Just great snacks
Ever since its founder began creating snacks in her kitchen more than four decades ago, Betty Lou’s has proven that healthy, all-natural, gluten-free products need not compromise on taste and quality
As any mother will tell you, the health of their children is always of the utmost importance, and this often extends to the food and drink that they consume. As has been the case for generations, each and every day, mums the world over are looking for ways to improve the diet of their sons and daughters, not only to provide them with nutritional improvements, but often also to accommodate allergies. The same conundrum was faced head on over 40 years ago by Betty Lou Carrier.
Wanting to feed her children healthier snacks, and counter the allergies her son suffered from, she took the decision to remove refined sugar from her family’s diet, instead creating recipes that were made with honey and brown rice syrup. “Using organic, gluten-free ingredients, Betty Lou set about making her now famous Nut Butter Balls, which her family and friends loved so much that the idea was formed that she should begin selling them,” explains Rodney Lucas, Betty Lou’s Inc’s Director of Operations. “These were almost immediately a massive hit in Oregon, and from there the brand just grew and grew, to the point where Betty Lou went from working in her own kitchen to being the face of a business that in 2009 moved into a 120,000-square foot facility.”
As a company, Betty Lou strives to make amazing, all-natural products, offering multiple flavours and varieties of snacks so that there is something for everyone, including snack bars, peanut butter and jelly bars, powdered peanut butter and even protein shakes. “Our Nut Butter Balls remain our flagship product, however we now make more than 40 individual types of snack bars, crackers and cookies, including the recently re-released Golden Smackers bars,” Rodney continues. “While we continue to focus on niche and health related stores, our products are also stocked regionally in a number of chains and can be found in over 5000 stores throughout the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, around 80 per cent of our manufacturing time is spent running co-pack products for over 70 separate contract manufacturing clients. This, we believe, is testament to the more than 40 years of experience we have in making gluten-free taste truly amazing.”
New product development
Within the walls of its large manufacturing facility, which is supported by two 30,000 square foot warehouses, Betty Lou’s operates a total of five production lines. “With these production lines, we have the ability to make any kind of snack bar that exists on the market,” Rodney enthuses. “This includes our most recently purchased production line, which possesses in-line baking capabilities. Said line will make us even more efficient when it comes to producing baked bars, cookies and crackers, and we look forward to having it fully up and running in the coming months.
“In addition to this, we are able to offer a full R&D service, which we have used to great effect in recent years to develop many unique products for our customers. Betty Lou’s employs multiple R&D scientists and lab technicians whose roles include developing products for both ourselves and our co-pack clients. These men and women combine their own specialist skills and expertise with state-of-the-art software and techniques to create one-of-a-kind, great tasting snacks and treats.”
A recently released example of the company’s ingenuity when it comes to creating new lines can be seen in the form of its range of probiotic bites. These gluten free, vegetarian and non-GMO products, which come in dark chocolate, apple cinnamon or maple oatmeal form, have been specially formulated to support one’s digestive health. “We are also currently working on several ideas for new bars, and other lines, that will be low in sugar,” Rodney adds. “We expect these low sugar products to be just as successful as those that we already make for our co-pack customers and look forward to them being available in stores towards the end of 2018.”
As Rodney and the rest of Betty Lou’s are well aware, the snack industry continues to show no signs of slowing down. “What we have seen over the last year, and into 2018, is that existing companies that sell other products in the United States are now also getting into the bar business. What these companies are finding is that adding snack bars to their established lines is a natural addition that, more often than not, works out very well from an economic perspective.”
What this increase in competition means is that companies such as Betty Lou’s need to have a strong vision for what their future holds. “Our long-term goal is to continue to grow the Betty Lou’s branded business,” Rodney reveals. “Our co-packing business is very lucrative and we enjoy doing it, and will continue to do so, but the Betty Lou’s brand is a great one, supported by a range of amazing products, and it is these that ultimately we would like to see being enjoyed in every home in America.”