Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen COVID-19 disrupt the food supply chain. While demand for yeast skyrocketed and wiped out supermarket inventory, for example, beef, which is extensively consumed in restaurants, experienced a significant decline in demand. The pandemic also inspired change, from the way we purchase goods, with the shift to e-commerce accelerated by five years, to product innovations such as immune-boosting foods and beverages. Wharton Agribusiness, Food, and Beverage Club members are passionate about exploring careers in the continuously changing food system.
The club was founded in 2014 by Eva Wang G16 WG16 and Michael Pareles G16 WG16 as the Wharton Agribusiness Network, to provide resources to students interested in careers in agribusiness. Now with more than 90 members, we rebranded as WAFAB in 2021 to encompass the widening attention to the entire food system.
Our club members are interested in careers in ag, consumer packaged goods, food service/restaurants, investing, entrepreneurship, and more. Through our monthly marquee events, including the “Planting the Seed” guest speaker series and the “How I Grew This” entrepreneurship workshop series, we explore topics such as vertical farming, regenerative agriculture, plant/microorganism/cell-based proteins, food waste, product innovations, and all things in between. Last year, we featured Aimee Yang WG20, founder of Better Brand, and Steven Finn W08 GEN10 WG16, co-founder and general partner of Siddhi Capital, discussing how to scale operations intelligently and efficiently as an emerging food brand. In addition to our role as a professional club for students interested in careers from farm to fork, we provide opportunities for members to socialize through “Farmilies” (small social groups divided by interests such as investing, CPG, and entrepreneurship that meet up regularly), “Farmals” (fall and spring formals held at local restaurants), food and beverage tastings, and more.
Our mission is to support the interests of our members, whether that involves starting their own food and beverage companies, careers in brand management, or just debating what the next big alternative-proteins company will be. We’re excited for another year leading WAFAB and to be active members of the alumni network for years to come.
Published as “From Farm to Fork” in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of Wharton Magazine.