Economics of Sodexo Coffee Production

Sodexo Coffee Production

By Brooks Mattingley


The production of Sodexo coffee was built from the ground up. Literally. Sodexo draws its coffee source from Starbucks who buy it from farmers that grow the coffee beans. Starbucks utilizes certain practices in order to present a quality product. These practices include fair trade and something called C.A.F.E..


The C.A.F.E. practice that Starbucks has implemented is economically savvy because it ensures that the producers of the coffee beans are practicing more sustainably. Many growers have started to shape their business practices around Starbucks’s C.A.F.E. guidelines in order to be bought by Starbucks. The reason Starbucks has started this program is because they noticed a high demand from the consumer for fair trade coffee. According to Colleen Haight, in “The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee”, many coffee growers “have taken note of this model and made their practices more sustainable to attract the attention of Starbucks’ buyers.”(Haight). One of the buyers for Starbucks is Seattle’s Best. Seattle’s Best follows the socially responsible practices of buying only fair trade and high quality coffee from coffee farmers.

Seattle’s Best is owned by Starbucks and implements direct trade policies when dealing with coffee roasters. The direct trade route puts more money into the farmers hands and it is also cheaper for the buyers as opposed to other methods of trade. In the LA Times article, “Coffee: Direct-trade route in coffee buying pays off for Seattle’s Best Founder” by Melissa Allison, the production of coffee is exposed as Marina Trujillo, one of the farmers for Seattle’s Best explains her growing and selling patterns. “Trujillo decided early that she wanted to sell directly to roasters, negotiating with them on price and quality. Direct trade has become fashionable because it cuts out a middleman — often putting more money into farmers’ hands and helping roasters forge long-term relationships across cultural boundaries.”(Allison).

The many production practices that Sodexo’s coffee goes through makes it taste sweet in multiple respects. Not only are the growers receiving fair pay for their product they are producing the coffee sustainably.

See Colleen Haight’s article “The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee” (Stanford Social Innovation Review 3/5/2014)

See Melissa Allison’s article “Coffee: Direct-trade route in coffee buying pays off for Seattle’s Best Founder” (LA Times 4/25/2011)


Economics of Sodexo Coffee Production

Applegate Farms Cares

By Maggie Jacobs

Applegate Farms is a corporation with strong convictions. Not only do they stand by these convictions with their own practices with the foods they produce and the farms that they partner with, but they also actively reach out to activists fighting for a cause. One of these such projects that they supported was the film, Lunch Line.

The documentary Lunch Line takes a new look at the school lunch program by exploring its past, its current challenges, and its opportunities for the future. In the film, leaders from all sides of the school food debate weigh in on the program and discuss ways to continue nourishing America’s children. The film follows six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch and their journey where they end up at the White House. Lunch Line illustrates that, while the National School Lunch Program has become an easy target for critics, the program has a unique capacity for addressing child welfare, the public good, and the problem of hunger.

This film is pertinent because Applegate Farms was one of the supporters and contributors in making and financing the film. Applegate Farms’ serious interest in social matters and care for the health practices in this country are shown through their support of this film, proving that they are not just empty words. This company is actively seeking to better the country and the world and cares about healthier lifestyles and not just about profits.

Applegate Farms Cares

Applegate Farms and Their Many Friends

By Maggie Jacobs

Applegate Farms claims to be a company that has high values and sticks to them. This would mean nothing if they were only self proclaimed to source from organic farms and be against using antibiotics in foods, but in fact many other sources support these claims. Forbes published an article on the increasing trend of Americans wanting the government to step in and act on behalf of them against antibiotics in the nation’s meat. The article goes on to discuss the issue of the new “superbugs” that are evolving to be resistant to the antibiotics, creating bacteria that will be harder to kill. Applegate Farms is cited in this article as one of the few producers of antibiotic-free meats and cheeses who initiated a poll as part of Citizens Against Superbugs, which is a public awareness campaign condemning the non-therapeutic use in animals of antimicrobial drugs meant to treat humans. This information attests to the character and integrity of Applegate Farms. As well as, gives witness to the social efforts the company is taking against harmful farming practices.

