Clean label Here Foods sauces
Here emphasizes the locality of its ingredients.

Here and now

“The clean label moniker is emerging as a new standard for natural food products found in grocery stores,” said Megan Klein, president of Here, Carol Stream, Ill., a manufacturer of locally sourced juices, dips and salad dressings. “It is a consumer-driven movement, demanding a return to ‘real food’ and transparency through authenticity. These are foods containing natural, familiar, simple ingredients that are easy to recognize, understand and pronounce, with no artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals.”

All of Here’s products are produced in small batches 25 miles outside of Chicago, its major market. The products contain produce grown by local farmers. It is the sourcing of local ingredients that contributes to Here’s clean label positioning.

“We make it here and distribute it only in the Midwest,” Ms. Klein said. “Every Here product tells an honest story about its relationship to the farmers who grew the ingredients, the team members who made it and the partners who made it possible.”

Clean label Here Foods dressing
All of Here’s products are produced in small batches 25 miles outside of Chicago.

Juice labels state “cold pressed in the Midwest with local produce.” You won’t find organic or non-G.M.O. claims on Here’s products. The attributes are important to the company, but it’s the local qualities that are most important.

“In order for food to scale, we need to create demand for more product, and that demand has to be there 365 days a year,” said Nate Laurell, c.e.o. of Here. “By using Midwestern fruits and vegetables from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in a retail capacity year-round, this line of products will allow us to reach thousands more stores than by just selling seasonal produce alone. It seems so simple, and yet it’s something that has not been done. This is a footprint we plan to replicate over the next five years in markets around the country, and we hope to impact other local growing regions on a national scale. Ultimately, we want real food grown everywhere for everyone.”

It is Mr. Laurell’s belief that by using local produce to create retail products, the business model will solve a problem that has plagued the local food industry. It will create a longer shelf life, which will in turn allow Here to purchase a much larger quantity of product from Midwestern farms. It is a win/win scenario for all involved.