What this ingredient supplier learned about helping women growers flourish

June 28, 2016
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Editor’s note: This article is the second in a quarterly series celebrating the women behind our foods, from farm through delighting our consumers around the world. Our first story featured Marisol, a Spanish farmer from our Kellogg’s Origins™ program.

By Carole Inman, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, ADM Specialty Food Ingredients

I was born on a farm in Iowa, one of seven kids, raised knowing where food came from and how hard family farmers work.

After graduate school, I worked in many industries, including high tech, healthcare management and now food. Starting in 2001, I spent a decade at a nonprofit where I worked to improve the lives of women in countries such as Asia, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the UK. My role consisted of developing women in their roles in their families and in their faiths, which helped shape and inspire my work today.

For the past four years, I’ve been responsible for ADM-Specialty Commodities’ Food Ingredient Division. In this role, I’m helping create stable and fair markets for the ingredients they grow while bringing great-tasting, nutritious foods to consumers.

Every day, I work with Kellogg team members around the world. With product developers, I help them understand the latest ingredients and varieties of existing ones so they can pioneer new foods. I love brainstorming with the food scientists, telling them about the latest grains we’re seeing, new ways we’re roasting or making butters out of nuts and seeds. I work with Kellogg to ensure that the nuts, seeds, ancient grains and other ingredients they source from ADM-Specialty Commodities are sustainably produced and responsibly grown.

I also partner with Kellogg’s Procurement and Sustainability teams to share how the quinoa, pepita, hemp, cashew butter, sorghum, almond and other ingredients that ADM supplies are grown and traded, to support Kellogg’s Global Sustainability Commitments, one of which is to responsibly source priority ingredients.

In just the past two years, my team has grown and now supplies more than 30 different ingredients for numerous Kellogg bars, cereals, frozen foods, granolas and more. It’s been an exciting journey. It makes me so proud to walk through my local grocery store and find foods that I’ve helped bring to life, aisle after aisle. And, I love to share these foods with our entire team so they can see the impact of their jobs.

My personal definition of sustainability is a supply chain that allows farmers to flourish, endure and improve their lives and their land. I’ve seen, first-hand, the roles women play in our global food supply chain. They are co-owners and co-laborers with the men on their family farms. I’ve seen women working tirelessly in the field during the day, to then go home and prepare the meal and care for their children. The women I’ve met who stand behind the ingredients we supply to Kellogg are amazing, smart, hard-working, nurturing, and warm.

We need to be intentional in initiating projects for women – like those we’ve helped establish with quinoa growers in Bolivia – to continue inspiring them to generate new ideas and help them flourish.

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