MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Ashley Larochelle, Vision Activation Manager
We’re all familiar with line “Love makes the world go ‘round,” but what about food? Doesn’t food make the world go ‘round, too? “I think you can make acase for that,” laughs Ashley Larochelle. Ashley is the vision activation manager at the New Hampshire company called FoodState. If anybody can make the case, it’s Ashley and her colleagues!
Founded in 1973 in Derry and now based in Londonderry, FoodState manufacturers and sells whole food supplements nationally and, increasingly, worldwide. The firm’s two brands, MegaFood® and INNATE Response Formulas®, were launched, respectively, in 1983 and 2003 when the company was named BioSan. In 2012, Robert U. Craven became CEO following the retirement of company founder Carl Jackson, and BioSan became FoodState.
Producing wholesome and nutritious supplements has always formed the “what” of FoodState’s business; Ashley says the “why” is something everyone at the company has been doubling down on in recent years. “Our mission is to improve lives and inspire others to do the same,” Ashley explains. “At FoodState, we’re all about community, and community begins at home in the way the company treats its employees and in the way we steward the environment.”
For starters, the company’s employee-run Wellness Warriors bring health and wellness close to home by helping to make FoodState a healthy place to work through organized team runs, lunch and learn events, educational posting, and reimbursement not only for gym membership but also for the purchase of home exercise equipment and videos and membership in local CSAs. A second employee-run group, of which Ashley is a founding member, is the Culture Club. Drawing members from every corner of the organization, the CC has introduced some pretty neat community-building initiatives. These include quarterly Town Hall meetings for all staff, 24 hours of paid, community volunteer time, and an annual MVP program for employees who really wow their managers. A leadership development program called Flight School developed at FoodState offers managers a platform to develop best practices while strengthening company culture
As a green company, FoodState uses primarily unboxed, glass bottles in its product packaging and, in 2016, was able to conserve over a million gallons of water used in its manufacturing processes by updating some processes and equipment. The company dedicates its sourcing efforts to supporting small, family-owned enterprises doing business on a smaller scale. “We source locally wherever possible,” says Ashley, “but regardless of where a particular ingredient comes from, we are fanatical about its purity and just as fanatical about being transparent to our customers.”
In the growing, multi-billion dollar natural products industry, FoodState enjoys no inconsiderable national renown for its unabashed advocacy of making trust and transparency the key differentiators setting the good players apart from the not-so-good players. To walk the talk and drive the point home, FoodState became the first company in the nation to offer 24/7 live streaming of its manufacturing facilities and to post, unabridged, all reports from third-party quality inspections.
With BHAGs* such as “ending nutritional poverty,” “changing the world,” and “improving lives and inspiring others to do the same,” FoodStaters rarely lack for lots of motivation in their daily work. And who can blame them if they do agree that love isn’t the only thing that makes the world go ‘round?
Please help us welcome Ashley and the FoodState team!
Ashley welcomes the chance to speak with anyone who is interested in learning more. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone (603) 216-0910.
* Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals