By Lorrie Baumann
The Clean, Lean and Sexy line of snack foods friendly to those with food sensitivities, intolerances and allergies began with a mother concerned about helping her daughter enjoy her life while protecting her from foods that might cause her digestive distress.
Suzie Carpenter, the founding owner of Clean, Lean and Sexy began looking for convenient food treats that her daughter Kelly could enjoy after Kelly was diagnosed with celiac disease at age three. “My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease 15 years ago, and that’s how the journey began with gluten-free living,” she says. “We have a lot of the same food sensitivities, and so it was a matter not just of finding food for her but of finding food for myself.”
Carpenter found early on that keeping her daughter and herself healthy meant cooking everything from scratch, since more convenient options taken for granted by most Americans simply were not available. “We’re talking 15 years ago, and there weren’t a lot of options. She has other food sensitivities as well. There wasn’t anything she could eat from a box or a bag,” Carpenter says.
Eventually, Carpenter turned the knowledge she had gained about preparing and eating healthful meals into a career. “I went back to school to study nutrition and eventually started a business developing a program for people for healthy weight loss based on principles that I’d developed for myself and for my daughters,” she says.
Now, Carpenter is making products for others who need to be careful about what they eat but still occasionally want to enjoy a delicious snack. The Clean, Lean and Sexy line of snack foods includes Air Popped Popcorn, Coconut Cashew All Natural Whole Food Energy Bars and Honey Almond All Natural Whole Food Energy Bars. “My intention is to make gluten-free products with all healthy ingredients, no hidden ingredients, but it’s fun,” Carpenter says. “There will be more products in the future. We’re currently looking for new flavors to do [a] line extension for the bars. There are no grains in them, no processed sugars and no grains.”
“The popcorn is made with high-oleic expeller-pressed sunflower oil, so it’s got a little bit of a different flavor—a richer flavor than some of the traditional snack food oils,” she adds. “We’re getting comments from people who are wondering how we make this taste like butter when there’s no butter or butter flavoring in the ingredients.”
The newest product in the line is a gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free and sugar-free pretzel that debuted at Natural Products Expo East last fall and is now coming to the market after being in development for more than a year. “The response to everything was phenomenal, but the response to the pretzel was really super,” Carpenter says.
Clean, Lean and Sexy popcorn and pretzels are made in a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free facility. Snack bars are made in a separate facility to sequester the nuts from the popcorn and pretzels. But for all the meticulous attention that goes into making sure that the products are free of ingredients that may cause pain, Carpenter says that even more attention goes into making them delicious as well as nutritious. “For years we suffered with very few options for something to eat, so it’s nice to have something fun that tastes good and is in a cool package and people are talking about it.”
For further information, visit www.cleanleansexy.com.
Free From Food Expo 2014 is Europe’s focused trade show for, and initiated by, the ‘free from’ industry. It’s a key trading platform where top-level decision makers come to source new products, meet new and existing suppliers and keep up-to-date with trends and innovations in the fast growing ‘free from food and beverage’ industry. The show is scheduled to take place June 3 and 4 in Brussels, Belgium.
This two day exhibition and conference will see more than 2,000 buyers and specifiers from small and large retail and food service sectors as well as bio, health, convenience stores and catering companies and nearly 150 exhibitors from across Europe including ‘free from’ food (and ‘free from’ ingredients) manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and traders. Visitors will have an opportunity to attend 25 seminars covering a wide range of topics such as Product Development from Consumer Perspective, Gluten Free Market in Five Years’ Time, Labels and Certifications, Free From Food Market From the Retail Perspective and Importing and Exporting Trends.
Free From Food 2014 is supported by the Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS), an independent, non-profit organisation aiming to raise awareness of celiac disease and to promote research into the diagnosis and management of this illness.
This year, to recognize the growing importance of ‘free from’ food and ingredients, the organizers are also launching the Free From Food Ingredients 2014 Expo. Ronald Holman, Exhibition and Sales Director says: “Free from food solutions are becoming more and more important for the R&D departments and food technologists working with food manufacturers. Retailers and consumers simply demand higher standards, better taste, quality and healthier alternatives. Free From Food Ingredients 2014 will provide the most dedicated platform with exhibitors like Döhler GmbH, Solanic (AVEBE), Meurens Natural, Ernst Böcker, Erbacher etc.”
Hamish Renton, one of the founding partners of the show says: “The first exhibition of Free From Food was a great success for exhibitors and visitors alike. The trade show attracted a high quality buying and decision making audience from Europe’s best retail and food service companies. This year we have a variety of high calibre speakers at the Conference, as well as world famous brands exhibiting and supporting our event. We are expecting hundreds of delegates from across Europe… a sure recognition of the importance of this fast growing sector of the food retailing sector. ”
Free from food categories cover all food and beverage products which are gluten free, lactose free, dairy free, yeast free, wheat free, egg free, GM free, sugar and fat free and vegan.
This year’s exhibitors include: ABS Food, Allergenen Consultancy, Allergy Service Suisse, Bauckhof, Dohler, Dove’s Farm, Dutch Spices, Ernst Bocker, Farmo, Fria, Genius Gluten Free, Hi-Food Ingredients, Nestle, Nielsen, Orgran, Semper, Warburtons.