Source: Greenwich Time
Author: Megan Dalton
Link: Snack food aims for healthy twist
Balancing your health with a sweet tooth isn’t always easy. But Marty Sands thinks he has found a way: by starting his own all-natural snack food.
Sands and his wife, Kim, launched their company, Paleo Passion Foods, two years ago in an effort to create more healthy and delicious food options for consumers. The Greenwich residents started with Paleo Passion Pops, a line of unprocessed popsicles with zero additives such as GMOs, artificial flavors and added sugar. The company has now grown to include Krave the Krunch, a trio of all-natural grainless granola.
Granola has become one of the fastest-growing products in the country, and the pair decided to capitalize on the trend with a healthful twist. Unlike other granola products, their product consists of only ingredients like nuts, seeds, fruit, cinnamon, coconut, honey and maple syrup. Many types of granola in the marketplace, according to Marty Sands, include processed ingredients like oats and grains.
“The new trend is a grainless granola — taking out the processed foods and truly getting down to what real food is,” he said.
People eat granola because they think it’s healthy, Sands added, but consumers don’t always understand what they’re consuming. He compared the average granola bar to a Milky Way, attributing its “candy-like” nature to its processed ingredients and added sugar. With Krave the Krunch, however, people know what they’re putting into their bodies, he said.
Though the product launched just three weeks ago, it’s already being sold in about 85 stores. He attributes its rapid growth to a consumer need for snacks with more wholesome, clean ingredients.
The granola, which is baked in clusters, is easier to consume than other granolas. Instead of sticking your hand into a bag of loose ingredients, consumers can just grab a piece and eat it, according to Sands. Right now, the granola comes in three flavors: choco-nuts, Caribbean coconut and maple cinnamon. His team spent 10 months developing the granola through a process that included a series of focus groups, test tasting and recipe alterations.
“We tried to get as many people to try it as possible,” Kim Sands said. “(We) even used people who don’t typically gravitate towards healthy foods, to see if they like it, as well as people in the industry, like grocery store managers.”
Like their ice pops, Marty Sands hopes the granola helps in efforts to fight the epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has become common, serious and costly, with more than one-third (or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults classified as obese. As the rate of obesity rises so does the rate of obesity-related conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. For example, the CDC currently estimates that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, or 9.3 percent of the population.
“It’s an enormous negative trend; a real problem,” he said. “Our food supply is in really poor condition.”
When they started the company, the Sandses wanted to create products that didn’t contribute to this epidemic. Their mantra back then, “evolving the way you eat,” continues to be their focus.
“There are no processed foods of any kind in any of our foods,” he said. “No refined sugars of any kind added to our foods. Our foods are non-GMO and contain nothing artificial, like dyes, chemicals or gluten.”
Since its launch in January 2014, Paleo Passion Foods has grown considerably, with their original product, the all-natural ice pops, gaining traction in more than 700 stores nationally, at health-focused chains like Whole Foods as well as more regional grocers like ShopRite.
“There’s an enormously fast trend today of people reading the label,” he added. “Our label doesn’t include ingredients you would only know from chemistry class.”