Food & Drink

Chris Paul Continues His Fight Against Food Injustices With His New Investment In Koia, A 100 Percent Plant-Based Protein Shake

Structural racism has literally been built around Black and Brown communities throughout history. It even happens in the American food system. 

While the racial food disparity crisis is a layered one, some leaders from those same communities are doing their part to end it. NBA star Chris Paul is one of them. Paul has teamed up with Koia – a plant-based protein shake company co-founded by Four Loko and Not Your Father’s Root Beer co-founder Chris Hunter. The two have come together on a mission to provide underserved communities with more nutritious options for food. 

Paul, who transitioned to a plant-plant based lifestyle in 2019, says his passion for pushing a plant-based lifestyle into Black and Brown communities stems from his personal experience growing up eating unhealthy foods.

“For me, it was such a drastic change because I’m from the south. I’m from North Carolina. So, I grew up eating after church on Sunday. I’m at my Granny’s house; we got the full spread of soul food laid out. A lot of times, eating that way is a part of your culture and history, and your way of life,” Paul tells For(bes) the Culture.

Paul went on to say learning about eating healthier comes with access to information. 

“I think the first step is education. And me, I’m 36 now, I didn’t do this until I was 33-34, and I just didn’t know. You know it’s something that’s not necessarily taught to you. And a lot of times, in areas of color, urban areas, or whatnot, there’re no healthy options. You know then you only have… there’s no Whole Foods,” Paul continued. “So, having a way to get this in places where people of color live, I think is a huge objective for us too.”

Paul’s mission to implement healthier food options into Black and Brown communities came as a pitch to Hunter to make Koia available on HBCU campuses. 

“The collaboration, first and foremost, what excited us is it was just very organic. As [Paul] mentioned before, he was already drinking the product,” Hunter explained to For(bes) the Culture. “As a company, our mission is to deliver convenient, nutritious, delicious plant-based options to everyone. And that aligned so well with the message that [Paul] was putting out from his personal experiences and the platform that he had that it was really, it was just exciting.”

Paul and Hunter are moving to install Koia vending machines on HBCU campuses, starting with Winston-Salem State University – where Paul is currently enrolled as a student. The rest of their “pilot program” for Koia is set to expand to a total of 10 HBCUs. 

Koia comes as Paul’s latest investment into the plant-based Industry, along with Beyond Meat and GoPuff.

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