Cooks Venture is the only vertically integrated chicken producer in the country that has an independent genetics operation - breeding through selection, not genetic engineering - without ties to Cobb or Aviagen, the two multi-billion dollar breeders responsible for 99% of America's chicken. Thanks to the partnership with Bill Niman's FoodID, Cooks Venture is now America's only chicken company that can independently validate the claim of "no antibiotics ever" and provides verified non-GMO feed to its birds.
Most environmentalists say the best way to fight climate change on your plate is to reduce or avoid eating meat. But there’s a growing number of proponents for regenerative agriculture, a farming method that builds organic matter in the soil with the goal of sequestering more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases.
Blue Apron founder aims to change the world, one heirloom chicken at a time.
[From the Most Creative People in Business 2020 Issue, September 2020] By creating a scalable market for these crops—poultry is the most popular meat in the U.S., with Americans consuming around 110 pounds per capita every year—Matthew Wadiak, is proving regenerative practices can be good business and also replenish the earth.
The USDA recently approved industry-first labeling stating that Cooks Venture poultry comes from healthier livestock than mainstream brands. And the birds have gotten high marks from chefs for their meat-to-fat ratio, crispy skin, and richer flavor. As Alice Waters put it: “I had been focused on organic for so long that I had completely forgotten about breed—and that’s the missing piece. The birds are delicious. They taste like chicken I ate in France.”
These heritage, pasture-raised chicken cuts are absolutely delicious and sustainably sourced: A great gift for those of us who like to get a bit nerdy (or just care a lot) about how our meat is raised.
Matthew Wadiak, Blue Apron founder, discusses the launch of his new venture called Cooks Venture, a food ecosystem that he claims has been scientifically proven to reverse climate change. He speaks with Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu and Caroline Hyde on "Bloomberg Markets: The Close." (Source: Bloomberg)
Cooks Venture is one of several players angling to revolutionize the chicken industry by combining slower-growing chicken genetics, unrestricted access to lush pasture, and attention to soil and the ecosystem. And it wants to do so at a scale much larger than others, meant to one day rival America’s top poultry companies.
Across the industry, it takes about 60 days to get a chicken to a customer, said Matthew Wadiak, who runs Cooks Venture, a chicken supplier based in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Sixty days ago, “we didn’t know this was even on the horizon,” he added. “There was essentially no way to plan for it.”
"We had been looking at Cooks Venture but hadn't pulled the trigger on it. But it is a regenerative agriculture program, incredibly high quality poultry, beautiful packaging and, again, it is something on their end they were able to spin up quite quickly, get us product, commit to us we would have a certain amount of product over a specific period of time, and as well as bulk," [...] explained Stephen Corradini, Kings Food Markets chief merchandising and marketing officer.
Most chickens only live for 38 to 42 days, said Matt Wadiak, CEO of pasture-raised chicken company Cooks Venture. If those chickens have nowhere to go, they will be euthanized. “The problem is we don’t have a diverse and resilient food system,” Wadiak said. “We have a food system that is inherently flawed, filled with cracks, extremely fragile and overly consolidated.”
(click to listen to the podcast)
CEO of Cooks Venture Matt Wadiak talks about what even cautious eaters don’t know about how their chickens are raised and the potential for happier, more nutrient-dense chickens through better raising practices.
“Some terms defy definition. ‘Sustainable agriculture’ has become one of them,” writes the USDA National Agricultural Library. “In such a quickly changing world, can anything be sustainable? What do we want to sustain?”
Wadiak believes that the vast majority of commercially raised “organic” chicken is essentially greenwashed to make consumers feel good about buying a nominally better product than conventional, factory-farmed chicken. He’s not wrong. Advocates for tighter restrictions on the “organic” label argue that many factory farms use organic feed while confining chickens into cramped spaces, which betrays the philosophy of the organic farming movement.
Matthew Wadiak, Founder and CEO of Cooks Venture and Co-Founder of Blue Apron, joins Cheddar to discuss how regenerative agriculture can fight climate change.
Matthew Wadiak, co-founder of the meal service Blue Apron, is thinking outside the box and outside the cage.
A new food company with ties to Northwest Arkansas said it wants to set itself apart by changing the chicken farming system and raising a better bird.