“Meeting the needs of the consumer and meeting the needs of the environment sometimes is tricky.” – Kate Flynn
This week on the Gooder Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Kate Flynn, the founder and CEO of Sun & Swell Foods. We discuss the history of Sun & Swell Foods – one of the first food and snacking brands leading the way in the use of composable packaging. We also learn about the evolvement of sustainable packaging and Kate’s leadership in driving this hot topic. Along the way, we learn the amazing journey of a passionate leader in creating a more inclusive, accessible and affordable real food products for all consumers.
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In this episode we learn:
About the history and inspiration of Sun & Swell Foods.
Sun & Swell’s brand transition from a traditional CPG brand to a direct-to-consumer brand.
Kate’s journey from being a consultant in a firm focused on retail and consumer products to having a CPG brand herself.
The evolvement of compostable packaging technology.
How to create accessibility, affordability for mainstream consumers in the healthy food category.
The advice she finds herself consistently giving entrepreneurs who have family members or loved ones as their business partners.
About Kate Flynn:
In 2017, Kate Flynn, and her husband and co-founder, Bryan Flynn, launched their natural food company, Sun & Swell Foods. Their mission is to make healthy and sustainable eating more accessible with their collection of sustainably-packaged, organic, plant-based pantry staples and snacks. Sun & Swell is the first food company in the US to offer a wide array of healthy foods in compostable, plastic-free packaging.
With a background in business economics and nutrition and a penchant for creating her own healthy snacks, Kate brings a unique set of skills to Sun & Swell Foods. Early on, she pursued her academic career at UC Santa Barbara and graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School. Kate’s professional career included a consulting role as a brand strategist in the retail and consumer products space, where she focused on brand and growth strategy for various leading CPG brands. After spending nearly ten years in the consumer products world, she was looking to do something more purposeful and fulfilling that would positively impact the world. In 2017, Kate took a leap of faith to follow her real passion for health and wellness to start Sun & Swell Foods with Bryan.
Leading up to this, Kate had switched to a more natural lifestyle, including eating only ‘whole foods.’ She realized that eating a whole food diet made her feel better, both physically and mentally, and realized that she wanted to keep eating this way. However, when she looked around for packaged foods to accommodate this new way of eating, she realized there were no options available. Most packaged foods are made with artificial ingredients and loaded with added sugars, preservatives, and flavors. This realization sparked an idea, and Sun & Swell Foods was born.
When sourcing ingredients, Kate and her team buy organic ingredients as close to the source and farm as possible, seeking out small family farms. Sun & Swell is a Certified B-Corporation and a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of the revenue to environmental non-profits addressing two areas the founders are deeply passionate about: regenerative farming and ocean health.
When not running the company’s day-to-day, Kate loves frequenting Santa Barbara’s local farmers’ markets and beaches and spending time with her husband and newborn daughter, Leila. Kate is also a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert.
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