She's brought a new inclusivity--and a raw candor--to addiction treatment.
Holly Whitaker doesn’t pull punches, especially when discussing her struggles with addiction. “Most people carry these shameful secrets,” says the recovered bulimic, pot smoker, and alcohol abuser. “I think that part of my healing was almost embracing those parts.” Admitting you have a problem is one thing. Telling the suits who are wondering about cutting a check for your startup is another. But that’s what makes Whitaker’s rehab program, Tempest, revolutionary. Rather than treating those with addiction like they’re “sick and a liability,” or imposing a toxic framework “built for upper-class white men,” she combines elements that anyone can pick up and use. For some, that might look like Kundalini yoga and breathwork; for others, it could be tapping a cognitive behavioral therapist. “There are hundreds of things we provide people,” says Whitaker, who has helped 4,000 individuals since launching her eight-week program in 2015. “It’s really a symphony.” --Jill Krasny
She makes vegan cookie dough that's safe for most consumers with food sensitivities.
When Loren Brill was 22, she learned she had Stage II cancer, and started monitoring how certain foods made her feel. Heavily processed ones zapped her energy. She was able to find healthy alternatives to most--except for her favorite baked goods. So in 2011, she began making cookie dough without ingredients like refined sugar and flour, and consumers’ growing appetites for healthier alternatives helped Sweet Loren’s take off. In 2018, Brill released a vegan, kosher, non-GMO, gluten- and nut-free version; sales boomed. That August, she discontinued her original recipe to focus on the one that the greatest number of people could enjoy. Sweet Loren’s, which is on the shelves in more than 10,000 supermarkets, booked $6.4 million in revenue last year and clocked in at No. 114 on this year’s Inc. 5000. “I can turn this negative thing that happened to me into a positive,” says Brill. “Nothing feels better than reaching millions of people and making them happy.” --Emily Canal
Zume Pizza's co-founder aims to produce snack food using regenerative-farming techniques.
Julia Collins’s understanding of food took a great leap forward in 2009, when she spent six months living on a farm in southern Italy. “I learned the importance of these whole food systems that are integrated and diverse,” she says. “I looked at the people who lived there. There was zero incidence of diabetes and obesity. Well into their 80s, people were eating with joy and pleasure.” In 2015, she co-founded Zume Pizza, which ran an automated food delivery platform and has raised $423 million. Collins’s next venture combines that experience with her agricultural awakening to produce foods using so-called regenerative farming techniques. Her startup, Planet FWD, aims to reverse climate change by using agricultural practices that sequester carbon, de-acidify the ocean, encourage healthy soil biology, use less water, and produce less waste. The company’s first products—healthy snack foods and noodles—will hit the market in early 2020. --Kimberly Weisul
Her 35-year-old gourmet meat company anticipated--and shaped--the sustainable, locavore trends today.
In 1985, a young Frenchwoman living in New York City cofounded a small operation to sell duck livers and other exotic proteins to gourmet restaurants. Thirty-five years later, Ariane Daguin still entirely owns that business, D’Artagnan, which she has built into a profitable, $132 million organic-meat distributor with a near-national network of small farmers and artisanal suppliers. D’Artagnan was one of the first companies to introduce organic free-range chickens to American chefs and home cooks. It also anticipated, and shaped, the locavore movement now sweeping through our food system. “My animals have one bad day,” is how Daguin, now 61, sums up the philosophy of humane, sustainable farming underlying her business. Along the way, she overcame a wrenching breakup with her co-founder and ongoing regulatory battles over foie gras, the controversial and luxurious duck livers with which she launched her company. But neither challenge has stopped Daguin from building her revenue, which she’s aiming to double in the next five years, or her business operations, which she has expanded to Denver and soon, she hopes, to California. “I’m going into totally unknown territory,” says Daguin of her company’s recent growth. “It’s new, but it’s very exciting.” --Maria Aspan
Lisa Q. Fetterman
After copycats moved in on her sous-vide machines, she began selling fancy frozen meals to cook in them.
From the first, Nomiku—Lisa Fetterman’s home sous-vide maker business—earned love from Kickstarter, Shark Tank, and food nerds. Then came the imitators. “We got copied up the yang,” says Fetterman. “If you Google ‘sous-vide,’ there are now like one bajillion machines.” Seeking inspiration, Fetterman embarked on field research, observing 25 of her customers using Nomiku machines in their homes and then—as a thank you—sous-viding meals for them. “Everyone was like, ‘Couldn’t this be your product--that you come chef for us?’” she says. So last year Fetterman started selling 30 frozen sous-vide meals, with recipes devised by herself and chefs from three Michelin-starred restaurants. Her machines now come with RFID readers that can recognize each meal, ensuring that it’s perfectly cooked. The renamed Nomiku Meals sells machines at cost and makes all its money on repeat purchases of the food. So far the strategy is working. Revenue doubled in 2018 and Fetterman anticipates a repeat performance this year. --Leigh Buchanan