Wellness, Family, and the New Year with Truly Good Foods
The new year is here, and we have to say we’re feeling ’22. Between the chaos of working from home or returning to work, we have our eyes set on goals to keep us thriving this year. To help everyone out and keep us on track, we sat down with the leadership team at Truly Good Foods, owners Carolyn Bennett and Angela Bauer, and COO John Bauer.
Let’s give our readers some background on Truly Good Foods to kick this off. What exactly does Truly Good Foods do, and what kind of products do you offer?
Truly Good Foods has a passion for snacks, and we’ve specialized in quality snacking for 45 years. Women-owned and second-generation family-operated, Truly Good Foods is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, with five additional locations across the U.S.
With more than 400 manufactured snacks and thousands of distributed items, we believe in BETTER ingredients and MORE of those ingredients in every bite. Our core specialty is snack mixes, and our SQF, Kosher and organic production facility in Charlotte roasts nuts & seeds daily and blends over 30 bulk snack mixes. Our facility also packages and re-boxes many of our items to meet our customers’ varied needs. We partner with over 6,000 customers to provide top-level products and customer service.
We like to let our customers speak for us on why they choose to partner with Truly Good Foods:
“Best customer service in the industry”
“Variety of Products”
“Quality of product for price is outstanding”
“Quick turnaround on order placement”
“Unique products I can’t get through other suppliers”
“Ability to order in small quantities”
“No wholesale order minimum, low free shipping minimum”
“Ordering is super easy. Love the ability to order online”
“Tons of bulk options”
“Love the seasonal offerings”
There’s a lot of history in your brand. Could you tell some of that story?
After 45 years of success in this industry, it’s very important for us to stay innovative with our customer needs, but to always remember our roots. Our company was founded in 1977 by my parents, Jerry and Betty York.
Mr. York got into the industry purely by accident. A Dayton, Ohio native and University of Dayton graduate, he returned from the Korean War and went to the college’s placement office, looking for job leads. Having grown up in an area that was heavily linked to the automobile industry, he saw “Dayton Nut Products Co” on the office list and assumed it was a screw and nut manufacturer. He walked in the door, smelled peanuts cooking, and started to leave, but the owner grabbed him and gave him a sales job – for $70 a week. A lifelong career in the snack industry followed.
The company has continued to grow year after year, now being run by myself, my sister Carolyn and my husband, John. It’s been important for the second generation to remember our company’s roots and instill those same values in the current generation of employees.
What’s it like to work with family?
Working together with family is fun. Most of the time😊. We have common values and knowledge that binds us. Truly Good Foods is like having a fourth kid – I love it immensely and care a lot!
How do you think the family business mindset influences your brands and values?
Being family-owned is an advantage in that you have many people engaged for the same purpose and success of the company. You know each other’s strengths and apply that to the area of the company that works best. We have an advantage over competition because we have a lot of years experience between our family members as well as many of our long-term employees who are “family” as well.
One of the core values here at Truly Good Foods is treating all employees as if they are family. Without the original building blocks set in place by our founders, we would not be able to carry out our company’s mission, which is to get better every day by efficiently providing the best product, market expertise, and business solutions in an integrated, responsive fashion. We will continually strive to be a prosperous company for the growth and benefit of our employees, customers, vendors, and community.
We have to ask – of Truly Good Foods’ huge selection, what are some of your team’s favorite snacks?
We all love to snack here, and even though we have a huge selection, there are some overall team favorites. Sweet Heat, The Big Cheese, Firecracker, and Happy Hour are the most popular around here, which aligns with our customers since these are some of our best sellers. What’s interesting is our newest mix Buffalo Stampede has skyrocketed to the top of most of our employees’ lists! I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love the bold, spicy and smoky flavor of the mix.
As thought leaders in your space, how do you approach market trends?
It’s integral for us to stay on top and ahead of market trends. We owe it to our customers to be a leader in the industry and provide them with the most innovative products we can. When you love what you do, and you have a passion for this industry, it makes it easy. Our product development team follows the current trends and stays ahead of the curve. In the snack space, a lot of times, trends will start in food service and restaurants. It’s important for us to understand those flavor trends and how they could be applied to snacks. We also regularly survey our customers and have a Customer Focus Group that we go to when developing new products.
Where do you see this snack space going in the future?
Functional ingredients that add additional value to snacks will continue to be a huge trend in our space, and we will see it evolve in new applications. The pandemic has reinforced consumers’ desire to snack with purpose and with snacking replacing meals in a lot of instances, it’s important that they are getting added benefits from those snacks.
As popular as our packaged snacks are, we have been a bulk company since inception. Even though the pandemic hurt that side of the business, we do see it bouncing back since sustainability and cost are major considerations for consumers.
As the new year kicks off, wellness is front of mind. How does Truly Good focus on wellness within your teams and for your customers? Or what advice do you have for companies focusing on wellness?
We believe in focusing on both your physical mental wellness. From a physical wellness standpoint, we have company initiatives in place to support our employees’ goals with their own physical well-being. Emotional and mental wellness is something we are putting a bigger focus on this year and beyond. The pandemic has affected people in a lot of long-lasting ways, and we want to make sure their mental health is as much of a consideration as their physical.
Being in the food business, our employees are around a variety of products – both better-for-you and indulgent. We regularly educate our employees and customers on the importance of balanced snacking and the health benefits gained from nuts and seeds.
What snacks would you promote as a better-for-you treat to someone with wellness in mind?
Nuts and seeds are some of the healthiest snacks you can choose. They are a source of good fat and a lot of natural antioxidants. They are also on trend with some of the biggest diets like Mediterranean, Keto, and High Protein.
A couple of our packaged snack lines come to mind as our better-for-you options. Our ReCharge line offers snacks with an energy boost. Using lots of ingredients that focus on immunity benefits, our mixes in this line have added probiotics and antioxidants to keep you energized and feeling good. Our trEAT4u line are 1oz bags that were specifically designed around some of our customers’ wellness programs. No artificial ingredients, low sodium, under 100 calories, etc. All in a grab-and-go pack for an easy midday pick-me-up snack.
What are some of your or your team’s new year’s resolutions? What would you recommend for a resolution?
After this past year, I think most of our team’s resolutions would be to focus on their mental and physical wellness. Resolutions can sometimes be disappointing if you feel like you failed at them, so I like to recommend focuses for the year – little changes each month that can equal a big change at the end of the year – baby steps and one day at a time.
For more about our great partners, and to bring some delicious, healthy, and diverse-owned snacks into your workplace, get started today!