This article was written by a freelance writer who reported on the “Sustainability Marketing: The Power of True Stories” conference that took place on November 20, 2014. The author wrote that as questions began to arise that no one seemed to have the answers to, the CEO of Applegate Farms chimed in. Stephen McDonnell offered a soaring note of optimism: “I firmly believe that this is the greatest country in the world for innovation, but we’re lacking a consciousness. As we add consciousness to our innovation, then we’ll get somewhere very different from where we are today.” The author commented on how McDonnell shined a light on the need for conscious innovation, and how he even credited the companies present in the room for planting the seeds of this transformation. This article calls attention to the amazing character of the CEO of Applegate Farms.

This article focuses on lunch meats besides turkey that are quick and easy to use in a sandwich and that are nutritious. The author notes that meat makers are finally delivering less-processed, low-fat, lower-sodium meats. Applegate Farms is noted for having Antibiotic-Free Roast Beef and Niman Ranch Nitrite-Free Applewood-Smoked Ham. The article describes Applegate farms as a 100% antibiotic-free company, and a leader in the food industry. This article reasserts the claims that Applegate farms makes on its website while reassuring consumers of the quality of the product.

Mark Peters wrote this article with the concern that the Farm Belt is not going organic fast enough to keep up with surging consumer demand. He suggests that this is forcing makers of organic foods from milk to deli meats to look abroad for key commodities while struggling to recruit skeptical farmers at home. In this article, Peters quotes, Christopher Ely, co-founder of Applegate Farms saying that the industry needs to be careful as it grows not to be too narrow in its approach and risk becoming elitist. Ely suspects some of his suppliers may import animal feed, but trusts the system in place to ensure it meets organic standards. “Some are squeezing organic so hard because of their love for it that they may suffocate it,” Mr. Ely said. “We need to continue to allow organic to be something that’s reachable for everybody.” This article shows Applegate Farms’ view of organic farming and belief that it should be attainable for everyone. This knowledge gives insight into the company and reassures that they stick to their values.

Applegate Farms and Their Many Friends

The Hopeful Cynic

By Maggie Jacobs

The word “cynic” has such a negative connotation. People in society who are “cynical” tend to be viewed as negative and not-trusting, but are actively searching for ways to negatively view the world. However, it need not be the case. Why can’t someone be hopeful that a company is great, but still cynical enough to not blindly accept everything these major corporations are saying. This is the experiment we conducted.

Applegate Farms is one of the meat providers for Point Loma Nazarene University. On their website they include pertinent information such as what products they sell, where they source their meat from. Applegate Farms buy their chicken for the Natural Chicken Nuggets served in the school caf from three different states, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Now, while this is not exactly a local source for those of us living in sunny San Diego, so far this seems pretty great. Applegate Farms even claims to have great personal relationships with these organic farmers, and have created and posted videos online that put a face to the farmers raising the chickens.

Acting as a “hopeful cynic,” we could not just accept their claims. So, we went digging. We looked into journal articles for studies that had been done on Applegate Farms, and any scandals that may have come up in the news, to the point where it felt like we were searching in vain to try to find dirt on this company. Until, we found one article titiled, “Deceptions in the Food Industry: Applegate Organic & ‘Natural Meats.’”

Raine Saunders, the author of this article, warns consumers to be cautious when purchasing meat products and to be skeptical of the claims of natural farmers and to not let mainstream food producers fool them with slick marketing and label claims. Saunders used Applegate Farms as a key culprit because they claim to be a more natural choice, but when the ingredients are looked at closer, it becomes plain that their food is just as processed and unnatural as many other products on the market. This is the one article found that gives a negative view of Applegate Farms and places serious allegations against the company and their reputation.




Economic Commercialization and Consumption of Applegate Farms Products

By Rebekah Kurisu

#9 Economic Consumption of Applegate Farms Chicken Nugget Naturals


In 2011, the CEO of Applegate Farms, Stephen McDonnell stated in an interview, “Most of our business is in places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and individual niche markets, not really at Krogers or Safeway. I think that’s ultimately where we will expand. There and in food service—healthy school lunches, hospitals, etc” (Connor, 2011). Today in 2014, this expansion seems to become a reality, as Point Loma Nazarene University consumes Applegate’s organic meat products purchased by Sodexo. The demand for organic, sustainable, and gluten-free products is increasing, causing Applegate’s revenues to grow to almost $200 million in 2012 (Fenn, 2012). Applegate’s advertisements focus on these organic qualities that set its products apart from other companies in the meat industry. It promotes a community of people who “don’t eat bad meat” and tries to unite friends and families to support better health of one another by eating organic meat. This consumer demand is stimulated by concerns about mad-cow disease, E. coli, and antibiotics. Applegate supports many organizations that are working to create awareness about the potential harm to meat eaters from consuming animals treated with antibiotics. Applegate has strict standards in place to prevent health problems for the consumers of their products.

