Both brands were founded by Michelle Retik, who was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases a few years ago and found that switching to a diet free from grain, refined sugar and dairy turned her health around.
“One in five Americans is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease,” she told BakeryandSnacks at the Healthy and Natural Show in Chicago earlier this month. “So, when I started my business, I was targeting people with autoimmune diseases like myself who need grain-free food.”
Demand has grown rapidly, despite grain-free bakery being relatively new to the US, as shown by seven-figure sales for the products last year, said Retik.
“If you look at the rise of the gluten-free market, it not only serves people who are diagnosed with celiac disease, but a lot of people buy gluten-free products by choice,” she adds. “I think the grain-free market continues to grow through that trajectory, and expands as the gluten-free market does.”
Goodness Grainless and Squirrel & The Bee products are available in Whole Foods and other smaller national natural food store chains in 49 states across the US.
Sold out in four days
“Our initial launch in Whole Foods two months ago was sold out within four days,” said Retik. “We are hoping to grow the business between $5m to $10m within the next two to three years.”
All her products contain no white, wheat, rice, corn, soybean or potato flour.
“Everything is made of almond flour or other nut flour,” she said. “The good thing about using nut flour is that it produces healthy fat, and our body can convert it into energy.”
Three granola flavors
Goodness Grainless currently offers granolas in three flavors - chocolate cardamom, pumpkin spice, and vanilla and cinnamon – sold in an eight-ounce bag for $10.99. All are free from grain, filler oats and refined sugar, and contain a combination of almonds, walnut, pecans and hazelnut.
“We sprout them overnight in lightly salted water to help remove some of the starch, and then we grind and slow roast them for six to eight hours,” she said. “We use honey from local bee keepers.”
Retik is currently developing a savory granola to expand the Goodness Grainless range.
Squirrel & The Bee offers cookies in both egg-free and egg-added options, with a six-pack retailing for $8 and a single-serve large cookie for $4 per each.