TastyMakes, based in San Francisco, CA, combines the purest superfood ingredients mother nature has to offer to make portable, energy packed snacks with all the nutrients you need for a busy day—without compromising on flavor.
Tastymakes got their start in a not-so-typical way; Melissa, the co-founder of Tastymakes, was involved in a serious bicycle accident that left her with several broken bones, a fractured skull, and severed olfactory nerves, which caused severe brain damage and the loss of her sense of smell. As a result, she also had stuttered speech, depression, and a complete loss of self.
Melissa and her husband (and business partner) Ignazio did not want to fill Melissa’s body with drugs, and instead decided to renew her body, mind, and spirit with a plant-based diet and meditation. This completely changed not only Melissa’s health, as she now is fully recovered, but also made Igazio happier, more energetic, and rested.
As a result, this dynamic duo wanted to share their happiness, energy, and wholesome goodness with everyone! Additionally they wanted to spread the word about what processed and artificial foods do to our mental and physical health, well-being and quality of life.
Tastymakes snacks are raw, organic, gluten free and made with no added sugars or oils. Their most common ingredients include dates, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted pumpkin seeds, sprouted buckwheat and flax seed meal with at least 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 1 gram of Omega-3, and 0 grams of nonsense!
Tastymakes has a snack for all your cravings:
- Superberry Barbites: These BarBites are made with the best raw, organic, gluten-free ingredients around, with no added sugars or oils. They are sweet and tangy with golden berries & goji berries.
- Lemon Barbites: With just 8 ingredients these tasty bites with a citrusy kick are perfectly simple yet substantial to keep you energized!
- Chocolate Brownie Barbites: Craving Chocolate? So are we when we look at these tasty, and more importantly chocolatey, snacks! Made with healthy cocoa nibs and cocoa powder.
- Choco-coco Granola Bites: You won’t have to feel guilty about eating chocolate any longer with these chocolatey snacks that are made extra yummy with the addition of coconut!
- Sample Tastykits: This kit has all of your favorites!
- GranolaBites: Cinnamon Raisin, Vanilla Nut, Choco-coco
- Barbites: Lemon, Superberry, Brownie
- Crackers: Raisin Onion, Sea Salt Vinegar, Garden Herb
How to make your morning awesome:
Pomegranate Parfait by Melissa
- 2 medium to large sized pomegranates
- 1 cup soaked cashews
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- ¼ cup almond milk
- Choco-coco Granola Bites
How it’s made:
- Clean the pomegranates by slicing them in half and then place the two haves in a salad spinner (or large bowl) and fill with water. While keeping the pomegranates submerged in water, begin to break the pomegranate open with your hands and allow the seeds to fall to to the bottom of the bowl and the outer rind and the white membrane will float to the top. Discard the rind and the membrane, drain the water and set the seeds aside.
- Drain the water from the soaking cashews and add all cashew cream ingredients into a blender and blend until nice and creamy.
- Assemble the parfait by placing a generous amount of pomegranate seeds in a small cup or ramekin, then add a dollop of cashew cream and top it with broken up granola bites!
- Feel free to get fancy and layer the seeds, cream, and granola bites as you wish.
Itching to know more about TastyMakes? Check out this Q&A with the founders!
Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business?
TastyMakes was founded by the two of us (Melissa & Ignazio Lacitignola) in 2013.
What inspired you to start your business?
TastyMakes all started when Melissa was making raw snacks for herself in order to find healing after her bicycle accident, and things just grew from there. Because these snacks, along with other diet and lifestyle changes, made such a difference for us in our lives, we both decided that we wanted to start something that could positively impact the lives of others.
Where do you currently make your product and how did you find the process of finding a kitchen to be like?
We currently make our products out of a small kitchen in San Francisco. I must say that finding a kitchen wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be…but we did it :)
Did you have a background in the food/drink industry when you started?
Oddly enough, we both have ZERO background in the food industry…so as to why we decided this would be a good route is beyond us. [Melissa’s] background is in graphic design and social media marketing, and [Ignazio’s] background is in web design. We still do primarily web design—see http://bedesignful.com—but we would love to see TastyMakes grow to be something much bigger than it is today.
A business idea that was left on the editing room floor?
One business idea that we originally started out with was to make customizable raw snacks. But the time it takes to make one very small batch of something just didn’t pan out to be worth it in the end.
What are some examples of rookie mistakes you’ve made?
One HUGE rookie mistake we made was finding and working with a co-packer before we even had contact with buyers, markets, and/or distributors.
What’s your biggest business challenge to date?
Our biggest business challenge to date is making our products quickly and more cost effective. High quality raw snacks aren’t exactly fast or cheap, but I guess that’s also the beauty behind them!
How do you stay motivated in the face of competition?
I must say that it’s hard to stay motivated in the face of competition. I almost feel like giving up every time I try a raw snack that I feel may be slightly superior to ours, has more exotic ingredients, etc. But I just keep on creating and improving, and I know that in one way or another there is a place for little ol’ us out there in the world!
What’s the strangest feedback you’ve gotten from a customer?
I love customer requests because I feel like they help me understand what our customer’s really want. But I have had quite a few people ask to add more protein and or make our granola with quinoa instead of buckwheat, and though I do my best to make our customers happy, there’s only so much customizing I can do before it becomes a bit too much.
What’s your main business goal for 2015?
Our main business goal for 2015 is to get into 15 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it would be a win for us.
Where do you see the business in 10 years?
In 10 years we see the business in most Whole Foods and other grocery stores on the West Coast, and hopefully doing quite well.
What’s your team or company mantra?
Our mantra really is to keep it simple and keep it healthy. We stress the healthy part because there’s a lot we can do to make the product more cost effective and possibly even more desirable to a larger audience; however, most of those options also involve cutting on the health integrity of the product, and that’s something we just don’t want to do.
Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea?
My advice for someone with a great artisan food idea is to just do it. You’ll regret never trying. But definitely play smart and don’t come out with a million SKUs as a time…another rookie mistake that we’re still correcting ;)
TRY TASTYMAKES NOW!
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