Eat Well Global, Inc. is facilitating communication between food businesses and consumers by helping companies identify food trends and tap into consumers food desires. Drawing on her background in communication and as a registered dietitian, Julie Meyer, founded the communications company in 2012 to help bring together food producers and manufacturers with the consumers they serve. Eat Well Global believes that enabling better communication is the key to moving towards a healthier and more informed world.
Julie Meyer spoke with Food Tank about the importance of communication among companies, dieticians, and consumers.
Food Tank (FT): What was the original mission of Eat Well Global and has it evolved?
JM: Eat Well Global started as a communications company to help businesses focus on wellness and to help people create healthy food on a global scale. The biggest change happened when I brought on a business partner, Erin Boyd Kappelhof, based in Amsterdam. I was more business oriented and communication oriented. She has taken the company in a more mission-driven direction. Erin has helped us realize that clients we take on, and organizations we work with should mesh with our mission and ideals: Are they looking to connect or not? For us, that’s very important. We have very small and very niche clients that come to us, and we fit together. Being mission-driven and being connectors are our goals.
FT: How did you get the idea for Eat Well Global?
JM: The idea for Eat Well Global came to me when I was in school. I was a communications major, and my first job was in public relations. My first client was a major food brand, and I met all of these dieticians and became interested in what they were doing. I also realized that a traditional desk job wasn’t for me. I decided to get my RD (registered dietitian credentials) and start Eat Well Global.
My family and I moved to Shanghai, China. Food safety issues were by far the most shocking aspect of moving to China. I decided to write a book, Eat Well Shanghai. It started as a blog, and I went around to organic farms in Shanghai to see what they were doing to promote nutritious eating. I wanted the book to be a survival guide for people in China to eat healthy and not eat toxic foods. Gradually, the idea became a travel guide series before emerging in its current form as Eat Well Global.
FT: What were some indicators that the company was ready to exist on a global scale?
JM: The global scale was more interesting than the local. After I had been repatriated from China, I realized that with my RD (registered dietitian) credentials and my background in communication, I could bring companies and consumers together.
FT: Eat Well Global is focused on helping food producers and manufacturers promote healthy eating. What are some ways you accomplish this?
Julie Meyer (JM): We work with startups and with global chains. Our goal is to help diverse stakeholders understand the landscape and communicate the most effectively with the greatest number of people. Our research looks at global trends and assesses how we can create communication initiatives to engage everyone in the conversation. Removing judgment from dialogue and meeting people where they’re at is important: we need to communicate, we need to develop tools to communicate, we need to be able to connect with consumers where they are today. Our mission is to help companies connect with these consumers.
There is something to be said for the convenience that the food industry brings to families. It often gets overlooked. If it helps you deliver a healthier meal that you can eat together with other people then that’s fine. If you would rather [hand pick and hand wash your greens], then that’s fine. We need to accept that there are many choices that people make with their food—if we can accept that we can make food healthier for everybody.
FT: How did you first realize that sustainable food movements needed to include the voice of dieticians?
JM: I am a dietician. It’s a long process to become a dietician. If you need nursing care, you go to see a nurse. If you need dental care, you go to see a dentist. If you need to know about healthy food, you should see a dietician. Having this background adds further credibility to our advice.
FT: What are the most important initiatives that you work with?
JM: We are part of the Global Alliance 4 Health and Nutrition, a dietician-led agency working around the world to support our clients. We have partners in Brazil, Argentina, India, and China. We are developing a global network to help clients communicate and to involve dieticians in that communication: to help companies access the knowledge that dieticians have, to help dieticians communicate with clients globally, and to give clients the advantage of the credentials that dieticians have.
Personally, I feel strongly about women entrepreneurship. Whether dealing with the communication or production side of food and everywhere in between, I’m trying to figure out avenues to support women entrepreneurs in food as much as possible.
FT: To what do you attribute your success?
JM: From an agency standpoint, the big agency model isn’t as efficient. In our organization, we only bring on people to work on a particular project. We bring on talented individuals who are the right people for the job. Because we are owner operated and have a small staff, we can create specialized teams for each project. We work with partners who do branding or marketing because we don’t specialize in that. We need each other.
FT: What have you learned through Eat Well Global?
JM: I love this field! I learned that it’s so cliche, but true, that if you follow your passion success will follow. If you show up with willingness and honesty to your projects, amazing things will happen. We all really need each other so let’s figure out a way to work together.