Meet our Chief Revenue Officer, Alvin Crawford
We sat down with Alvin Crawford, our Chief Revenue Officer, to learn about his story, his vision for the company, and what he believes is the future of food insecurity. Read on for insights on the learnings we made as a company throughout the pandemic and where we see our role in the food ecosystem of the future.
What do you do at Revolution Foods?
I’m the Chief Revenue Officer, which means that I am responsible for driving and sustaining our revenue from both new and existing clients. In practical terms, I oversee the teams that are responsible for growing and retaining our existing clients, finding new clients on both the adult and K12 sides of the business, and our product development team that innovate to continue to delight our customers with new products and solutions.
Why did you choose to work at Revolution Foods?
I was drawn to the mission, the investors, and the commitment of the team to make a difference. I also like the challenge of strategic growth and felt that there was great alignment with my skill set and what the company needed at the time.
In the work that I have done in education over the last 22 years, I have always been driven to equity work that provides better support for all students so that opportunity exists for every child in systems that have historically been wrought with inequities. A colleague once told me a story about his own personal journey from poverty and homelessness as a child and how a teacher recognized that he was homeless and brought him lunch every day. From his perspective, that teacher was exhibiting culturally responsive teaching. She met his basic need, which allowed him to show up and to be able to focus on the work. It struck me then, that food is a basic need and that for many of our students if those basic needs aren’t met, none of the rest of it matters.
With your new promotion, how do you see the company doing things differently?
We’re already doing things differently. We’ve grown a significant adult meal business working with cities and counties to address food insecurity for families. We’ve done tremendous work in providing more variety in meals and menus and we’ve innovated our service delivery models to include meal kits, door-to-door delivery, and even some direct-to-consumer work.
I think the biggest change for us is reclaiming the time to think and innovate. My largest strategic value is in looking at the market, our assets (people and competencies), and understanding how we can become a force multiplier in the space. Over the past year, I’ve been heads down, working with the teams to reactively transform our business growth when the pandemic shut down schools and we needed to find revenue and growth opportunities. There wasn’t much proactive, planning time that would allow us to talk to customers and then roll out cool solutions in a thoughtful way. I’ve captured some of that time back. And working with teams now, I believe that we’ll have some amazing and new approaches to delighting customers and filling large gaps in the market to provide access to healthy, culturally responsive meals to our most needy families in dignified ways.
The pandemic made it clear that healthy people are least impacted by major viruses like Coronavirus. And sadly, due to lack of access to healthy foods and healthy eating habits, there is a strong correlation between poverty and health. The good news is that there is heightened awareness of the problem and lots of money allocated towards improving the ecosystem. It’s up to companies like ours to help solve these longer-term issues.
What are your thoughts on the future of food insecurity and where does Revolution Foods fit into that?
I’m hopeful that we come out of the pandemic with a truer understanding of the importance of addressing food insecurity. The reality was that pre-pandemic, there was a large food insecurity problem. We really weren’t addressing it in a meaningful way, as a country. The time is now, though. The cost of an unhealthy and food insecure population is huge. The shorter-term impacts are on the ability of adults and children to focus and be productive, the longer-term implications are on the ongoing medical expenses of chronic disease and populations that enter or remain in poverty. Food is one piece of the puzzle, but our current infrastructure provides healthy food at a high cost and is most accessible in affluent areas.
Revolution Foods can be part of the solution to provide healthy food to our neediest families in locations that have historically been food deserts at reasonable prices. The long terms benefits of this approach will be transformative for families and for the country. I think we can play a big role because we’ve been focused on building out a clean label supply chain for 15 years and building solutions at affordable price points. I also think that our emphasis on dignified and culturally responsive meals is a game-changer. Often, emergency and institutional food is bland, and not reflective of the cultural norms of its recipients. The reality is that it’s very possible to provide meals that are relatable, healthy, and affordable. I think the future is bright.
For more information on our community feeding programs, visit www.revolutionfoods.com/citywide