Archive for the ‘Mary’s Gone crackers’ tag

MKTG INC’s Gone Crackers for Mary’s Gone Crackers

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In our guest-columnist series, we share insights from some of our favorite staff, clients and industry experts. This month we highlight Mary Waldner, chairman and founder of MKTG INC client Mary’s Gone Crackers.

MARY_WITH_BOX[1]How did Mary’s Gone Crackers get started?

After my celiac diagnosis in 1994, I started creating gluten-free versions of baked goods. I developed the crackers and would bring a bag of them wherever I went.  Then others started asking for them. I woke up one morning with the clear message that we needed to manufacture the crackers. Thus began an incredible five-year journey that led to Mary’s Gone Crackers.

This is the company’s 10th anniversary. How has the gluten-free industry changed over the last decade?

When we first started, the gluten-free world was very small — determined and vocal, but not well known. Most restaurants didn’t know what gluten was. There are still very few organic choices in the gluten-free category, and most companies use the same highly refined ingredients. But some mainstream companies have gotten onboard: Rice Chex became gluten-free a few years ago, and Betty Crocker and King Arthur Flour have gluten-free mixes. But there is still the perception that gluten-free is somehow healthier, which is not usually true. Replacing gluten-containing refined food—bagels, pizza, cookies, donuts—with gluten-free versions is not healthier. People who are ill from eating gluten will feel better eating gluten-free, for sure. But that’s a long way from eating whole, real food.

You’ve brought some new products to market recently – new graham crackers and Everything Pretzel. How do you determine what’s next?

Generally we look for food that we’d want to eat. We consult data to find potential categories – there’s room in the gluten-free and organic sectors for great-tasting and more nourishing versions of popular foods.

Tell us about your new partner, Kameda Seika.

Kameda Seika is the largest rice cracker company in Japan, a publicly traded company. They bought 80% of our company and Dale and I have retained the remaining 20%. It has been wonderful partnering with them. They support our vision 100%. They also specialize in manufacturing, which is where we need a lot of help.

Women in business – how has that dynamic evolved in the last 10 years?

There is progress in that women are starting companies, at least in the food industry. At the same time, there is little progress in terms of how men treat women. Being the only woman on our board for most of our 10 years, I have been treated in ways that I think are familiar to other women — as invisible, as though I’m speaking a language that no one else speaks, and often as if I’m not speaking at all. It took me a while to understand what was going on and learn how to respond. There’s lots to talk about in this area.

Knowing the past 10 years have been an amazing journey; what is your favorite memory in building this company?

Wow, there are so many: winning the Most Outstanding Cracker award in 2008 and getting my picture taken with Jacques Pepin; listening to Oprah talk about her favorite foods including “my Mary’s Crackers”; reading thousands of emails from people grateful for how our products have improved their lives; getting to love an incredible team of people who are committed to growing our company; expanding my world in unimaginable ways.

What’s next for you and the company?

Some great new products — granola that is unique and fabulous; fig bars and other filled bars; expanding our market into Europe and other countries; improving production as we expand.

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The Fit Expo Goes Crackers

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The Fit Expo Southern California is a festival hosting a line-up of fitness, physique, martial arts and strength contests. Now in its 11th year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, The Fit Expo attracted over 48,000 attendees to experience the latest and greatest in fitness equipment, sports nutrition, health products, sports apparel and personal care products. With attendance continually expanding (increase of 11,000 from last year), the Fit Expo has become a hub for niche fitness brands to gain exposure to their target demographics.

Mary’s Gone Crackers, providing gluten-free, organic & vegan products, truly found a market in fitness that is working in the company’s favor. Consumers heavily invested in having a healthy lifestyle are looking for ways to snack healthy.  Mary’s Gone Crackers was able to provide a sampling experience at The Fit Expo, where attendees swarmed to enjoy “guilt-free” crackers, cookies and pretzels.

In addition, attendees were able to enjoy a giveaway, where they could “buy” a box of crackers in return for a Like on Facebook.

The inspiring tagline, “You’ll never forget your first bite” left a great impression with attendees to venture into the closest organic retail store to purchase the great-tasting snacks.

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Cracking Mary’s Gone Crackers

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marys_three_productsPhoto Credit: Mary’s Gone Crackers

Recently, I had the honor of joining the MKTG INC team in San Francisco as creative director after we pitched and successfully won the Mary’s Gone Crackers account. The more I found out about the brand, the more drawn I was to the vision of founder Mary Waldner.

I attended a talk by Mary earlier this month in San Francisco where she gave an impassioned speech on the trials and hurdles of starting her own business from her kitchen and building it into one of the most successful organic brands today. Mary had been diagnosed with celiac disease (an allergy to gluten) that prompted her to start making her own gluten-free, organic, vegan food to bring to events, parties and picnics. Her friends remarked that her snacks were tasty and so she began the journey to produce them for market. Leaving behind the comfort of her therapy practice of 20 years, Mary and her husband Dale devoted 10 years to building the beloved brand.

Her mission was to change the way people looked at what they eat, rid cupboards of toxic food and help heal the planet. You couldn’t help but admire Mary for taking a bad situation, persevering and making a positive change in the world. As an organic-eating, vegetarian, working on the Mary’s Gone Crackers brand was kismet.

After the MKTG INC San Francisco office was awarded the business, it became clear how we could make a change in the world; to help Mary’s Gone Crackers become a household name here and abroad. We want to educate people on the power of healthy, organic eating that transforms not only people’s lives but also the health of the planet. To be able to work with the MKTG INC team, apply my craft and make a difference in the world is like having my cracker and eating it too.

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Written by trose
trose

July 22nd, 2013 at 2:56 pm