By Lynn O’Neill
There are plenty of snack options available on the market today. Nevertheless, many consumers are still faced with the challenge of finding healthful snacks that are easy to take on-the-go. While vending machines do offer a host of selections, they may not be the best pick if you’re looking to avoid sugars or preservatives. Even snacks marketed as “good for you” could contain the same caloric content as a candy bar.
Ask anyone who’s ever followed a strict diet it takes ample food planning and preparation to be successful. However, planning for snacks can be a little more complicated because snacking is largely about spontaneity. When Founder and CEO of Sun & Swell Foods, Kate Flynn, dropped the quick-fix diet fads for a clean-eating régime, she too faced the healthy snack dilemma. “After I started eating clean, I quickly realized that finding on-the-go snacks was a challenge, as most packaged foods on the market contain chemicals, preservatives, and refined sugar,” said Kate. “So I started to make my own.”
After some careful research, Kate and her husband, Bryan, recognized a demand for snacks such as Kate’s homemade organic bites. According to a 2018 GlobalData consumer survey, 81% of Americans say that they snack outside of mealtimes. This rise in snacking paired with the growing demand for ingredient transparency in packaged foods primed the market for clean snacks, such as Kates, to enter.
With the help of Kate’s mother, chocolatier and flavor extraordinaire Kristy Schoch, they developed the first line of “Simple Snack Bites” and Sun & Swell Foods was born. Today, Sun & Swell’s portfolio has developed into a full line of snack selections available in a variety of flavors in three different product categories including the original Simple Snack Bites, Clean Cookies, and Roasted Nut & Seed Mixes.
SIMPLE. CLEAN. FRESH.
“One of our most obvious differences from other brands is that we are committed to offering the cleanest products available,” said Kate. “Our snacks are always 100% organic and never include added sugars, flavors, or preservatives. We believe that knowing what you are putting in your body shouldn’t be a mystery and that ingredients should be easy to understand.”
Sun & Swell snacks are so simple that all of their recipes use five or fewer ingredients. “When we started we were advised to use preservatives, but that didn’t fall in line with our core business values,” said Kate.
In place of preservatives, Sun & Swell snacks utilized a combination of naturally shelf-stable ingredients to ensure a shelf-life expectancy between six to nine months. “We also limit spoilage by making the product in-house,” says Kate. “We run production each week and sell through our entire stock monthly, guaranteeing that our customers have the freshest product on hand.”
PARTNERING FOR BUSINESS GROWTH
During their early years, Sun & Swell managed their distribution in-house. As their business grew, they sought out other venues to help streamline availability and delivery of their product. Luckily for Sun & Swell, a leading independent broadline foodservice distributor could be found right in their backyard.
“From one local Santa Barbara business to another – the collaboration was an obvious one, and we were thrilled to partner with Jordano’s as a distributor,” said Kate. Jordano’s has been servicing Santa Barbara and its surrounding communities for over 100 years. The majority of the areas foodservice providers use Jordano’s to fulfill their operation needs, from eggs to equipment, and now, Sun & Swell snacks.
An added vendor benefit for Sun & Swell is the access they gain with the support of the Jordano’s sales force. As a small business with limited staff, Sun & Swell can extend their reach and acquire new business with help from Jordano’s. Jordano’s partners with customers spanning across more than 35 different markets in six counties in Southern and Central California – making them experts in identifying sales opportunity.
Beyond being a producer of clean, wholesome snacks, Sun & Swell extends their holistic wellness approach to all areas of their business. “Our mission is to empower consumers to make better snacking choices for themselves and the planet,” said Kate. To hold themselves accountable, Sun & Swell is a Certified B Corporation and are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions not only for their shareholders, but also to their stakeholders of employees, customers, suppliers, local community, and the environment.
Examples of their efforts include their ongoing support to environmentally focused non-profits committed to preserving the health of the ocean and its marine life. As a member of 1% FOR THE PLANET business alliance, Sun & Swell pledge 1% of their annual sales to a network of environmental organizations worldwide.
This past year, Sun & Swell transitioned their packaging to a fully compostable line that biodegrades naturally within 180 days (just like a banana peel). Their goal is to convert their entire packaging by 2020. It is this message of social awareness and responsibility that speaks powerfully to customers who share these values. Kate and Bryan’s transparency both in their sourcing and in their business will undoubtedly continue to build a devout following of customers dedicated to their brand.