Vegetables are gaining in popularity in the health-conscious market as consumers try to fit in their daily intake of nutrients in their diets. According to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in ten adults consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day. Viewing this demographic as an untapped opportunity, start-up snack manufacturer Farm & Oven has released its first product range – vegetable-based cookies that are probiotic-dense and contain 40 percent of the recommended daily vegetable intake per serving.
Farm & Oven founders Kay Allison and Michael Senackerib are food industry veterans with a combined 50 years of experience. Their new product range is aimed at targeting the health-focused consumers that are currently dominating the food industry. Farm & Oven cookie varieties include Beet Dark Chocolate, Carrot Cinnamon, Pumpkin Maple Pecan and Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed.
The products are currently available online through the company’s website farmandoven.com and will be available on Amazon in the next few weeks.
“I’m a market researcher by background, and I found that 72 percent of US adults say the No. 1 food or ingredient they intend to eat more of is vegetables,” Allison told Food Business News. “I looked at all the protein bars and nutrition bars and thought, there’s a real gap in the marketplace here, and if we made something that’s a really delicious bite of a familiar bakery treat in which vegetables already exist, then isn’t that a natural way to take care of the deficiency?”
Allison goes on to talk about her autistic daughter who inspired the creation of Bakery Bites. Allison’s daughter did not like vegetables and barely consumed them, even when Allison would try to sneak them into her diet. She finally found a loop-hole in her daughter’s preference with pumpkin bread – with extra pumpkin. This inspired the former CEO of The Energy Infuser – a consumer insights-based consulting firm – to create this snack innovation that incorporated vegetables in places where people are least likely to look for them.
Senackerib has held various leadership positions in the food industry, including at companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods and the Campbell Soup Co., where he was the Senior VP, Global Brands and Chief Strategy Officer. Senackerib was also a previous client of Allison.
“We had reconnected over a business opportunity that I presented to Campbell’s in January 2016,” Allison recalled. “He left there in August 2016 and contacted me and said, ‘I’m thinking about getting into a smaller company in the natural products space.’”
Allison then pitched this business opportunity to Senackerib and sent him some samples of the product. After trying the cookie samples, he was in. Both founders are confident that their snack products will be successful in the food industry.
“If you look at consumer trend data, snacking is becoming much more of an everyday, day-long phenomenon,” Allison said. “Consumers snack almost as much in the morning as they do in the afternoon, and we think that’s an untapped opportunity, hence our initial offering are things you’d eat along with a cup of coffee as a snack at 10:15 a.m. A lemon poppy seed muffin is normal breakfast/morning behavior. Mike and I are big fans of snacks as a growing category. We know that the presence of vegetables in a snack is a really meaningful benefit to most consumers.”
The products are made with coconut syrup from Wildly Organic, Grains from Bob’s Red Mill and vegetables from Van Drunen Farms in Illinois. The air-dried vegetables take place of traditional ingredients like flour. Each serving contains one billion probiotics and 35 grams of fiber.
“We know gut health is a really important trend overall in the food industry and the supplement industry,” Allison said.
The products are currently only available online but Allison believes this to be the best business strategy. The co-founder stresses that more consumers are heading online for their food purchasing needs and the online space is a great opportunity for them to interact directly with customers. Although, the company does have goals to expand.