Michigan food makers team up with Forgotten Harvest

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The Detroit News

Nonprofit Forgotten Harvest has teamed up with local food entrepreneurs to offer what they hope is a win-win for local grocers, customers and those in need of food assistance.

Details of the Forgotten Harvest Brand Premium Food marking program was announced this week, unveiling eight co-branded and locally-produced products that will send a percentage of net sales to Forgotten Harvest, a 26-year-old charity dedicated to relieving hunger in Metro Detroit and eliminating food waste.

The local products that will be available with the Forgotten Harvest co-branding are Apolonia Dressing, Jen’s Dressing, Scotty O’Hotty Hot Sauce, Michaelene’s Granola and Detroit Bold Coffee. The line also includes three Forgotten Harvest branded products made by local food producers: salad dressing from Mucky Duck, pasta sauce from Romano’s and jam crafted by Slow Jams.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to give back to the community,” says Suzi Owens, of Scotty O’Hotty Hot Sauce, a company she started with her husband, Scott Owens, five years ago after playing around with ingredients from their garden. “We’ve always wanted to involve our products to give back to Michigan and giving back to Forgotten Harvest is a no-brainer. It’s a great charity.”

Shoppers can now find the Forgotten Harvest line of products in Kroger, Busch’s Fresh Food Markets, Holiday Market, Hollywood Market, Westborn Market, Market Square, Papa Joe’s Market, Plum Market and elsewhere.

Forgotten Harvest partner Dave Zilko of Fuel Leadership (and former vice chairman at Garden Fresh Gourmet) likens this product line to the successful Newman’s Own line started by actor Paul Newman. The company gives 100 percent of after-tax profits to charities. According to the Newman’s Own website, the company has donated $460 million to nonprofits since 1982.

Newman started with just salad dressing, though, and grew to more than 100 products. Zilko points out that initiative is coming out of the gate with 25 products, considering the varieties offered within the eight brands.

“It’s a substantial program and it has real potential,” says Ziko, who added that the program doesn’t ask any favors of the consumer or the retailer. A percentage of net sales from the product are donated to Forgotten Harvest.

Besides drawing money and awareness to Forgotten Harvest, Zilko says this plan also boosts the locally-made products.

“What I like about this program so much is that it not only supports (Forgotten Harvest’s) mission, their vision, but it expands upon it,” says Zilko. “It expands upon it by drawing Michigan manufacturers, food manufacturers, into their mission, providing employment opportunities for them.”

The Forgotten Harvest line of products are in stores now.

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