Sustainable Pulse interview with Justin Mares, Founder at Kettle & Fire, on the only Glyphosate Residue Free certified bone broth brand on the market.
Where did the idea for Kettle & Fire come from, as bone broth sounds like an old-fashioned kind of food, does it not?
Great question! I started Kettle & Fire with my brother in 2015. At the time I was doing a lot of CrossFit and had been Paleo for 5+ years. While doing CrossFit, a lot of people at my gym were talking about bone broth and how they were using it to improve their gut health and help with faster recoveries. I was traveling every 1-2 weeks at the time, and due to all my travel was having a hard time making bone broth at home… yet couldn’t find a brand in stores (or online) that was made with organic ingredients or using grass-fed bones.
Around the same time, my brother Nick tore his ACL and MCL playing soccer, and was looking for foods that could help him recover faster post-surgery. When I recommend he look into bone broth for recovery, he also couldn’t find a high-quality source near where we grew up in Philadelphia. So, we decided to start Kettle & Fire – the first bone broth made with 100% grass-fed, grass-finished bones and organic ingredients. Our mission now is to bring the benefits of bone broth back into the American diet, and make the old fashioned cool again.
Does bone broth have any specific health benefits that we should all be aware of?
Absolutely. Bones contain an abundance of minerals as well as 17 different amino acids, many of which are found in bone broth as proteins (like collagen and gelatin). Though the exact nutritional content varies based on the bones used, cooking time, and cooking method, most bone broth (including Kettle & Fire’s) is loaded with collagen, gelatin, glycine and other amino acids.
Collagen makes up about 30% of the protein in your body, and is the main component in your cartilage, joints, tendons and skin. Collagen and gelatin have been shown to improve gut, joint and skin health, as have the other amino acids present in bone broth.
I can go way deeper, but Chris Kresser does a fantastic job outlining all the various benefits of bone broth in this article.
Kettle & Fire is leading the bone broth sector on the idea of sourcing grass-fed and organic ingredients – can you tell us why this is important to you personally and also to your customers?
We find grass-fed and organic ingredients are important for a few reasons. First, they’re better for human health: grass-fed animals contain better Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratios than conventionally raised beef. Raising animals on pasture is also better for the animals, and better for the environment: when cattle eat grass the way they are supposed to, they are healthier, happier and more nutritious.
Secondly, we believe that organic and grass-fed is critical to create the most nutrient-dense product possible. Unfortunately, our current agriculture system is highly extractive and uses toxic pesticides (like glyphosate) and chemicals to maximize output while harming the health of the soil, animals and planet in its system. Though it has flaws, we believe that organic practices result in FAR improved human, animal and environmental health, which is why we support and purchase from organic and grass-fed farms and ranches.
What are your best-selling products and why do you think your customers particularly choose them the most?
Our best selling products are our beef and chicken bone broth. I believe consumers choose these products because they are delicious, but also because we use incredibly high sourcing standards for these products. For our beef bone broth, we use only bones from 100% grass-fed, grass-finished cattle. And our chickens are 100% organically raised and with access to pasture.
What kind of testing do you do on your products to make sure they are safe and healthy for your customers?
We do all kinds of testing around amino acid concentration, heavy metals and the like. We also recently went through the process of ensuring our products are all certified glyphosate residue free, to give our consumers extra peace of mind that every ingredient we source and put in our bone broths and soups is sourced with the highest integrity and is free of toxic glyphosate residue.
Our partner The Detox Project certifies your products as Glyphosate Residue Free certified – why is glyphosate (the active ingredient in weedkillers such as Roundup) an important issue?
Glyphosate is an incredibly important issue: 250 m pounds of glyphosate is used in the USA, every year. That’s hundreds of millions of pounds of harmful chemicals applied to crops in the USA. A chemical that has been shown to impact fertility, disrupt hormones, and increase susceptibility to cancer.. on top of damaging the lining and populations of your gut bacteria. Kettle & Fire wrote more about the dangers of glyphosate in a recent blog post .
Do you believe the bone broth market will continue to grow and if so, what will set the top players apart from the rest?
I am very hopeful that bone broth continues to grow. All signs point towards bone broth continuing to grow as more and more people wake up to the idea that they need these key proteins and amino acids in their diet in order to improve their health. I believe the bone broth category – and really all categories that promote eating real food sourced with integrity – will continue to grow over the decades as American’s begin to understand the link between the food they eat and their health.
As the market continues to grow, I believe the top players will separate themselves from the rest by virtue of their ingredient sourcing practices. As well as taste, of course 🙂