On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Tessa Price, Food Labs Manager at WeWork, talks about food’s place in WeWork’s future. “There are so many amazing initiatives we could have focused on, but food, for us, touches a lot of them,” says Price. “We understand how food is such a connector amongst people.”
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At WeWork Food Labs, a workspace and platform for food startups, Price leads the Food Labs Membership and Food Labs Accelerator that build a community of food entrepreneurs, experts, and investors. By gaining access through the membership or accelerator, startups can access WeWork’s usual amenities—including conference rooms, desks, offices, and phone booths—but also specialized equipment like an R&D kitchen, tasting table, and photo studio. “The things that you would think are so easy to access and activate within the food community can be the most difficult. Looking for an R&D kitchen, event space, or a photo studio to take social media content—that can take a lot of time and a lot of capital for small businesses,” says Price.
With these necessary resources, innovative food startups are catering to a new market of consumers desiring more from food producers. “It’s all about transparency. Consumers are really demanding more information about the foods that they’re eating… and there are also small food producers that are disrupting the industry,” says Price. The accelerator supports a cohort of early-age, disruptive startups using a five-month structured curriculum focusing on critical issues within the food system. “[These startups] are coming up with new ways to sell and produce food… It’s about working together across industries toward a more positive food future,” says Price
Price notes that the Food Labs community isn’t the only group supporting the startups: but rather, Food Labs integrates the work of the sustainability team, the veterans in residence program, and the refugee initiative at WeWork. “People are so excited about food entrepreneurship. It is going to change the world,” says Price.