Mark Bittman’s grin has appeared next to impassioned essays in the opinion section of The New York Times, and on book jackets promoting the virtues of cooking at home. As of this morning, that grin now appears on the website of The Purple Carrot, a one-year-old company that delivers pre-portioned vegan meal kits.
The Purple Carrot is one of several startups in the meal-kit delivery industry—an industry that’s projected to bring in $3 billion to $5 billion in the next decade—and as such is well positioned to influence how many Americans eat. Bittman will advise the company on recipes, study how to make its packaging more sustainable, and blog for its website, but his most important task, business-wise, will be acting as the company’s de facto spokesperson.
And he’ll be a powerful one. Over the course of his 35 years in journalism, Bittman has built up a reputation as having all the right opinions about what needs to change about America’s food system; his track record as a writer and thinker makes him appear impervious to selling out, and suggests that if a company is ethical enough for him, it must be good. The fact that America’s most visible food persona has put his weight behind one environmentally friendly and nutrition-minded company could give more visibility to other new companies seeking to unseat legacy food producers and their sometimes damaging practices.