Think packaged food prep, and you'll likely envision a sterile assembly line manned by dead-eyed factory workers. Or not manned at all. Such is the general reality of our tech-heavy, mass-produced food system. But Eat4Life, a Miami-based company and creator of the Superfood bar, is just the opposite.
Even with distribution at more than 100 locations, co-owner and founder Ashanty Williams still makes the bars herself. Then, she and her team package the tasty bars to send all over South Florida (and to a couple of locations in other states). The growing company is all about vegan, gluten-free, raw treats that are good for the taste buds and the bod.
Williams was working at South Miami's M Cycle Gym when she was inspired to create her own healthful, superfood-infused treats. She used the gym members as informal tasters, including current partner, chef Lauren Feingold.
"I always wanted people's feedback, so I gave her some to try. She was a little hesitant at first -- I guess all chefs are like that! She finally tried it, and she was like, 'This is great. This is awesome!'"
Feingold then came on as cofounder.
"So we started doing this and teaching people different ways to eat better, teaching them it's a lifestyle, not a diet," Williams says.
Superfood bars come in four varieties: spirulina recovery, goji antioxidant, cacao power, and almond energy. Buy 'em online, and they're $41.99 for a box of 12.
The two have since put their heads together for a new bar, the Shanti (which means "peace and balance"), soon to hit stores. It's heavier on the plant-based protein, Williams says.
"We're going to use rice protein and pumpkin seed protein. This is going to be more of a balanced bar, more for the everyday gymgoer who's worrying more about carbs and sugar," Williams explains. "We will move into larger markets, but we always plan on keeping it with no preservatives, which has been our biggest struggle -- for the bar to last long without any refrigeration and no preservatives."
For the bar to go national, it needs a one-year shelf life. And they're getting there, Williams says.
No preservatives, no GMOs, no added sugar, no animal products, no gluten, no additives, no cooked ingredients -- and still amazingly delicious. Not to mention Williams is hands-on throughout the whole process.
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"I make them. I have two employees in the kitchen. We make them; we package them. Everything is under my control. I buy the ingredients, I source them, and make sure they come from good sources."
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.