They really, really matter.
From the juice that we drink, to the food we fill our children’s bellies with, ingredients matter.
Towards the end of 2014, we were about to sign with a co-packer (= someone to produce the product in large quantities).
This is how it works when you begin the process with a co-packer:
- You give said co-packer your recipe.
- Said co-packer takes ingredients and mixes at their facility; testing and attempting to replicate product as best as possible.
- Their version of your product is delivered, with the hopes that it meets your standards so a green light can be given to fully move forward and produce in large quantites.
(This is the short version of what happens, anyways.)
The Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter came back to me. I knew with the very first bite that this was not my product. And like other food-tasting challenges, we then had several other people taste the original Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter and the new Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter. Every single person knew immediately which was not mine, and furthermore, those who had never had the original version knew immediately that they liked that original best.
So what happened?
It all comes down to ingredients. Once you make it to a co-packer, they typically use their own ingredients (to cut down on cost), unless you’re really lucky and can send in your own ingredients. They understand that there is xyz in a product, but they don’t use the same xyz as the initial product used.
For the Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter, it all comes down to the vanilla.
Our vanilla is second-to-none. Substituting for a random vanilla just will not do. This is also why you can take the ingredients listed on any given product and try to replicate yourself, but more often than not, you will come up short because all ingredients are not created equally.
And what did we do?
We pulled back, at least for now. I have put my heart and soul into my product(s). I build and develop them with the guiding vision:
bare ingredients. bold flavor. unprocessed guilt.
I could not get passed the fact that the new flavor would not fully support the original taste and the guiding vision.
What does this mean for you?
It means that you can expect we will never sacrifice taste for mass quantity. We realize (because we are messaged frequently) that people want to see us in Whole Foods and the like. Far more important is a product we stand behind, even if that means grueling trips far away to produce in our Commercial Kitchen with limited distribution.
Launching a food product is not easy, and it becomes even more difficult when the passion to settle for nothing less than excellent is front-and-center.
But we believe it’s worth it.
I’ve always believed it’s worth it.
And this is because not only do ingredients matter, but our larger vision and the mission by which we are guided makes me know that this is worth it.