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KeHE Unveils New Class of 2022 CAREtrade Partners

Distributor brings mission-based brands to shoppers looking for deeper connection with products
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
KeHE Unveils New Class of Its 2022 CAREtrade Partners
KeHE has selected 10 food companies that are making a difference to be CAREtrade partners for 2022.

KeHE Distributors LLC, has selected 10 food companies that are making the world a better place as its CAREtrade partners for 2022. The CAREtrade initiative recognizes and supports mission-based brands and products that are advancing a higher purpose and giving back to communities worldwide.

Through the program, KeHE works shoulder to shoulder with like-minded suppliers and retailers to bring mission-based brands to shoppers looking for a deeper connection with the products they purchase. Over the past few years, responsible sourcing has moved from a choice that food retailers made in accordance with their values to an imperative for specialty and mainstream grocers alike as customers increasingly demand transparency in the supply chain with regard to eco-friendly and nonexploitative practices.

The five new brands joining KeHE's CAREtrade are Heart Water, Imlak’esh Organics, Live Love Pop, Our Gorongosa and Rishi Tea. The remaining five will continue in the program for a second year, graduating at the end of 2022: Chickapea, KiZE, Small Axe Peppers, Teeccino and Ziba Foods.

“KeHE is dedicated to serving our communities and making a positive social impact globally. This incredible group of brands selected for CAREtrade 2022 demonstrates the same passions and values we have for improving the lives and helping our most vulnerable populations,” said Laura McCord, executive director of sustainability and corporate responsibility. “We’re thrilled to partner with this class, as they are making a conscious choice to serve others through their products.”

Below are more details on the brands that CAREtrade is partnering with this year. Honorees range from companies that create organic coffee and healthy snacks to organic pasta and more.

Heart WaterHeart Water is an ultra-filtered alkaline rainwater. It’s free of chemicals, micro-plastics and harmful toxins found in groundwater, and comes in durable, refillable and recyclable aluminum bottles. Twenty-three percent of its profits go to the Heartwater Foundation, whose mission is to provide clean drinking water to water-challenged communities around the world.

Imlak’esh Organics: Imlak’esh Organics curates a line of plant-based, keto, Paleo and immunity-boosting functional snacks with unique flavors. It’s an LGBTQ- certified company that develops organic and ethical supply chains that benefit diverse small farmers around the world. Imlak’esh is building a bridge with small farmers to bring super nuts and regenerative cacao to the people in support of culture and biodiversity.

Live Love Pop: After the founder’s mother was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, Live Love Pop was launched and the mission behind it became the core pillar of the brand. Live Love Pop is not only healthy and wholesome, but it’s also a popcorn snack that gives back. Through its Selfless Snacking campaign, it supports the following causes: breast cancer research, fighting hunger, veterans’ health programs, pediatric cancer research, Alzheimer’s disease research, empowering victims of human trafficking, cardiovascular medical research and youth development programs.

Our GorongosaOur Gorongosa works with more than 850 Mozambican farmers who earn a sustainable income from their coffee harvests while supporting the rainforest at the same time. One hundred percent of the profits from every bag of coffee sold go back to Gorongosa National Park. Profits support girls’ education, wildlife conservation and rainforest reforestation activities that benefit farmers, their communities and the ecosystem they call home.

Rishi Tea: Rishi Tea was founded on the commitment to set the standard for quality and expand the awareness of tea and its rich, inspirational tradition. It offers premium tea and botanicals imported directly from gardens across the world. Its commitment to sustainability is a core part of its belief that organic tea, grown without the use of agrochemicals like pesticides and fertilizers, is generally healthier for the environment, farmers and tea drinkers alike.

Chickapea: Chickapea is a nutritious, high-protein and organic pasta made with only chickpeas and lentils. Its new +Greens product line adds spinach and kale, making it an easy way to get protein and greens. Chickapea partners with Community Food Centres Canada and The New Farm (a regenerative farm in Canada) to help solve climate change and food insecurity.

KiZE: KiZE was created with a passion to help others become their best selves every day, and it strives to make a positive impact in the community, both locally and globally. Each bar purchase affects a community of 1,000 children in Haiti and helps serve the poor, hungry and youth in the Oklahoma City area. These grab-and-go snack options consist of simple, high-quality, and real food ingredients with a dessert-like taste and texture.

Small Axe Peppers: Small Axe Peppers has created a sustainable economic model on a national scale that empowers community gardens and their social justice missions. Each garden has a unique social mission, informed by the needs of the surrounding areas. Throughout the growing season, gardeners sell the peppers back to Small Axe at a premium to produce Small Axe hot sauce, creating a sustainable revenue stream for vital community development work.

Teeccino: Using unique botanicals from developing countries, including wild-harvested ramón seeds, Teeccino creates new sources of income to empower individuals, particularly women, in rural communities. Teeccino supports nutrition education programs and also donates to rainforest preservation, poverty relief and seven NGOs whose information the company publishes on its tea box lids. Teeccino’s roasted herbal coffees and teas with heart-healthy potassium, cleansing dandelion, wellness mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs and prebiotics are for tea drinkers seeking more functionality from their daily cup.

Ziba Foods: Ziba’s range of dried fruits and nuts are sustainably sourced, nutrient-dense and superior-tasting alternatives to conventional brands. Non-GMO and higher in protein and healthy fats, Ziba’s products are unique heirloom and wild-grown varieties ethically sourced across regions of Afghanistan, a country that in the 1970s was a top global exporter of quality dried fruits and nuts before the ensuing conflict and economic instability. Ziba Foods is backed by a social mission of improving the lives of farmers and marginalized women in Afghanistan, as well as ongoing traceability and transparency programs.

Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE is the largest pure-play distributor of natural and organic, specialty, and fresh products to more than 30,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers, and other specialty product retailers throughout North America. A Certified B Corporation, the company has more than 5,500 employee-owners. 

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