Creators of the first-ever "Interfaith Meat" products that are both Halal & Kosher.
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
Abe's Meats is an award-winning social impact organization that has produced the first-ever Interfaith Meat products that are both Halal and Kosher. We partner with local ranchers who offer pasture-raised animals that live cage-free and consume natural diets with no hormones or antibiotics.
Beyond the social value of helping Jews and Muslims celebrate their commonalities by combining thousands of years of dietary religious law, we are transforming meat production by creating a more equitable model for small-scale American ranchers, offering higher-quality food products in an accessible manner, and producing the most ecological meat product possible. We are reducing food waste by >30 percent, reversing our climate impact on soil erosion, and studying how silvopasture can better pastural livestock management.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
When we began to market our first-to-market meat products to potential buyers, it was natural for them to suggest that we exclusively target the Jewish and Muslim Americans in LA and NYC. While these areas are home to our largest markets, it is because ~85% of these faith-based foods are being consumed by people who do not associate themselves with Islam or Judaism, but who prefer Kosher and Halal products. Why? More carnivores are losing trust in industrialized meat production, yet meat consumption is growing. As a result, Kosher and Halal meats have gained more popularity because they are marketed as being "cleaner" and more "ethical" than industrialized meat production. After conducting >200 customers surveys last year (which will include a follow-up later this year), we believe our marketing approach will be essential in promoting our products to a) 9 million Jewish and Muslim consumers and b) the larger, general American consumer base.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
Despite similarities in faith-based dietary restrictions between Muslims and Jews (ex: same constraints for pork and shellfish), no venture has produced meat products approved for both communities. The root of this problem is political and financial in nature. As a result, most Halal and Kosher meat products are very expensive (for all parties involved across the supply chain), damaging to the environment, low-quality/unhealthy, and inaccessible for the growing Muslim and Jewish consumers in the US.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
Abe's Meats has created the first-ever "Interfaith Meat" products that are both Halal & Kosher. www.abesmeats.com
Organization Filing Status
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
During the 2016 Presidential election cycle, I saw a nation confronted with rising levels of antisemitism and Islamophobia. This inspired me to host a dinner I called Shabbat Salaam, with friends of Jewish and Muslim faiths to share a meal and discuss the faith-based issues affecting our communities. However, planning a meal for Kosher AND Halal diets proved to be an expensive and logistical nightmare. From here I realized the social and economic benefit a company like Abe's Meats could provide.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
Planet - Unlike industrialized meat production, Abe's produces sustainable meats from cage-free animals that graze on rain-fed pastures that play a pivotal role in reversing our climate impact on soil erosion, sequestering carbon, and reducing other GHG emissions. Sustainable meat production is, in fact, essential for our environmental health.
Prosperity - Abe's is sourced by small-scale, family-owned ranches that reject industrialized meat production, our supply chain helps American food businesses offer meals to more customers with the same amount of inventory. This saves everyone a lot of time and moolah. To be accountable to our supporters, we are building a fully transparent supply chain from farm to fork.
Peace - At its core Abe's is about fostering inclusivity by merging ancient dietary religious laws to bring our Muslim and Jewish communities together. Food is integral to the identities of these communities, and what better way to do that than breaking bread, literally!
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
Abe’s Meats has been supported by more than a dozen social impact organizations, including University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Founder’s Institute, and TED.
OneTable, a nonprofit organization that focuses on hosting Shabbat dinners, directly partners with us to bring to life our “Shabbat Salaam” interfaith dinner celebrations across the country. At these dinners, Abe’s Interfaith Meat products are served. The food is used as a stepping stone to help our attendees participate in our interfaith programming, which includes facilitating conversations around the complexities of our human identities. With OneTable, we co-sponsor the event, volunteer alongside each other, and build out new curriculums to keep our attendees engaged with each new Shabbat Salaam.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
In terms of market outlook, Kosher and Halal food markets in the US alone exceed 20 billion dollars and are trending upwards. The halal market itself has grown ⅓ since 2010 in part due to the increasing Muslim population in the US but also due to the increased adoption of faith-based foods into the diets of non-religious consumers. In fact, 85% of consumers of the Halal and Kosher market are general Americans who have no affiliation with either religion.
Abe's Meats plans to initially target the greater NYC/Los Angeles areas with hopes to go nationwide.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
We hope to be a sustainable operation for our initial markets within a year(12 months) with further impact and scalability following.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)