Born out of a 3 a.m. brainstorming session by husband-and-wife founders Kate and Bryan Flynn, Sun & Swell Foods is quickly making a name for itself in the healthy-eating market. Though the couple has always been health-conscious, she struggled for nearly 20 years in her relationship with food. So when Kate finally kicked quick-fix diet fads in favor of whole foods, she never looked back.
“It was life-changing for me — I physically felt better than ever; I had more energy and a clear mind,” she explained. “And, most importantly, I mentally found food freedom. Eating was simple and enjoyable. Instead of viewing food as a necessary evil, I viewed it as a beautiful source of nourishment.”
Seeing where the packaged-food industry was headed, Kate knew she could find a way to profit off her passion. With skills in marketing, sales, and accounting — from which the couple had already built successful careers — they realized that creating a company was right up their alley.
A few months later, the Flynns packed up their San Francisco lives to settle in Santa Barbara, where they launched Sun & Swell Foods in September 2017. They’ve since transitioned from a small two-person company to overseeing more than 400 wholesale accounts, several employees, and a production facility.
Partnering with the Israeli company TIPA, Sun & Swell Foods dug their hands into compostable packaging. Nine months later, they launched their new packaging, becoming only one of two packaged-food companies to offer this environmentally conscious solution. They’re hoping to be fully transitioned by 2020.
“Our mission is to empower consumers to make better snacking choices for themselves and the planet,” said Kate, although just creating plant-based snacks wasn’t enough for the eco-conscious pair. “We quickly realized that there was another big problem in the packaged-food space: plastic waste. From ingredients to supplies to finished products, the entire supply chain of packaged food companies is very reliant on single-use plastics,” she explained.
Here are the flavors that you’ll soon find in those compostable bags:
Clean Cookie Bites: These vegan, gluten-free, organic, bite-sized snacks are free of added sugars and preservatives, earning them the “clean” in their title. The cookies come in four flavors: Oatmeal Cacao Chip, Double Cacao, Espresso, and Lavender. Each cookie has a base of dates, cashews, and oats that’s spiced up with different combinations of cinnamon, cacao, espresso, lemon, and lavender to give each bite its custom flavor. “In 2018, we started making the Clean Cookies because we felt the cookie category was lacking healthy options and we wanted to offer a healthy dessert,” said Kate.
Simple Snack Bites: “The Snack Bites were something I was making at home for myself,” said Kate, whose date and cashew bites satisfy when hunger strikes. From pre-workout energy to a grab-and-go breakfast, these 100-percent-organic snack bites will not only satisfy the taste buds but also keep you going throughout the day. The snack bites come in four flavors: Cinnamon, Cacao, Lemon Coconut, and Turmeric.
Nuts & Seeds: The roasted nut and seed mix is Sun & Swell’s answer to the savory demand. “We launched the Nut and Seed mix because we found it hard to find trail mixes on the market that didn’t have canola oil or added sugar in them,” said Kate. The sugarless and oil-free mix of pumpkin seeds, pistachios, cashews, and sea salt provides a mix of textures and roasted flavors in each bite.