Getting a package is a life-changing experience every single time. Getting a package containing food is even more magnificent. Grocery and meal delivery services (e.g. Peapod, Meez Meals) are all the rage right now, but a new demand is emerging in the snack market. These companies offer creative and nutritious options that make 3pm noshing even more exciting:
For $19.95 each month (for the smallest package size), NatureBox snackers receive a surprise box of new munchies, including granola bars, roasted chips and peas, and fruit crisps. Subscribers can also indicate their dietary restrictions and taste preferences when ordering from this California-based company. Unique selections include flax crostini bites, dried California peaches, Salted Caramel Pretzel Pops, and Siracha Roasted Cashews.
Headquartered in Jersey City, NY, this subscription snack company has a nibblebox and caloriecounterbox, which are filled with portioned snacks like nuts and dried fruit. I’m intrigued by their unique selection of “dips and dippers,” including My Thai (sweet chilli sauce with baked soy bites), Bonnie wee Oatbakes (red onion marmalade with cheese and chive oatbakes), and jalapeno hot chips (jalapeno salsa with mini tortilla chips). Less healthy (but less guilty) options include billionaire’s shortbread (fudge, blanched almonds, milk chocolate drops, cranberries) and cookies and cream (mini chocolate cookies, roasted hazels, white chocolate buttons and sunflower seeds).
Headquartered in LA (naturally), Healthy Surprise sends its customers monthly packages of gluten free, corn free, soy free, vegan and all-natural products. So if you can’t live without crunchy kale and organic chocolate straight from the cooperative farms in Ecuador, this company definitely suits your needs.
Founder and CEO Sheila Guo calls Peckish the “the Netflix for healthy snacks”, and her Chicago-based company delivers wholesome and nutritious snacks right to people’s cubicles. Snackers pay $5.99 for four snack mixes that are personalized to their tastes (e.g. energy booster, protein, sweet tooth). Flavors include The Green Machine (pistachios, edamame, crunchy broccoli), Super Foods (Goji berries, sour tart cherries, raisins), and Nutty Party (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios).
SnackItToMe! is a Chicago-based snack delivery company that provides corporate snackers a box of ten unique items each week. Like Healthy Surprise, SnackItToMe!’s snacks are sourced from vendors whose brands I recognize, including Jolly Oak Granola, The Good Bean, and dry roasted edamame from Seapoint Farms. As an avid supporter of local businesses, I spoke with founder Todd Barancik about his company:
How did you start SnackItToMe!?
For the first 8 years of my career, I spent roughly half of my time behind a desk and the other half traveling. I was always in search of healthy snacks for the office and the road, and if I didn’t plan ahead, preparing and bringing in my own, it was often very difficult. Plus every time there was breakfast/lunch/snacks ordered for meetings, it seemed like the default was donuts, muffins, cookies, chips, etc. Fast forward to my career as a personal trainer, and my clients complain about the same lack of options. Many of them don’t know what to eat, but even the ones that do are forced into grabbing what’s convenient.
Have you always been a health nut? Why did you decide to become a personal trainer?
I have always been passionate about diet and exercise. I think much of it comes from my mom’s influence. She was and still is a meticulously healthy eater and is very active. I became a trainer to allow me to share this passion with others. I grew tired of the corporate grind and wanted to do something that actually impacted people’s lives – it wasn’t happening for me in technology sales. Becoming a trainer also placed me in a health-centric environment each day, ultimately allowing me to conceptualize and bring to life SnackItToMe!
How do you decide what kinds of snacks go into the box (e.g. 1/2 sweet, 1/2 savory, 1/4 nuts, nothing above 300 calories)?
Sourcing our snacks was and still is a very time-consuming process I began roughly a year prior to our launch conducting Google searches, sending emails, inquiries and making calls. We go after products that are made with real ingredients, are all-natural, preservative-free and calorie-conscious. Many also happen to be organic. I’m proud to say we have roughly 92 products in stock from 40 small manufacturers.
What’s the hardest hurdle you’ve faced since starting the company?
The biggest hurdle has probably been marketing. Our main focus has been developing snack-plans for corporations and each company has a different point person for a program like this. The fact that we provide regular snacks for the break room as well as per-event snack-catering further complicates this.
There are other similar snack delivery services out there–what makes your company different?
Our models are very different. Graze and NatureBox sell a box containing an assortment of snack mixes, which they source and private label. So their vendors are all anonymous. Part of what makes us unique is that our vendors are also our partners. For us, it’s incredibly rewarding to help other business, but also to expose people to unique new products. And if a customer falls in love with a product, we will happily put them in touch with the manufacturer so they can order a case of their own. Another key difference is that we are partnering with companies and individuals, where Graze and NatureBox both target individual consumers. Our goal is to serve Chicago businesses, and we are able to maintain a greater level of flexibility and scalability. We can sit down with a head of wellness and design a corporate snack-plan for an organization that is vegan, or gluten-free, or carb-sensitive and cater to their population size and delivery frequency.
Do you have any plans to expand your delivery area?
We did expand our zone to some extent in December. We now ship Nationwide for orders of 3 or more boxes, or snack-plans catering to 5 or more employees. We have picked up a few customers outside of the area, but we aren’t actively marketing outside of Chicago.
I know you emphasize “corporate wellness,” but what about snacking habits at home?
Our focus is on corporate wellness because this is where it seems most people fall short. When at home, people have access to their kitchens, and with a bit of planning, can easily ensure healthy options are available. Since people are increasingly busy, sometimes that same level of planning doesn’t translate into their work lives.