Co-Founder at HARi&CO, France
What started as a tandem of agriculture students hungry for a change (and some legumes!) is now a team of 25 mission-led individuals distributing to over 6,000 restaurants and 3,000 stores.
“HARi&CO is, first of all, the story of a conviction,” CEO Emmanuel Brehier explains. “My business partner Benoît Plisson and I met at an agricultural engineering school in France. We learned all the agronomic interests of pulses and beans for soil regeneration. We were already convinced of the enormous challenge of encouraging a more plant-based diet – and then, everyday, we went to eat at the university restaurant, where we were mainly served meat or fish.” This was not an okay option for them, and so the idea to pursue what ended up becoming HARi&CO emerged. “Our mission is to help people eat more plant-based foods by offering them protein-packed, nutritious pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans) cooked into patties to replace meat on their plates.”
“We want to show people that a plant-based diet is not a constraint, but an opportunity to open up to many new flavors.”
Eventually, they wanted to reach the general public, but started with what they knew best at that time: collective catering, and, more particularly, school catering. “One of the highlights was the first delivery to a school canteen: it was only the beginning, but it was already a great achievement,” Emmanuel shares. At the beginning, in 2013, they were serving a few school canteens. “The company has completely changed dimension since its creation. The turnover has been multiplied by more than 30. The vegan and vegetarian trend has become very strong.”
“We work with a serious work ethic, without taking ourselves too seriously.”
What are they striving to change in the food industry? “We are very committed to improving the agricultural sector. Last year, we created our own agricultural chain of organic legumes around our factory. Ten farmers joined the adventure by planting legumes for us. We provide them an economic opportunity for their harvest and a better remuneration. This way, we are an active player in a more sustainable and fair agricultural and food model.”
Emmanuel is one of the Food Heroes for 2022. See more inspiring and world-changing stories from Food Heroes here.