  • [00:07:10] The Premium Product opportunity on farms
  • [00:13:00] The benefits and limitations of brands in food distribution
  • [00:20:44] Need for financing alternatives with interest rates on the rise