HFI Marketplace attracts small bakeries with short-order heirloom grains

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Healthy Food Ingredients showed off its non-GMO and organic ingredients via a homegrown S'more, colored with Suntava purple corn.
Healthy Food Ingredients showed off its non-GMO and organic ingredients via a homegrown S'more, colored with Suntava purple corn.

Related tags Corn Healthy Food Ingredients ecommerce Small business Farmers Ingredients Non gmo flax seed Natural colors IBIE

Healthy Food Ingredients (HFI) has doubled the number of eligible 'speciality' products available through its online system, which it launched earlier this year, noting across-the-board interest in unique ingredients.

The ingredients supplier told BakeryandSnacks in May that demand would determine which products landed on the new marketplace – intended to provide smaller manufacturers with a resource​ for novel and otherwise-hard-to-source ancient grains.

Ardent Mills, likewise, developed a subsidiary called The Annex, which intends to support smallholder farmers and US-grown heirloom grain varietals​, many through cooperatives. 

At IBIE – held in Las Vegas, US, in early September – HFI marketing coordinator Tara Froemming told us customers can expect to receive their orders – from as little as 50 pounds of one product – within five to seven business days.

In addition to the Suntava purple corn, which HFI acquired in 2015, customers on the small-order marketplace have been buying up the company’s non-GMO corn oil and flax ingredients.

Purple corn s'mores

HFI went all-out at its IBIE booth, inviting attendees to toast their version of purple-tinged S'mores: a marshmallow colored with Suntava Purple Corn Extract powder, sandwiched between a flax-based 'graham,' topped with honey-laced chocolate. Guests were also invited to try a glass of Chicha Morada, a sweetened purple corn juice from Peru.

Froemming said HFI's products are currently shipped from a central facility in North Dakota to customers in the US and Canada.

The company has has been most surprised by the number of inquires and orders from snack and bakery producers, as well as small foodservice operations, like kettle corn makers and food truck owners.

“It’s so nice to finally be able to say yes to people,”​ said Froemming, noting that such queries in the past were rejected as quantity fell below the company’s standard minimums.

HFI has made a point to connect its customers with the growers where possible since launching the Marketplace.

Froemming shared an anecdote of a frozen burrito brand that wanted to know the source of its black beans. HFI facilitated the introduction, and now the brand shares that story with its customers. "A great experience on both sides,”​ she said.

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