The health of Applegate’s customers is a high priority, but a customer testimony reveals some interesting evidence that may disprove how healthy or natural these nuggets are. Melanie Warner, the author of the book, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, writes about a surprising experiment with Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets.

I discovered that the Applegate nuggets, which I’d placed in a Ziploc bag left slightly open, no longer looked like chicken. Half of the contents of the bag had essentially liquefied, with the outlines of the individual chicken pieces no longer visible… a few days later… the nuggets had completed their dissolution, and now all I had was a runny, brown mess.

Communication with Chris Ely, one of the founder’s of Applegate, claimed that the lack of additives and nitrates is what did not bind the meat together. He was as surprised as Warner about this experiment. In an article about the meat industry, Chris Ely has stated, “the entire meat business is built on trust” (Lev, 2009). The level of transparency Applegate Farms has proven to have about its products, show that consumers are not being fooled by the high prices in hopes of high quality, but the company is actually striving for this quality. Sometimes expectations are not completely met, but Applegate continues to try to best serve its customers and community. Applegate has invested and commercially benefited from the documentary, Lunch Line, about the National School Lunch Program. Applegate’s support of changing the way children eat in schools is no doubt genuine, but its marketability as healthy products definitely has economic gains. Hopefully the economic cost to consumers of buying these higher priced products benefits them through their improved health and social and environmental consciousness. Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets may dissolve in a Ziploc bag left open for a couple weeks, but does seem to have health benefits if eaten in a timely matter and Sodexo should try to provide other products with similar health benefits to consumers.


Applegate. (2014). Changing the Meat We Eat: Eaters.Retrieved from

Applegate. (2014). The Applegate Standard. Retrieved from

Applegate. (2014). Weinervention: Friends don’t let friends eat bad meat. Retrieved from

Connor L. L. (2011, February 1). Zen Management Makes Millions. NY Report. Retrieved from

Fenn, D. (2012). Stephen McDonnell. Inc, 34(9), 86-88.

Lev, Katy Rank. (2009). Meet and Greet. Mother Nature Network.

Peronne M. (2012). Does giving antibiotics to animals hurt humans? USA Today.

Uji Films LLC (2014). Lunch Line. Retrieved from

Warner, Melanie. (2013). Melanie Warner. Retrieved from

Warner, Melanie (2013). Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. New York, NY: Scribner.



Economic Commercialization and Consumption of Applegate Farms Products

The Standards and Regulations of Applegates’ Distribution, Trade, and Transport

By Rebekah Kurisu

#8 Economic Distribution of Applegate Farms Chicken Nugget Naturals

Sodexo’s supplier code of conduct specifies minimum requirements for suppliers that include global workplace rights, no child labor, no forced labor, freedom of association, non-discrimination, wages and benefits, reasonable working hours, and health and safety guidelines. Applegate must meet these minimum requirements in order for its products to be used by Sodexo and therefore at PLNU’s cafeteria. Applegate also follows many other regulations for the processing, transport, and distribution of its meat. As of 2005, Applegate had “12 slaughterhouses, 18 processing plants, and 350 wholesale customers” (Fenn, 2005). Applegate reports to have third party auditors who inspect these slaughterhouses and processing plants. According to an official representative, “All chicken products are processed in the United States, and that includes slaughter, to product processing, to packaging, to distribution,” which follow all USDA standards.

Another Applegate employee has stated that the humane slaughter of chickens is done in regards to Dr. Temple Grandin’s standards. A Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a designer of livestock handling facilities, Dr. Grandin is a leading expert in humane livestock treatment. She has standards for the transportation of animals to the slaughterhouses and practices of slaughter. Good procedures have economic incentives for those involved, as Grandin explains that bruising caused by poor handling of the animals, can cause costs directly to the transporters. By Applegate following these quality standards, they are reducing the risks of financial losses to the transporters. Handling the animals humanely also reduces the risk of injuries to the employees, which decreases loss of work time and pay from medical leaves. Animals that are treated well have a higher quality, which can result in higher sales prices that will affect all of the people involved in the supply chain. These quality standards and requirements can be very beneficial in maintaining financial stability of the people involved in trade, transport, and distribution.

