While documentaries like Food, Inc., Forks Over Knives and King Corn captivate viewers with investigations into the ethics of agribusiness, a new trend is taking hold with diners: holistic food. The rise of socially conscious consumers—aware of both the health and ethical consequences of what they eat—has fueled a food revolution that has inspired restaurants, grocers and farmers to rethink the business of what we eat.
Here’s a look at four companies who are putting high ethical standards, sustainability and health back on the table of American consumers. And it looks to be just the beginning.
###The Daily Table’s Inspired “Expired” Revolution
A recent study found nearly 40 percent of the American food supply is thrown out, mostly because of confusion over “use-by” dates. The dates are more about freshness than safety, but many throw out food as soon as the date passes. Now, a former Trader Joe’s executive wants to change that. His new nonprofit grocery store, The Daily Table, will sell “expired” food items at discounted prices to provide low-income families with healthy options.
###Whole Foods’ Dark Rye
Grocery chain Whole Foods has teamed with television network Pivot for a new show based on the company’s popular culinary magazine, Dark Rye. According to a statement from the food retailer, the vision of the show—which features travel, food and profiles of young business owners—is to highlight “topics ranging from artists seeking social justice to entrepreneurs rebuilding Detroit to culinary masters maintaining sustainable food tradition.”
###Tender Greens’ Community Ethos
A new chain in California is providing a business model that could revolutionize the restaurant industry by combining community outreach, sustainable food options and healthy menu choices. Tender Greens’ farm-to-table model ensures that all items are grown locally. But the company also has a commitment to hiring and training youth transitioning out of the foster care system, which means their emphasis on community is also changing lives.
###Chipotle’s Farmed and Dangerous
The famously fresh Mexican food chain is behind a new show on Hulu that’s positioned as a satirical takedown of the fast food industry. Part of a marketing campaign to encourage people to pay attention to the origins of their food, the four-part comedy series tells the story of a greedy industrial food executive who will stop at nothing to rake in profits from the distribution of chemical-infused meat—even if that means creating exploding cows that threaten humanity.