Shari Leidich, founder of Two Moms in the Raw, began eating raw foods as a way to manage her health after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.


LAFAYETTE, COLO. — Raw is on the rise. Executives of the Kroger Co. recently named raw foods as a top trend in the natural and organic segment. Raw or living food products have not been cooked or exposed to temperatures over 118 degrees in order to preserve enzymes essential for biological processes in the body.

As raw foods heat up in the marketplace, Two Moms in the Raw is positioned to benefit. The Lafayette-based company makes granola bars, nut bars, sea crackers, truffles and cereal — all raw, sprouted, handmade, organic, gluten-free, vegan and kosher.

Shari Leidich, founder and vice-president of product development, first began making raw foods as a way to manage her health after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004.

“When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I found that a natural approach to healing, including a raw food diet, worked best for me,” Ms. Leidich said. “Because food was such an important part of my path of healing, it needed to be the highest quality, cleanest food possible.”

She sold her handmade raw snacks in the parking lot of her children’s school and at the Boulder Farmers Market before launching the company in 2006 with her mother, Marsha Koolik, and landing national distribution in such retailers as Whole Foods Market and Starbucks.

Each product contains a handful of organic ingredients, such as almonds, agave, matcha green tea and vanilla bean powder. The company soaks, germinates and rinses nuts, seeds and groats to maximize the product’s nutritional benefits.

Ms. Leidich offered a glimpse of her company’s product development process in an interview with Food Business News.

Food Business News: What's new from Two Moms in the Raw?

Shari Leidich: We are excited to have recently launched three new products from Two Moms in the Raw — a cacao nib nut bar, green tea vanilla truffle and cayenne cacao truffle. Like all of our products, these new ones are 100% organic, gluten-free, non-G.M.O., kosher, vegan, raw, sprouted and handmade. They are also delicious to boot.

This past July, we moved into a new manufacturing facility in Longmont, Colo., which has enabled us to continue to grow our business.

How does product development work at your company?

Ms. Leidich: I continue to lead the innovation process for Two Moms in the Raw. I’m inspired by what’s out there. I’m in grocery stores every day. I see what’s out there and what’s not. I also get lots of great feedback from our consumers, so we have insights into what they like, don’t like and need. It’s great inspiration.

From there, we head to the kitchen and start playing with flavors and making new snacks.

Two Moms in the Raw's product range includes granola bars, truffles, sea crackers and cereal.

How do you come up with new flavors and products?

Ms. Leidich: Taste is very important when we are working on new flavors and new products at Two Moms in the Raw. We believe that food can’t just be good for you. It needs to taste great, too.

Family is a huge part of our business, and my three kids have always been my main taste testers. I know I have a good product when I make a batch and the kids eat it all.

Have you tried products or flavors that simply did not work? What happened there?

Ms. Leidich: Of course. I’m always trying new things. Sometimes it’s a new flavor, sometimes it’s a totally new recipe. I share them with my kids and our team at the office. If they disappear, I know I’ve got something good. If they don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.

How do you explain your products to consumers who aren't familiar with raw or sprouted foods?

Ms. Leidich: We actually love to tell people that raw food is alive and that you can plant one of our snacks in the dirt and it will grow. Sprouting activates enzymes in raw foods, the same enzymes our bodies require for optimum health.

Our products are nutrient powerhouses. I think when people hear my story, they are more interested in how food can play a huge part in overall health.

What new categories do you see your company entering in the future?

Ms. Leidich: According to recent I.R.I. data, healthy snacking is on the rise. Because people are snacking more often for a variety of reasons, they have high expectations for their snacks. That is where we come in. Two Moms in the Raw products are a great choice because they have premium ingredients that taste good and are good for you.

We are always working on creating new recipes and great-tasting products for our customers, so stay tuned.