By Lorrie Baumann
Wholesome Goodness is a brand based on three key tenets: that food should taste great, that food should be nutritious, and that nutritious food should be affordable. Because it fulfills all three of these goals, Wholesome Goodness’ product line aligns with the way that Millennial generation consumers want to eat today, according to company founders Jeff Posner and Rick Letizia.
Posner and Letizia had 70 years of experience in the food industry between them when they decided to leave behind their executive positions in major food companies like Kraft and General Foods to strike out on their own with a brand reflecting their beliefs about how more nutritious foods can help address health problems related to diet. Posner himself suffers from high blood pressure, while Letizia has type-2 diabetes, so they are personally aware of the burdens that nutrition-related diseases place on health care costs, quality of life and longevity.
From experience, they knew that major food companies use ingredients that make products cheaper to manufacture but may offer less nutrition to the consumers who used them. They wanted to go another way; to start a food business that would serve consumers’ ever-increasing expectations for healthier foods. “Wholesome Goodness products emphasize positive ingredients like protein, antioxidants and whole grains, while de-emphasizing negative ingredients like saturated fats, added sugars and added sodium,” Posner said.
“Part one of the Wholesome Goodness promise is that for every calorie consumed you get relatively more nutrition than the mainstream national brands,” he continued. “Part two is affordability. This requirement recognizes that 75 percent of the country is overweight or obese, and the barriers to eating healthier foods are both taste and price. Conceptually, if you take nutritional density and divide by price, our products provide consumers with the optimal blend of high nutrition and affordable cost. That’s our unique value proposition. At Wholesome Goodness, we want the 75 percent of the population that’s overweight or obese to be able to afford and enjoy each and every one of our products.”
The two started out six years ago by talking with consumers and retailers to learn more about changing trends in eating patterns before they decided that their first products would be a line of snacks, Letizia said. “Data shows that the bulk of our population, in particular the nearly 80 million Millennials, are snacking four to six times a day; thus, portability is extremely important – things you can throw in your purse or backpack,” he said.
As the two developed other products, they stayed with the directive that they wanted their foods to be nutrition-dense, a concept offered up by Yale University childhood obesity and nutrition expert Dr. David Katz. This concept, simply stated, requires that for every calorie contained in their products, the consumer will get a healthier blend of more positive nutrition and less negative nutrition. They wanted clean ingredients without excessive sodium or added sugars. “We currently ban 127 ingredients that other food companies use today, including all 85 identified by Whole Foods,” Letizia said. “We have the cleanest ingredient deck in the industry at the present time.”
And while they were creating clean ingredient labels for their products, they also wanted to produce foods that were more affordable than mainstream competitors’, Posner said. “These are the kinds of products that my mother would have served the family: great-tasting and affordable for the family. Not that she did anything different from all my friends’ mothers; the only thing my friends and I knew growing up was just good, old-fashioned food,” he said. “Frankly, there is no reason why anyone today should have to pay a premium to have better-for-you products.”
“We don’t have anywhere near the cost structure of the large companies. We don’t own any plants; instead, we use highly-qualified third parties to manufacture our proprietary product formulations, so we don’t have the overhead and capital requirements of a big company. We certainly don’t make the multi-million dollar salaries of the executives of the large food companies. We don’t have the requirement to deliver a 15 percent bottom line just to maintain shareholder value – we can make do on a much smaller percentage,” he explained. “We want our products to be accessible to the masses…. For example, our award winning Sweet Chili and Omega Tortilla Chips come in a 9-ounce bag that retails for $3.99 – and even less on feature. A 5.5-ounce bag of competing better-for-you brands will cost about as much as Wholesome Goodness. Consequently, we’re less expensive, averaging about 20 to 30 percent cheaper, ounce for ounce, than these other brands. When you divide our products’ nutritional density by food budget dollars spent, we’re really the best deal in town.”
The Wholesome Goodness product line includes snack chips and crisps; granola bars, snack mixes, and hot and cold cereals. Learn more at www.wholesome-goodness.com.