Weld County beans used exclusively in Colorado snack product
Where to buy Crunchy Bean Snacks
Snack Out Loud’s Crunchy Bean Snacks are currently sold across the Denver Metro area and at several locations in Fort Collins and Loveland. Only one Weld County retailer, a 7-Eleven in Erie, currently sells the beans, but Snack Out Loud CEO Liz Myslik said the company would love to expand into Greeley. To find a location or order Snack Out Loud’s Crunchy Bean Snacks, visit their website at http://www.snackoutloud.com.
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The beans grown in Weld County often find their way into stomachs around the world.
Snack Out Loud, a company based in Louisville, is looking to make sure they are feeding people in the United States, too.
About a quarter of the bean production in the U.S. is exported, according to a Sept. 30 report from the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that analyzed production trends from 2008-13.
As the country’s ninth-largest producer, Colorado harvested about 37,000 metric tons of beans per year from 2009-13, or about 3 percent of the nation’s beans.
Though one small company in Colorado cannot change the entire bean market, Liz Myslik, chief bean for Snack Out Loud, said the company wants to support local producers and help them keep some of their products closer to home.
“We’re providing these beans a way to stay in the United States, to be enjoyed by people here,” Myslik said. “We did meet directly with some of the farmers last year when we started. They told us most of the beans they grow are actually exported to Mexico, Central America, South America, because the market for beans, especially these high quality beans, just isn’t here in the United States right now. They’re very excited, too, to see the crops that they work so hard to grow to be enjoyed by consumers here in America.”
Snack Out Loud’s Crunchy Bean Snacks are roasted pinto beans and are a gluten-free and nut-free snack that is high in protein and fiber while low in fat and calories. The company sources 100 percent of its beans from Weld County farmers.
“We’re extremely proud to work with Weld County farmers to make this great product,” Myslik said. “As we grow and as we expand, we look forward to having more and more people around the country taste our beans and know more about the great crops that come out of Weld County.”
The company decided to use beans as its primary ingredient in an effort to create a high-protein, plant-based snack, something Myslik said is lacking in the market. Once Snack Out Loud made that decision, sourcing as close to home as possible just made sense. Myslik said the company has always strived to keep its carbon footprint small and its benefit to the local economy large.
“We figured, why go elsewhere when we can buy it at home?” she said. “We really wanted to support our local economy and local farmers.”
To get their beans, Snack Out Loud works with Lucerne-based Northern Feed and Bean, a company that has been working with local growers since 1953.
Northern Feed and Bean’s business relationship with Snack Out Loud’s founding company, Fresca Foods, began about two years ago, according to Larry Lande, general manager for Northern Feed and Bean.
“When they approached us a couple years ago, we weren’t really sure how it was going to fly, but we really got enthused about working with them and supplying them the product and letting them go to work on their professionalism and skill on trying to turn beans into a snack food,” Lande said. “It sounds like they’re doing a pretty good job in trying to get this developed and marketed.”
Since the company is still small and growing, Lande said that many growers don’t know that their beans are going into the local snack, but Snack Out Loud’s idea of supporting local companies and opportunities for beans is reciprocated.
“The thing is, we knew it was going to take a while, we knew it wasn’t going to be big volume, and that wasn’t going to be a problem,” Lande said. “I think the thing was just developing, and patience over a period of time. We hope it’s going to turn into something quite a bit bigger for both companies.”
And though Lande also said the economic impact on the growers has yet to be seen, that is to be expected when starting something new.
“All good things got to start somewhere at some time,” he said. “And from there, they grow into something bigger and better.” ❖
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