To help everyone get better acquainted with Wheat Free Market Foods, the company commercializing foods consistent with the Wheat Belly arguments, I asked Gary, founder and CEO, to tell us more.
WB: What made you decide to start this company?
Gary: Well, I happened to be one of the early readers of Wheat Belly back in 2011 and experienced tremendous success with it very quickly. In a matter of months, I dropped 55 lbs, but before that I was most amazed by the lack of hunger I was experiencing. I soon realized that this was a game-changer. I posted this on your blog on September 22, 2011.
The health benefits I experienced are too numerous to list, but included many of the “typical” things, like vastly improved energy, better sleep, no afternoon fog, hip pain went away, and clearer and smoother skin. But, most of all, I experienced relief from what must have been irritable bowel syndrome. Heck, I didn’t even know I had it until I realized what “normal” felt like. I tell people I would give it all back, even the weight loss, if I could just keep the digestive relief! At the end of the day, I thought that, if a guy like me could have this kind of life-changing success, many others could as well, but people would need help with convenient food products and there were just none out there, thus Wheat-Free Market Foods.
WB: How is the launch going?
Gary: It is going very well and the response on the whole has been very favorable and we are getting repeat orders, which is very validating A few people have some issues with sweeteners, generally, and we are working on products using different sweeteners or even none at all.
WB: Which product is the biggest hit?
Gary: I’d have to say either the granola or the chocolate chip cookies. The response was so positive for the granola that we are currently working on adding another flavor, a blueberry vanilla. People have been coming back and ordering anywhere from 4 to even 10 bags at a time!
WB: Why hot sauces?
Gary: I am originally from Texas and spicy and flavorful foods are a way of life for me. But the longer and further I went down this path of healthy eating, I realized that I was getting reactions to many of the hot sauces and other condiments and dressings out there and they are just ripe with chemicals such as dyes, preservatives like sodium benzoate, and thickeners like modified food starch and maltodextrin. As much as I like all of our products, I would have to say that my favorite is the Chipotle Hot Sauce. It is simple and natural and that really comes through in its flavor. One woman wrote to me that her husband said it is one of the best hot sauces he has ever had.
WB: What is next?
Gary: In the next week or two, we should have some real Wheat Belly favorites: a flaxseed wrap mix and three “Muffin Makers.” They are all single serving mix packets and are ready in minutes if you use the microwave. Our “Muffin Makers” are based upon the muffin-in-a-minute recipes that so many people enjoy. The flaxseed wrap mix is cool in that you can make a wrap, or double the cooking time and have pita crisps, or re-bake it with your favorite toppings for a small pizza. We are also working on crackers and a baking/coating mix.
WB: Do you plan to be in stores?
Gary: Absolutely, but we have to learn to walk before we can run, and it takes a lot of capital to have that kind of production capacity. With the support of Wheat Bellyers on our retail online platform – and may I repeat, WITH THE SUPPORT OF WHEAT BELLYERS (did I say that loud enough?) – we should be able to get the necessary capital to broaden products and get into stores. That is, that we can show there is a demand for our products.
WB: What about shipping to Canada?
Gary: We are trying to get a handle on that – costs, shipping times, etc. In some respects, it’s easy to just box something and mail it to another country, but what are the ultimate costs to the consumer? If it takes much longer, are there product integrity issues related to shipping? So there is a lot to consider. We just shipped a few cookie packs to a well-known Wheat Bellyer from the Facebook page to see how things would go. It took seven days, but all arrived in good condition and he and his wife loved the products. But it cost roughly $13 in postage for what amounts to $15 of cookies. We are exploring shipping our products in bulk to either Toronto or Montreal (where my son and Wheat Free Market Foods order fulfillment summer laborer extraordinaire will be in college in the Fall) and then handling shipping by Canada Post. That may ultimately make it a more affordable proposition for Canadian customers. I recognize our Canadian friends’ contribution to the Wheat Belly movement, and I really want them to have access to our products, but we just happen to be in the US as that’s where I live.
WB: Is there anything you want your customers to know?
Gary: That we hate shipping charges as much as anyone and that we do not make any profit on shipping. We made a decision early-on to price our products where they need to be relative to how much they cost us to make. There is a propensity for e-commerce businesses to trump up prices and then not charge for shipping. But we would like to be in stores so we believe the retail price point needs to be what it needs to be, regardless of how the product gets to the consumer. We decided to just charge a flat rate and see what happens. On average, we are spot-on postage-wise, but subsidize a couple of dollars on most orders either on excess postage or packaging materials.
WB:Thanks, Gary. Congratulations on your successful launch! The Wheat Free Market Foods website can be found here.