Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.
While The Main Course loves to talk about food, there’s another part of the menu that restaurants and consumers are seeing evolve too—beverages. While the beverage industry has seen growth and diversity in the grocery store, restaurants haven’t had as many options. To talk about a better for you line of drinks, host Barbara Castiglia chatted with Luke Emery, CEO of Tractor Beverage Co.
Tractor, launched in 2018 by organic farmers, offers artificial-free, certified organic, and non-GMO sodas and drinks. Emery explained the origin story. “The founder Travis saw family members get sick and looked at the food supply with artificial flavors and chemicals. He wanted to make an impact on the world and partnered with restaurants and foodservice partners aligned with the mission of better for your ingredients.”
Emery also has a personal connection to the Tractor mission. He was a veteran of the traditional beverage industry. Just as he was beginning with the company, his son became ill. “I had conversations with Travis about food is medicine. We changed what goes into his body, and he’s now in remission,” he shared.
The company wants to inspire people to live healthier with organic for all without giving up flavor. Emery shared about the creation process. “We’re seeing the trends toward more functional ingredients like turmeric in our lemonade. Our drinks are made to pair with the food of our pouring partners and elevate the dining experience,” he said.
In addition to delivering a high-quality product, one that consumers can find at Chipotle, Pokeworks, Umami Burger, and more, they also help partners develop a strong beverage program. “Restaurant margins are thin, especially now. A strong beverage program can help. With our self-fill bottle program, we ship in concentrate. Restaurants add the water, saving costs on freight,” Emery noted.
Emery feels good about the future of dining and that consumers will continue to care more about what they put in their bodies. “They deserve better, and that’s what Tractor and our partners are delivering,” he added.
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