Eric: I’m here with Adam Collins, the founder of Superfoods Snacks Inc., a sustainable superfood company from the island of Kauai that makes organic raw chocolate energy truffles. I’ve tried a couple of these truffle flavors already, and they are incredibly delicious and quite addictive, actually.
Adam: Aloha everybody!
Eric: So I’m curious… How long has your company existed and what’s the story behind it? How did it start?
Adam: Superfoods Snacks Inc. started in 2006. That’s technically when we became an official company, but we really started testing in 2005. What we started testing is to take our raw food energy snack and put it in compostable packaging.
I had my recipe for the first flavor which is the Chocolate Goji Treats inspired from a hike in the Na Pali coast on Kauai where I had basically a bag of super foods with almost all the ingredients that are in the first flavor, just a loose mix. Long story short, I was traveling and there was very little bit of amount of food in the back country, and I ran across a man who was really malnourished so I gave him just a little bit from my bag. And immediately he felt revitalized and a couple hours later, he asked, “What did you give me?” to which I replied, “Oh it’s a superfood with cacao, goji berries, celtic sea salt, walnuts, and dates.” They were basically all the ingredients in the first flavor and so, I started thinking, “Wow, this is really powerful.” He just had a little bit and the guy had looked pale, and now he’s looking good and feeling good and bugging me for more.
So I just started feeling, “Wow, there’s something to this.” And the idea came through. Of course, I’m in the back country in this beautiful land and I was thinking about maybe making a product but it would need to be sustainable. So basically really, right when I got home off the trail, I built a recipe because this was just a loose trail mix, put it all together, and made a truffle.
It came through really quickly and then started researching compostable packaging to see if it was even real. We found a company that was supplying the materials, but nobody had done anything or with them yet. They were very hard to work with and so basically we just started testing. We called bunch of companies to find somebody that was even willing to work with these materials and try to convert them into a bag which could eventually be on the shelf. So fast forward to early 2007 and about 2 years of research, we put our first flavor on the shelf in March of 2007 which is the original Goji Treats.
Eric: That’s a great story. So right now, how many different products do you make? What kind of variety do you have in your products?
Adam: Yeah, we have 4 flavors right now. The original Chocolate Goji Treats, which is a standard blend, I call it, which is balanced with all five (5) tastes following ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic philosophies, more Chinese but very similar with the tastes. That’s one of the concepts we use in our recipes. We have Green Chocolate Dream, which is our second flavor which has chlorella, hence the green. It also has Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms. We test all of our flavors for antioxidants, so that happens to be the highest because of the chlorella. And then we have our two most recent flavors which is Brazilian Chocolate Ecstasy which is kind of our tropical flavor, and Chocolate Cherry Qi, which is our thinking flavor. I mean, they all help you with clarity, but that one has blue green algae in it as well. And when that synergizes with the cacao, it’s very good for clarity. And they all provide massive energy, vitality, and focus and so you can just really move through your day in a positive way.
Eric: Very nice. Do you have a personal favorite?
Adam: That’s a good question. I definitely love the original flavor because there’s something special about it, but at the same time, for different moods and different needs, I like ’em all. Right now, I’m pretty hip on the Brazilian Chocolate Ecstasy and Chocolate Cherry Qi, because they’re the newest and there’s a lot of buzz around them, and I’m just loving the diversity of that flavor.
Eric: Right, great. And where is your manufacturing plant? Where are they made? And how many people work for you?
Adam: My company is based out of Kauai, Hawaii. That’s where I live and that’s where my offices are. But due to shipping and to be more sustainable, we make it in Los Angeles, and we just have a few people working for us. It’s mostly family and friends and then we have several people that are independent contractors that do store demonstrations. We consider them part of the team.
Eric: And from where are the ingredients sourced?
Adam: Our ingredients are sourced really from all over the world. The concept and philosophy is to find the best of the best. For example, we use Selina Naturally Hawaiian Deep Sea Salt because it has the highest mineral content of any salt tested in the world. We use cacao from Ecuador which is an heirloom string. We use Goji berries from the East. We use Hunza Raisins which are from the Hunza. So basically, they’re from all over the world, whoever has the best quality that I feel, and our team feels, and of course, has to be certified organic because we’re certified organic company.
Eric: I’m curious, what kind of goals have you set for yourself and your company for the future?
Adam: Yeah, one goal from a company perspective is, we’re currently in three regions of Whole Foods Markets, and we’re about to be in four, and we want to be in all of the Whole Foods Markets by the end of 2011. So that’s a big focus of mine. We’re in about 325 stores right now, so I’d like to be in over 600 stores by the end of 2011. So 600+ is kind of the beginning goal.
Eric: About how much of your time is devoted to the Superfoods Snacks Inc.? And do you hold any other jobs?
Adam: It’s definitely full-time. I live and breathe Superfoods Snacks. It’s a business built around a lifestyle. I felt so good from eating this food, so for me I’m working a lot, but it’s really just what I would be doing anyways. It doesn’t really feel like work. It just feels like what I’m supposed to be doing and I enjoy it. I wake up and I get excited to do it. So quite often, you know maybe sometimes 12 hours a day, sometimes 7, but I work a lot.
Eric: In terms of your own background and your knowledge about the ingredients, how did you come to learn about the medicinal uses of food and other herbs?
Adam: That’s a great question. Well, I fortunately grew up with a family, and my mom, who was taking care and preparing food for my dad who had diabetes – he was healthy but he had diabetes – set us on a pretty balanced diet growing up. My mom got me into teas like pau d’arco, and blue green algae in the 90’s, so I fortunately got into some superfoods when I was 17, 18 yrs old. But still that wasn’t enough, so I guess my background would be, for about the last 14 years I’ve been on a personal journey to get rid of tired issues that I had, a little bit of overweight, lack of motivation. I’ve gone from about 14 years of eating vegan foods. But that wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t really until I found superfoods that have really taken it to the next level.
I also study with a grandmaster of Qigong who’s taught me about Chinese philosophy which is definitely part of the inspiration of the five taste in Superfoods Snacks. Lots of trial and error, lots of mistakes, week long retreats, two month cleansing journeys, and quite a bit of seeking knowledge from experts… My philosophy is to find people that are getting results that I want. I studied all kinds of experts, read tons of books on nutrition, and also study about personal motivation from likes of Tony Robbins and so forth. And so here we are, you know, it’s about 14 years and it’s just been a gradual journey of my own journey which is now built into a company.
Eric: Aside from Whole Foods Market, where else can we purchase your products?
Adam: You can also find Superfoods Snacks at various, individual, independent co-op markets and health food stores across the USA as well as online at: superfoodsnacks.com
Eric: Good to know about your online store. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Adam: I just want to say thanks for this time and the opportunity to share a little bit about my story and to meet you, it’s been great. Yeah and everybody just keep going, don’t get to worried about moving forward too quick, just take baby steps and start adding in good foods slowly, and your body will tell you from there where to go. It’s really simple, actually, just adding in the good stuff and letting it take its natural course.
Eric: Thank you, Adam.