Yummari are the makers of non-GMO and gluten-free snack foods for people with driven lifestyles. Husband-and-wife team Catherine and Jason Walsh sought to create a delicious and convenient super food source. Now, as owners of Yummari, the Walsh couple has combined the natural benefits of the chia seed with naturally delicious flavors, to create the Chia Charger, the first ever raw chia health energy bite.
To fuel an active lifestyle as a person with Celiac disease, Catherine, along with her husband, Jason, began making Chia Chargers in New York, and have since expanded their exclusively gluten-free and non-GMO product line, all of which is available through Bitcoin purchasing on their website (cool!). Yummari’s Chia Moxie, a smooth chia peanut butter, is soy and dairy free with no added salt or hydrogenated oil.
Chia Moxie is available in three flavors:
- Coffee flavored with Fair Trade Coffee
- Chocolate flavored with Fair Trade Organic Coffee
Each bag of Chia Chargers contains 10 individually wrapped bites and comes in three flavors:
- Chocolate Chip
In a Boulder County Business feature in the DailyCamera, Catherine and Jason talk about how Yummari has taken big steps since the couple has moved to Boulder. “In New York, (the key industries) are finance, fashion, technology and the fourth is food…Here we knew that this was the place to grow the brand, build the connections and really grow more than we could in New York.”
Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business?
I launched Yummari with my then boyfriend, Jason, back in 2010.
What inspired you to start your business?
We had read the book “Born to Run” and were inspired by the Tarahumara Indian Runners in Mexico. We both enjoy running and Jason also does triathlons so chia seemed like a perfect food for us to eat. When I visited my grocery store, I found nothing there at that time with chia. Jason suggested that we make our own superfood snack foods that we could use while training and working out. Before we knew it, Yummari was born!
What was your AHA moment?
We had entered a contest called “The Next Big Small Brand,” which pitted NYC food entrepreneurs against San Francisco food entrepreneurs. We were ecstatic and galvanized when we won the grand prize.
Where do you currently make your product and how did you find the process of finding a kitchen to be like?
We work with two co-packers on the East Coast, but we began in a kitchen incubator, which was the perfect way to start. I was introduced to one of my co-packers by a friend, and cold-called another after doing a Google search. An alternate way of doing this research is to go to the supermarket, look at the products on the shelf in your category, and take notes. There may be an existing company that does co-packing for other companies. The only way to figure this out is to talk to them.
Did you have a background in the food/drink industry when you started?
Neither of us had any food or drink industry experience. I had been working as an underwriter in the marine insurance industry while Jason was working in the marketing department of a pharmaceutical company.
A business idea that was left on the editing room floor?
At the moment, we’re holding off on a chia-based granola line.
What are some of rookie mistakes you made when starting out?
One of the challenges was working with advisors who didn’t understand the food space, as well as working with a food broker without asking for references.
How do you stay motivated in the face of competition?
Competition inspires us to view product development differently, and therefore create the best products possible and build a company with a strong and empowering culture. For me, the real question is, how would we stay motivated without competition?
What’s the strangest customer request or feedback you’ve gotten?
There haven’t been any that I can think of!
What’s your main business goal for 2014?
Our goals include creating more gluten-free products, which is important to me as a Celiac; reaching out to the greater community; and working with the newly created B Lab office here in Colorado, since we are a Certified B Corp ourselves. We are looking forward to expanding into the Rocky Mountain region this summer, our newly adopted home!
Where do you see the business in 10 years?
We see Yummari as an international brand with a leadership role in the superfood snack food category.
What’s your team or company motto?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea?
Don’t be afraid to change things fast and often, when necessary. Be decisive. When we first started, we had 17 SKUs, which was way too much for a new company. A business just starting out has the luxury to be nimble enough to change things if they’re not working. As you expand and gain access to more accounts, it’s not as easy. There are many people out there who have experienced what you’re experiencing now. Most of them are willing to share their experiences with you. A wise thing to do is to listen to their sage advice and apply it to your own food or beverage product. Just because you hear a “no” from someone, that’s only a “no” for now. Find out how to get that person to a “yes.” Be patient and persistent.
Watch how Catherine combines just nine ingredients to create the nutritionally dense Cranberry Chia Chargers in this video by Food Curated.