Report from the Heartland

29 April 2012

Back in Kansas

I was out in Kansas for a board meeting of our flavor company, and the news is good. We are hiring again, and we had a best quarter in four years. Until I joined this board, I never realized how chaotic and challenging the food industry is. You battle rising commodity prices for your inputs on one side, and your end clients — in our case, cereal companies and bakeries — struggle to find the right mix of products to hold the interests and purse strings of the Voracious American Consumer. Increasingly, that VAC is a mother who doesn’t want her kids eating sugar. She wants everything that goes down their gullets to be “natural” or “organic”. That means we have to move into and own that “health and wellness” space, or perish.

Interesting, my world and the world of this company have taken a step closer, in that we got a contract to produce the mix for a protein bar that will go to feed starving kids in Haiti.

It’s off to the Congo for me, to meet with my Africa team and interview clients. I’m going to get my own take on “Does Microfinance Work?” — at least within FINCA. Report to you soon!

Rupert Scofield


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