Neighborhood snackmaker catches Walmart’s eye

Every calendar year nearly 5,000 new makes enter Walmart’s Open Contact level of competition with the hopes of leaving with a distribution contract with the significant box powerhouse.

At the 2020 celebration, a younger Sonoma entrepreneur caught the eye and gained above the style buds of the chain’s shopping for group with her fledgling brand name. Her Siren Treats will be observed on Walmart retailer shelves commencing in early 2021.

Elizabeth Giannuzzi, 30, co-founder and CEO of Siren Snacks, lives in Sonoma with her fiancé, just southeast of downtown. 8 yrs in the past, she was operating in finance in New York Town when she was identified with a unusual autoimmune condition. Over time, she discovered that focusing on the meals she was feeding on produced a large impact in running her symptoms of muscle mass and pores and skin inflammation.

“That knowledge is what in the beginning sparked my passion for foodstuff and plant-based mostly dwelling and nutritious lifestyle, and it’s what received me intrigued in the food industry,” she said.

It was partially this tale that Walmart found so persuasive, explained a single Walmart Open up Get in touch with customer who requested not to be named.

“Elizabeth took an regrettable well being situation and used it to locate a alternative that led to the creation of her item and brand,” mentioned the purchaser. “It’s normally inspiring when men and women can consider one thing damaging and transform it into a little something that results in a positive influence on their lifestyle and many others.”

In her early 20s, Giannuzzi was doing the job on Wall Road. As she grappled with her wellbeing challenges, she made a decision to give up her career and go throughout the nation to show up at enterprise school at Stanford University, signing up for her younger sister Abby, now 26, who was an undergraduate there at the same time.

“I wished to find out much more about the meals business – to determine out how to get my foot in the door and to share what I had discovered in terms plant-based mostly foods building a big difference in my health and fitness,” she mentioned.

Sonoma Brand names internship

Whilst at Stanford, Giannuzzi secured an internship at Sonoma Manufacturers and put in a summer time living on Spain Avenue.

“I experienced the most amazing practical experience doing the job with (Sonoma Makes founder Jon Sebastiani’s) crew, studying additional from them about what goes into launching a food items business enterprise,” she reported.

“Elizabeth confirmed an amazing aptitude for our marketplace at a genuinely youthful age,” said Sebastiani. “We realized she was destined for wonderful matters.”

Giannuzzi and her sister experienced previously created the preliminary recipes for what would became Siren Snacks. Abby, a faculty athlete, had been hunting for something she could eat prior to her tactics and routines that gave her some strength, but didn’t weigh her down.

“We produced the recipes in our dorm kitchen area,” claimed Giannuzzi. “The craze of cleaner substances and plant-dependent ingesting was truly using off and we understood that the option was there to develop a enterprise.”

The Giannuzzi sisters felt that a great deal of the protein brand names and solutions on the market place tended to be extra geared toward males in terms of their branding and promoting. “We needed one thing that was a minor bit more feminine and fun, a small young and without the need of the undertone of fat loss,” Elizabeth claimed.

They experienced tried all the protein bars out there and none had the “simple clean” components or the taste profile they preferred.

Why ‘Siren’?

“We wanted the brand name to grab your notice, and be higher vitality, enjoyment, playful,” she said. “We considered that a siren seriously captured that energy, and in Greek mythology, the siren character that is type of mysterious and alluring and draws you in, so we thought it was a terrific healthy.”

Giannuzzi mentioned that they located pretty couple of options that were plant-primarily based, with easy substances and minimal sugar, but nevertheless felt scrumptious and indulgent. They also liked the plan of pouch dimension of bites that can easily be thrown in a bag and eaten on the go.

Now, Siren Snacks are marketed at numerous CVS and Whole Foods places, with Walmart to observe in early 2021. Some of the protein chunk flavors include cookie dough, dark chocolate brownie, lemon poppyseed and birthday cake. There is also a new nut butter chunk line and “RNR” relaxation bites that incorporate hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

“If you are going to select up your prescription at CVS, we preferred to give you a snack that looks tasty and gets your notice,” she stated. “Siren Snacks are a excellent grab-and-go snack that you can eat proper after you depart the store or just take with you.”

The Siren Snacks just lately outgrew its creation facility in San Francisco, and moved creation to Chicago.

“We are at present meeting with landlords about commercial homes in Sonoma Valley and in Sebastopol,” Giannuzzi reported. “Our strategy is to insert a lesser kitchen area and achievement heart here so that we can make smaller batch flavors, seasonal things and collaborations with regional cooks.”

The initial Siren Snack buyers had been Elizabeth and Abbie’s mom and dad. Their major trader nowadays is the Kellogg Company’s venture funds arm, which invests in emerging food stuff principles that fill a hole in their offerings or a craze that Kellogg is fired up to take a look at, stated Giannuzzi.

“They’ve been a seriously terrific lover and have a large amount of experience,” she mentioned.

Long term, the Giannuzzi sisters want to stay associated in the organization for as extensive as possible and “for as long as we’re the very best individuals for the occupation,” claimed Elizabeth. “We’re using every single problem day by day. The final aim is to genuinely develop a brand name that can get to as several people today and be in as quite a few homes and pantries as probable.”

Sebastiani claimed that Sonoma ought to be delighted to have a further excellent commence-up food stuff company.

“Wine will generally be the biggest economic system listed here but it is fantastic to see other enterprises start and be successful below,” he mentioned. He declined to acquire credit for Giannuzzi’s good results.

“We played a little, tiny purpose,” he stated. “Elizabeth truly has the X-factor.”

Make contact with Lorna at [email protected].