When Ron Kendrick decided to launch his “functional shake and beverage” company GnuSanté, the market for kid’s snacks looked the same way it had for decades. His daughter and Chief Marketing & Ideation Officer Autumn Kendrick puts it this way: “My sister was a new mom when we launched and she said, ‘There’s nothing like this out there.’ There hadn’t been any functional innovation for kid’s snacks in years. It was all the same fruit purees and sugary snacks.”
The heart of this innovation is in the Gnubees shake, which combines protein and fibre to make a product that’s part beverage, part snack. It’s a small-batch-produced beverage shake with locally sourced, whole-food, non-GMO ingredients. It’s low in sugar. And it tastes incredibly good.
“Pairing fibre with protein creates energy with no peak and no crash,” explains Autumn. “Too often sugary kid’s snacks don’t fill them up, so they quickly run back to their parents hungry again. I mean, kids do run back to get more Gnubees,” she adds, laughing, “but that’s just because they’re tasty.”
Ron started GnuSanté with a family friend who had a daughter with autism, a “picky eater” who needed nutritious foods she could enjoy. A shake with ingredients like whey protein and high-fibre chicory root was an easy and delicious solution. Soon, the founders saw the potential for meeting a need in the kid’s snack market that combines healthy snacking with delicious taste and true convenience.
Nowadays, the GnuSanté team likes to say that they run a “better beverage company”. And choosing, again and again, to do things better means tackling certain challenges. Chief among these is managing costs to provide a quality product at the best price possible.
“We have a limited budget because we’re a proudly self-funded company,” says Autumn, “and we’re trying to keep it that way so that we don’t compromise on quality. But we’re competing against fifty-cent juice boxes, so it’s hard sometimes.”
GnuSanté’s uncompromising approach goes beyond sourcing high-quality ingredients. They choose a small batch production style to reduce product and water waste. They choose to package in flexible pouches because they use 28x less material than glass and 5x less than plastic bottles and have the smallest carbon footprint.
To help manage the overall costs of running a quality-focused, sustainable company, GnuSanté chose Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC) as a packaging partner. After all, GLBC focuses on both sustainability and meeting customer’s budgets. Working together, the companies landed on a key way to reduce costs.
“The first time we sat down with GLBC, we brainstormed a way to create a box that would fit all of our needs,” says Autumn. “GLBC had the perfect solution. Why not use different labels on one single box rather than produce four different boxes for our different SKUs? Why not use one box for retail and e-commerce? We thought, ‘That’s genius!’”
With their Gnubees four-packs recently stocked in retail locations across BC, the company is looking forward to future launches. Among them is the Gnubees Plus, which will include the same protein-and-fibre combo, this time enhanced with Vitamins C and D. Gnubees plus is the lactose-free version made with coconut cream which is a slightly more grown-up version of the shake that’s targeted for teens.
“We kept getting feedback that kids were getting older, and they wanted something for them,” says Autumn. “We heard about this one young hockey team in Toronto that all drank the shakes but poured them into cups so that it wouldn’t look like they were enjoying a ‘little kid thing.’ We have something coming out for you, guys!”
Quality-focused, sustainable, delicious, and existing for the benefit of kids and youth: this is the kind of company we love to partner with. Pick up a pack today!