“Free-From” Business Spotlight: Caveman Foods, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo Snacks
My daily rule of thumb is to always make sure that I pack allergy-free high protein snacks. Sometimes this can be difficult as most protein bars contain dairy and nuts, both of which are ingredients I avoid. Cue my excitement to discover Caveman Foods, which are are paleo-inspired dairy-free, peanut-free, soy-free, gluten-free snacks. I love their Primal Bars and even brought a few with me to Brazil (pictured above). I got a chance to speak with the founder of Caveman Foods, Chris Running, about what inspired him to start Caveman Foods,Â his hope for the company in the future, tips for being paleo, and more!
AFW: What inspired you to start Caveman Foods?
Chris: There were three key things that inspired me to start Caveman Foods. The first was my personal experience trying the Paleo diet (which, in 2011, I had never heard of). As a lifelong fitness enthusiast, competitive swimmer and someone who tries to walk the talk, I was intrigued with the concepts underlying Paleo. When I lost 30+lbs in 90 days I was hooked and started thinking about building a business concept around the principles of Paleo. Secondly I was convinced Paleo was going to be a huge movement (rather than a trend), much like what we’ve seen with gluten free. Finally, I felt the Caveman Foods concept had the potential to become a large business enterprise.
AFW: I’m sure there were many different paleo snacks that you could have focused on creating. Why did you launch with Chicken Jerky, Primal Bars, and Nutrition Bars?
Chris: The original Caveman Foods idea was centered around a hunter gatherer concept. That, of course, naturally lead us to nutrition bars (nuts & seeds) and jerky. Each respective product category has then evolved to where the products are today.
AFW: What was the initial process of developing the first Caveman Food products?
Chris: We worked closely with our bar manufacture R&D team. It was (and still is) a very collaborative process. We would provide flavor ideas and nutritional parameters and they would develop prototypes.
AFW: Why is chicken the base of your meat protein snacks?
Chris: Chicken is a perceived healthier protein alternative than beef and pork. Chicken is also a more attractive protein source for females. We felt it was important to develop a meat snack that would be appealing to both men and women. Retail buyers are trying to draw more women into the meat snack category, which has historically been male dominated. We also felt we could develop more tasty products using chicken since it has a very neutral flavor palate versus beef.
AFW: I find that your new Caveman Bites are much easier to eat on the go. How did you come up with the delicious flavors (sun-dried tomato & kale, applewood smoked bbq, and green chili)?
Chris: I spend a lot of time studying what other meat companies do, such as sausage manufacturers. There are also companies that publish reports on flavor and ingredient trends that we watch carefully.
AFW: I also am a huge fan of your primal bars, which combine sweet & savory flavors, such as chicken blueberry pepper, and chicken sweet cherry. What has the reaction been to these flavor combinations?
Chris: Our consumers have responded very positively, although we’ve found that spicy flavors are the most popular. As we expand our flavor options, we’ll try to strike a balance between sweet and savory flavor combinations.
AFW: Is it difficult to stick to a paleo diet? Any tips for those who are new to the paleo lifestyle
Chris: It’s easy to incorporate Paleo into your everyday diet. It’s harder to be 100% Paleo because this requires far more will power. For example, most people can’t completely eliminate alcohol, grains and dairy. A little cheating is ok. Eating Paleo is more about learning to look at food differently which helps you make better food choices. But allowing yourself an opportunity to cheat every once and awhile, is a healthy balance.