Name: Melanie Gong
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Specialty: We create no sugar added, nut and seed based snacks that are specifically designed for people with diabetes.
The problem does your business solve: Most snacks, even the “healthy” ones, are made with a lot of sugar or artificial ingredients. We give people a convenient, healthy snack option made with natural ingredients and zero added sugar.
What makes your business unique: We do not use different and deceptive names for sugar to trick people into thinking the food is healthy. When we say our product has zero added sugar, it actually does. We use different fibers, instead of syrup, to bind all the natural ingredients together. This makes Hi-FiBar an excellent source of fiber too!
How you got your start: Hi-FiBar was started for my mom who was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes last year. We looked everywhere to find snacks that fit her new dietary restrictions but couldn’t find anything. Even the “healthy” snacks are high in sugar or packed full of artificial ingredients. There were no good options for her. So I decided to use my food science training to create a new product for her. We offer five flavors of health bars and granola, including: Pumpkin Spice Orange, Coconut Cranberry, Lemon Zest & Blueberry, Smoked Paprika and our new flavor Matcha Tea Ginger. Hi-FiBar products are healthy and delicious and my mom loves them!
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Start working on your formula and have a focus group of fans to try it early on, before scaling up.
What you wish you had known before you started your business: I wish I had known how much work is needed on the day-to-day business operations. When I was in school, I basically lived in the lab and did not pay any attention to learning about entrepreneurship. I wish I had learned more about the accounting, legal, and marketing aspects of creating a food business..
Your greatest challenge in your business: My greatest challenge was starting small and having to compete with big brands who have larger marketing budgets and economies of scale. I have to convince people to give my locally made, small batch snack a try.
What you're most proud of about your business: I’m proud to have been picked up by a couple of local stores and about having repeat customers.
What’s yummy about being a food entrepreneur: I love that I get to play with different flavors in the test kitchen and that I'm learning something new every day.
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