It’s Friday and we are bringing you another exciting edition of our Where Food Comes From Storybit blog! This week we get to explore a treat unlike any other, a treat that takes pistachios from a local California family farm and turns them into something even more interesting, healthy and delicious than normal pistachios – and who doesn’t already love pistachios?! We’d like to introduce you to ProNutz, the company behind a very different kind of mouthwatering snack food!
The ProNutz Story
While finishing up her last year of law school in 2013, Shauna Ahmadian had the passionate, brilliant idea for ProNutz. During her last semester, Shauna felt that her calling was elsewhere. The calling that she felt led her back to her roots and her family’s pistachio farm in Bakersfield, California. But Shauna didn’t just jump right into the family business. Instead, she felt compelled to utilize her family’s pistachios by entering an untapped area of the food industry. Everyone loves pistachios, so she wanted to come up with a line of pistachios that were different than what the current market was offering. Shauna started coming up with different ideas and then the lightbulb went off. Why not add probiotics to the pistachios? At the time, probiotics were just starting to make its way into the market, primarily in supplement forms. Some yogurts and drinks had started to add it to their recipes as well, but no one was adding probiotics into other types of foods.
The following weekend, Shauna went to Costco and purchased a pound of pistachios, chocolate and probiotics. She immediately went to work like a mad scientist, trying to formulate the perfect recipe. Her mother’s kitchen quickly turned into her test lab. After several attempts, she ended up with a batch of chocolate covered pistachios with added probiotics. Everyone was pleasantly surprised how tasty the final product was. Once she figured out that it was doable, she contacted a food chemist, so she could finalize and fine tune the recipe.
Fast forward six months and Shauna was sitting in a warehouse with more than two thousand pounds of chocolate yogurt covered pistachios. This was a great start, but there was one problem. Shauna didn’t have the slightest idea about all the ends and outs of the food industry, nor did she know how to get her product into the hands of consumers. She may have lacked some experience, but there were two things she was good at, never giving up and figuring out ways in, even when all the doors were closed. Despite some doubting her and implying that she may fail; she used that negativity to push her forward.
Over the course of the next five years, she added five new flavors, and managed to distribute products in Japan and Canada in addition to selling direct across the United States. One of the biggest hurdles was getting products into distribution in the US. retail stores. The stores would take your product if you were in distribution, but distributors wouldn’t take your product if you weren’t in retail stores. Sounds confusing, right? After years and years of trying, ProNutz finally started distributing in March 2018,.
After receiving the first welcome email from her distributors, Shauna knew they needed to get certified. They knew their ingredients were top notch, and that Non-GMO certification was in demand, so she looked into the Non-GMO certifications. After much research, she determined that there was no better way to demonstrate their quality than with the Non-GMO Project verified symbol. So, after even more research, Shauna found ICS, a division of Where Food Comes From, that specializes in Organic and Non-GMO certification. To be honest, the first time around Shauna was too overwhelmed to commit, but one year later she contacted ICS again and began right where she left off. She says the ICS team was fantastic to work with, and made it less scary and overwhelming than she originally thought.
Shauna knows that consumers who purchase ProNutz feel confident about snacking on their pistachios and she’s proud that they trust her product. Keep both your gut and your taste buds happy by snacking on ProNutz! Don’t forget, not only are they healthy and tasty, but you’re also supporting a small business AND a dream. So next time, forget the chips and grab a tasty and healthy alternative – a bag of ProNutz!
With love from the team at ProNutz, they hope their products find their way from their farms to your homes! Be sure to follow ProNutz on their social media pages below and check out their website to learn more about their delicious product.