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The Foodies: Craveable, Snackable Companies to Watch

Innovative, tasty and expanding, these are 2018's Colorado consumable Companies to Watch


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Colorado has earned a reputation for providing a nourishing home for young food companies to go forward and feed men, women and kiddos statewide and well beyond. This year is no different, with four companies highlighted that produce kombucha, kid's snacks and coffee. Read on to learn more about Colorado Companies to Watch: Foodies.

Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha

Boulder | Since 2013 | Beverage maker

Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha bills itself as the world’s first low-sugar, low-acidic, plant-infused, Nordic-style kombucha. It engages in 100 percent transparent labeling practices, and operates an in-house laboratory to ensure product safety through rigorous testing. Rowdy Mermaid’s manufacturing methodology and product approach is unique in its industry, and it credits much of that innovation to the Boulder County Farmer's market, where the company interacts with 1,500 consumers a day.

Rowdy Mermaid’s products are sold in 13 states, with the recent addition of Southern California and a plan to grow with Whole Foods into Northern California by the end of 2018. The company says doubling its flavors on the shelf from three to six actually doubled its business overnight.

Crunchsters

Boulder | Since 2015 | Snack creation

Frank Lambert created a snack with the salty craveability of junk food and the nutritional value of a superfood for one of his children with dietary restrictions. Made from sprouted mung beans, each portion gives seven grams of real plant protein and five grams of prebiotic fiber. Crunchsters gives back to the community by donating a percentage of its production to homeless shelters and to schools that request assistance in providing additional nutrition to their students.

To maximize work fulfillment, “the company fosters growth and independence in the work process to allow employees to make decisions on their own and develop new methods and processes, with the freedom to make mistakes,” founder and CEO Lambert says. “Second, we strive to produce the finest possible products from the finest ingredients, giving a sense of integrity to the output of the work effort. Thirdly, we encourage employees to develop themselves professionally by sponsoring professional educational development.”

Jackson’s Honest

Crested Butte | 2012 | Snack foods maker

Jackson's Honest started as a mission rather than a business, CEO and co-founder Megan Reamer says. “This mission: Share our late son's heroic struggle with his rare autoimmune disease and how his diet was able to significantly increase the quality of his life.”

Reamer and her husband, Scott, the company’s co-founder and CFO with a background in chemical engineering, have created what they say is the world's first potato chips, tortilla chips and grain-free puffed snacks cooked in coconut oil.  “Innovation is the entire reason we started the business and the only reason we are able to compete in such a hyper-competitive industry,” Megan Reamer says.

Through its Jackson’s Honest Charitable Foundation, the company donates a portion of its profits to children afflicted, as their son Jackson was, with orphan diseases, which are either very rare or ignored. “We want these children and their families to understand their burden is not theirs alone to carry,” Megan Reamer says. “That together we can make profound and positive differences in how the challenge of an orphan disease is managed.”

The company closed a deal with Rohan Oza after appearing on ABC’s "Shark Tank" in October 2017. “By reaching more than 8 million consumers in prime time TV,” Megan Reamer says, “we were able to expand the reach and breadth of this Colorado brand across the nation.”

The Human Bean of Northern Colorado

Evans | Since 2004 | Drive-thru coffee shop

Frank Sherman took over The Human Bean of Northern Colorado in 2009 under less than ideal conditions: It was recovering from bankruptcy and facing closure. Since then, the company has enjoyed double-digit growth each year and donated more than $500,000 in cash, product and coupons to schools, sports teams and nonprofits in Northern Colorado. Its biggest giving event, Coffee for a Cure, happens on the third Friday of every October, with all proceeds going to local cancer prevention and treatment projects.

The company recently added “Thankful Thursdays,” when different industry groups — nurses, doctors, teachers, veterinarians and sanitation workers, among others — can buy drinks at a deep discount. Nonprofit groups can bring in a “guest barista” to talk with customers about their cause and receive a portion of the day’s sales.

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's managing editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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