Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1194330

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Page 46 of 115

E lizabeth Stein, 38, had long enjoyed cooking and baking but it was not anything she took seriously. Then came the day in 2008 when she made a batch of gluten-free blueberry muffins to hand out from a booth at a Westchester, N.Y., race expo. The idea was to entice people with free muffins who would then sign up for her nutrition newsletter. Stein, from Philadelphia, had previously worked in sales and marketing for a handbag company. From doing Ironman triathlons, she had become interested in eating better and enrolled in New York City's Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Pivoting from promoting handbags, she set up practice as a holistic health counselor and worked one-on-one with a dozen or so clients to help them on their wellness journeys. Part of it was urging them to go gluten-free for 30 days to see if they felt better. "I was thinking how amazing it would be to have a brand to do this on a bigger scale," she says, pointing out that back then there were few tasty, healthy, gluten-free options on the market. People went wild for her muffins—made with almond flour, millet, flax, hemp, and chia seeds— and asked where they could buy them. "Totally making it up, I told them to sign up for my nutrition newsletter and I'd let them know when they were available," she says, laughing. Stein got to work, baking up a business with help from her mother and a friend from high school. In 2009 she launched Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Muffin Mix, Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix, Cacao Muffin Mix, and Perfect Pancake Mix. A website picked up the news and within about two weeks she had to fulfill 10,000 orders. Soon, Purely Elizabeth products were being stocked at retailers in Philadelphia and New York, followed by Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic region. In short order, she added Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and Purely Elizabeth Granola to her repertoire, which has become her biggest hit. One of the greatest days of her life came in 2013 when a Whole Foods representative emailed her that they were launching her brand nationally. That year, sales reached $1 million. The company, a Certified B Corporation using non-GMO, organic ingredients, seeks to promote a healthy food system through sustainability and transparency and be a force for good. To that end, it's also donated to nonprofits such as Slow Food USA, Wellness in the Schools, Charity: Water, and the Fruit Tree Planting Organization. "One of our business goals is not to just be a granola or muffin brand but to help consumers thrive on their wellness," she says, adding that she's not 100 percent strict about her own gluten- free diet; she adheres to an 80/20 rule. She feels great, she says, but admitted there's been a slight downside to her success: she no longer has the time to do triathlons. citizenship ELIZABETH STEIN, Purely Elizabeth 2007 Elizabeth Stein enrolls in New York's Institute for Integrative Nutrition 2008 Starts a practice as a wellness counselor and hands out her homemade gluten-free muffins at a triathlon to attract clients 2009 Launches four Purely Elizabeth gluten-free mixes for muffins and pancakes, graduating from her mother's kitchen to a commercial one 2010 Mixes are stocked at Philadelphia and New York City retailers and Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic region; introduces cookie mix; production moves to a co-packer in Vermont 2011 Purely Elizabeth Granola launches; Purely, a digital magazine, publishes its first issue 2013 Launch of Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola Bar; Stein appears on QVC; Whole Foods promotes the brand nationally; sofi finalist for Original Ancient Grain Granola; company hits $1 million in sales 2014 Stein relocates from New York to Boulder, Colo., Ancient Grain Oatmeal line launches 2015 Stein's first cookbook, Eating Purely, is published; company achieves Certified B Corporation status 2016 Probiotic Granola and Grain- Free Granola are introduced 2017 Purely Elizabeth is named No. 1 for granola sales in the natural food channel 2019 Purely Elizabeth launches 10 new products to celebrate its 10-year anniversary, with 76 SKUs in total SPECIALTY FOOD SPECIALTYFOOD.COM PHOTO EVE COHEN

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