Clarkson, Gerry (2013). Could you tell me what types of slaughter process the animals go through? Answer posted to

Fenn, D. (2005). The remote control CEO. Inc, 27(10), 96-146.

Grandin, Dr. Temple. (n.d.). Dr. Temple Grandin’s Web Page. Retrieved from

Sodexo. (2011). Group Supplier Code of Conduct. Retrieved from

Sharlin, Krista. (2014). Are there any differences in animal treatment across suppliers and how does Applegate ensure farms are following standards? Answer posted to

The Standards and Regulations of Applegates’ Distribution, Trade, and Transport

Does Sodexo Serve Products Produced with Economic Responsibility?

By Rebekah Kurisu

#7 Economic Production of Applegate Farms Chicken Nugget Naturals

Point Loma Nazarene University’s dining services have been improving, as Sodexo has been responding to student’s pleas for change. One big addition is the gluten-free section, which includes Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets. Applegate Farms is a company that is committed to “change the meat we eat” with a mission to raise healthier animals, include better ingredients for consumers, and have environmentally sustainable practices. In regards to fair trade, Applegate is working towards a goal to end the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and maintains an updated report on these goals on theirwebsite. According to Fair Trade USA standards, fair trade includes fair prices and credit, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development, and environmental sustainability. The production of Applegate Farms’ products attempt to fulfill environmental standards with the ambition of healthier animals for healthier customer consumption, but where does the farmer fit into this mission?

According to an article about Applegate’s CEO, Stephen McDonnell, Applegate raises their animals on over “300 family farms, from Uruguay to northern Quebec” (Fenn, 2005). Applegate’s website includes access to input a “barn code” located on the package of the product, allowing customers to see where their food has been produced. It provides a map and location point of the farm and stories shared by a few farmers. Applegate mentionsfarmers as part of their mission, by trying to “address the barriers new farmers face… access to land, credit, and farming knowledge.” The details about farmer’s lives are not quite as intensely expressed as theanimals on the farm, but a deeper look into Stephen McDonnell spreads light onto the possible economic impacts Applegate has had on these small farmers

Stephen McDonnell’s daughter went on a trip to Ecuador in 2005 and encountered a community of subsistence farmers struggling to sell cacao beans. Stephen and his wife, Jill were inspired to help these farmers, as explained in Meg Hirshberg’s article, “The Romance of Good Deeds:”

Most ofthe profits had gone to middlemen until an American researcher helped the farmers form a cooperative to buy the beans and fund the creation of a value-added product: chocolate bars. But the cooperative needed more markets. Jill’s interest was piqued, and she and Steve flew down to Ecuador to meet with the farmers… So he created a for-profit entity in the United States to sell the chocolate, under the brand name Kallari and loaned it money… The farmers now receive a much higher price for their beans, and the profits—when there are profits—will flow back to the cooperative to pay for health and education projects.

McDonnell’s assistance to these farmers cause assumption that he must have the same, or even more compassion and desire for financial success for his own Applegate farmers. In an interview, McDonnell says “companies have an obligation not just to make a profit, but to make an honest contribution to society… and lots of pennies from every purchase are going to support a family farm” (Connor, 2011). The production of Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets seems to exhibit environmental sustainability and fair prices and rights for farmers. Sodexo has chosen to use this socially responsible product and will hopefully continue to serve PLNU students more responsibly produced food.


Applegate. (2014). What is Applegate’s Position on GMOS. Retrieved from

Connor L. L. (2011, February 1). Zen Management Makes Millions. NY Report. Retrieved from

Fair Trade USA. (2010). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from

Fenn, D. (2005). The remote control CEO. Inc, 27(10), 96-146.

Hirshberg, M. (2010). The Romance of Good Deeds. Inc, 32(10), 47-48.

Sodexo. (n.d.) PLNU Dining. Retrieved from

Does Sodexo Serve Products Produced with Economic Responsibility?