To all our loyal friends, customers and suppliers,
I wanted to touch base with everyone on what 2020 was like for Fry’s and what 2021, and beyond, promises to be.
2020 was a life-changing year for so many. There was great sadness and hardship, but at the same time incredible stories of resilience and determination. We all learnt so much about ourselves, and the world we live in. We saw the best of humanity, and to some degree the worst.
It was also a really, really important year for us as a family.
In 2019, we realized that it was time to explore ways to future proof our business. The plant-based food sector had grown tremendously, and in order for Fry’s to remain relevant and competitive, we needed to partner with someone to help us grow, but (importantly) grow in the right way.
Fry’s is our family’s legacy – my parents have worked tirelessly to build it from a few products made in our kitchen, to producing for 30 different countries. As you know, despite our growth, we’ve always been motivated by principles over profit – making sure that the business lives our personal values at all times. This is why it was essential that we found the right partner – not just a large corporate that was only driven by profit. We had many offers (as a market-leading, established, plant-based food company we had a lot to offer) and it took us a long time, and many long nights around my parent’s kitchen table, to decide who that partner should be.
In early 2020 we finally settled on the then unnamed LIVEKINDLY Collective. With a few investors on board, and a small team of passionate food industry leaders who are determined to change the global food system (including the esteemed Kees Kruythoff our CEO), the LIVEKINDLY Collective showed us that they were totally aligned with our values. Their vision was our vision continued. We could clearly see that the company would grow, and be enormously successful, but would always live a value system that was aligned with our family’s. Through that success, we could see that we would be able to achieve our mission to make plant-based living the new normal. The Fry Family Food Co. under The LiveKindly Collective would be able to make real, sustainable change in the world.
How could we not be on board with that??
It was an exciting but nerve-wracking time and there were hours of backwards and forwards creating the deal that would keep Fry’s intact as the brand and business we’d grown, while also helping us to achieve new heights, reaching even more people, putting even less meat on plates, changing even more hearts and minds.
It is now almost a year since we signed the deal, and I can comfortably say we made the right choice. Fry’s is about to launch in the USA in the retail chain called Sprouts, we are working closely with LIVEKINDLY Collective’s product development teams to create extraordinary innovations, we have extended our factory at Fry’s which has allowed us to treble our output. We are also finally able to actively roll out what we call ‘Project Green’ which is a greening of all our packaging. It is still a work in progress, and there have been some ups and downs but I believe we are getting there.
However, some things have not changed. We still produce out of our factory in Durban, we are still actively involved in operations and new product development (my sister Hayley heads up our NPD department), and I am still leading the growth of the brand locally and globally. We are the only heritage brand in the Collective and our lived experience growing this business is called upon often to advise other teams in Europe, USA and elsewhere. I am incredibly proud that we can take what we learnt building and running Fry’s and use that to help other plant-based brands grow.
There has been change, and change is often hard. But I believe with all my heart that this change is for the betterment of the world, and all the beings we share it with.
We are celebrating 30-years of Fry’s this year and the Fry family will be front and centre of this celebration and we hope you will join us. We want to honour our loyal customers, our passionate colleagues and teammates and my parent’s legacy that will ultimately be part of something that changes the way we eat.
Yours in hope