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I got a cool entrepreneurial gift under the Christmas tree that I’d love to share with all of you. (Thanks, Mom and Dad…I mean Santa!) It’s a great book called Cooking Up a Business: Lessons From Food Lovers who Turned Their Passion into a Career—And How You Can, Too.
Written by former food editor at O, the Oprah Magazine and Reader’s Digest-turned-author and media entrepreneur Rachel Hofstetter, Cooking Up a Business combines stories of food companies that began in the past 10 years or so during our era of social media and advice for how readers can get cooking with their own food businesses.
As a foodie with an English degree and a ton of entrepreneurial spirit (I even interned at a granola company the summer before my senior year of college), I was excited to receive this gift and spent Christmas night reading it. I have often wondered what it would be like to start my own food company, and reading Cooking Up a Business has reminded me that the process of creating, launching and scaling a business is both challenging and rewarding. Everything from tinkering with product ingredients to considering which markets to sell in (both in the business sense and the grocery store sense!) to adhering to health and safety regulations—it’s all in a day’s work for these foodie entrepreneurs!
My favorite company stories are Love Grown Foods, which sells oat clusters and hot oats, and Justin’s Nut Butters. Maddy D’Amato and Alex Hasulak, the founders of Love Grown Foods began their entrepreneurial journey while dating in college. Their decision to start a company together at fairly young ages is inspiring to me. I also love their brand—they infuse love and cheerfulness in everything they do!
As for Justin’s Nut Butters, I learned that the little details can make a big difference. The company’s eponymous founder, Justin Gold, originally marketed his nutty squeeze packs with an “energy pack” label, and they were placed next to the energy bars on Whole Foods’ shelves. But they weren’t selling. So he took out the “energy pack” label and called up the buyer at Whole Foods to request they be placed on the shelf next to the peanut butter. And voila—sales took off!
With the perfect mix of advice and narrative, this is a great guide for aspiring food entrepreneurs. My only issue” I wish I could have read even more about the companies! Each chapter boils down to approximately 20 pages (heh, get it?), and I found myself wanting to know even more about their stories. (Other companies include Kopali Organics, Tasty, Evol, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mamma Chia, Hint, Popchips, Cameron Hughes Wine and Vosges Haut-Chocolate). Hofstetter did an awesome job with capturing the energy of each brand. I look forward to following these brands as their success progresses. If you have any extra time over your holiday break, I would definitely recommend reading this book!