Granola is one of the most-referenced health foods, but it also has a reputation for being...unexciting.
Thankfully, Fran Kruse of Not Yer Granny's Granola in Barrie, Ontario, is shaking up that image. Her blends feature ingredients like orange, rosemary, coffee and chocolate, and they definitely go beyond breakfast (we included the Maple Me Happy flavour in our July box).
Fran chatted with us about starting her business and changing people's minds about granola, one taste at a time.
How did Not Yer Granny's Granola start?
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I love reading books on business and marketing, and biographies of people who took a small idea and built a successful team and business. Not Yer Granny's Granola & Snack Company developed from the idea that we wanted to open a cafe. During the testing stage of various food products, our chef-inspired Granolahhh flavour blends were born. Our taste testers, friends, family and colleagues, encouraged us to think bigger than a local cafe, and to take our gourmet snacks nationwide.
Any memorable moments from your first year in business?
As an entrepreneur you wear many hats, not only making, packaging and delivering the product, but making those initial sales calls. I remember preparing for my very first face-to-face sales meeting, being nervous and not knowing what to expect. So without any fancy presentation, sales pitch or inspired closing phrases, I showed them our packages, answered their questions, and then let them taste each flavour. I remember walking out of the meeting and sitting in my car, not sure of what actually happened...but then I had an order for 100 Granolahhh bags from an established, prestigious gourmet shop.
How did you test your product and come up with the flavours and ingredient list?
Research and information are the keys to any venture. Traditional granola has a reputation of being bland, dry, boring and only for breakfast. I wanted to re-invent granola into a gourmet, "anytime, anywhere" snack, loaded with nuts, seeds and fruits, and delicious enough for corporate gifts and holiday stocking stuffers. That's why I say we've taken out the "blahhh" and added the "ahhh" to our Granolahhh! Our fun flavours include "Maple Me Happy", a year-round favourite made with real maple syrup, "Pumpkin Pizzazz" which tastes like a Thanksgiving pie, and "Hello Orange", a summer tasting blend made with orange juice and freshly chopped rosemary.
Our newest snack line is called Javanola - the Mojo Mocha flavour is made with espresso beans, rich cocoa and it's drizzled in dark chocolate. All the blends were initially tested by friends and colleagues, but I sure get a kick out of wives who tell me their husbands never eat granola, but had a taste in the car after buying it at the store, and couldn't stop eating it all the way home. That's the real taste test!
What are you looking forward to for the business in the next few months?
We've been growing steadily across Ontario over the last 18 months and are currently expanding our production facilities. I'm working on new flavours of Granolahhh and also expanding our snack options to include a line of wholesome cookies and crackers. And the really exciting news is that we've been approached by some national companies to be featured in their stores.
Awesome! Aside from granola, what's a snack you love to make at home?
Just this week I made some roasted parmesan and garlic chickpeas for the hubby and I as a light snack. I like experimenting with flavours, so I added fresh oregano from garden. Delish!
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