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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Black Chef Turned Entrepreneur Now Has His Food Products in 187 Stores Nationwide

LaForce Baker, founder of Moon Meals

LaForce Baker, an African-American chef, once had a dilemma of finding healthy snacks for working professionals. He used it as an inspiration to create Moon Meals, a tasty plant-based meal ready to grab in local grocery stores. What started as a small delivery service is now available in 187 grocery stores in the Midwest.
In 2012, LaForce Baker launched Moon Meals to offer "healthy meals under the moon." A former strategist for large companies such as KraftHeinz, ConAgra, and Nestle, he was rather equipped with the initial knowledge and skills in opening up his own food business.

But then, it wasn't that easy. Moon Meals was founded with Baker's own bootstrapped funding and he had to compete against venture-backed competitors. Baker had to almost go homeless three times just to cover day to day expenses as the company increases.

At first, it was just a small delivery service until it made its retail debut at Bridgeport Coffee in Chicago, then on 12 other coffee shops in the area.

By 2015, Moon Meals grab-and-go products became available in select Jewel-Osco's, Mariano's, and Whole Foods Market. Baker continued to partner with retailers and distributors to make his products more accessible to everyone in a healthy, affordable, and convenient way.

Now, his product Fiesta Wrap, a complete meal made of vegan taco meat, vegan nacho cheese sauce, organic black beans, short grain rice, sweet corn kernels, and jalapeno peppers wrapped in a spinach wrap, is available in 187 Jewel-Osco supermarkets, mostly in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

During the course of launching the business and making it grow, certainly, Baker has learned a lot of things from the challenges he encountered.

"I have learned to go with what performs instead of what just feels good," Baker told Black Enterprise. "I learned that no one else will believe in you until you believe in yourself."

For more details about Moon Meals, visit www.moonmeals.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moonmeals