Snacking on the All-American Superfoods with Beanfields’ Siri Baldeep Kaur

November 26, 2014

JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome to another edition of Green is Good. We’re so excited to have with us Siri Baldeep Kaur. She’s the National Field Marketing Manager for Beanfields bean and rice chips. You can find them at www.beanfieldssnacks.com. Welcome to Green is Good, Siri. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Thank you very much. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Siri, before we get talking about Beanfields bean and rice chips and all that you’re doing there as the National Field Marketing Manager, please share your story on your journey leading up to taking this position, what you did before, and why you were excited to be involved with this company and this family who owns this company. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Absolutely. I started my journey in food and health and awareness and consciousness of what we put in our bodies by traveling throughout the world, actually. I lived in West Africa and in India, and I was always interested in empowerment and how people got healthy and felt good. It always came down to foods they were eating and the preparation. That led me into studying herbal medicine and becoming more conscious of what I was putting in my body and how what I did impacted the environment. I went to school and studied herbal medicine, and I’m also a yoga teacher. It just so happens that one of my teachers is the CFO of our company. We met and I had been very interested in natural foods and the whole industry. It worked out that I could come in. I came into Beanfields about two years ago, and it’s been a really wonderful journey ever since. JOHN SHEGERIAN: When did the company start? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: The company started three-and-a-half years ago. It was just started in the kitchen of Reed and Liza’s home. Liza made the first batch of bean chips in their oven, and now here we are, a national and international brand. JOHN SHEGERIAN: These chips that are right in front of me that look so yummy, they’re all vegan. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: They’re all vegan, yes. There’s no dairy at all in any of our products. JOHN SHEGERIAN: How many different flavors do you have right now? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: We have seven flavors, everything from unsalted to a super delicious creamy vegan ranch, nacho, pico de gallo, all sorts of different ones. JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s owned by a family you said. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: It’s owned by a family, yes, two brothers who have been in the natural food industry for combined, probably 30 to 40 years. They’ve worked at every level of natural foods, and finally decided to come out with this brand and are just very committed. Our founder has been a vegan for over 20 years, our main founder, Reed Glidden. We’re really vegan with a purpose, and that’s a huge part about this family-ran company, is that we create chips such as the cool ranch flavor or the nacho flavor, that are kind of like those Dorito favorites that you might have grown up on, but we’ve changed them to be vegan and healthy. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Vegan with a purpose. I love that. So, it’s a family-run business, and you’re located here in Los Angeles, where we’re taping the show from, from the Green Festivals. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Yeah, we’re right here in Los Angeles, about 10 to 15 miles from here, so no big deal. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s awesome. So, is this the first Green Festival that Beanfields bean and rice chips has been at? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Not at all. We’ve been participating in Green Fest for about three years. This is one of our first years where we’re doing all of them this year, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. We love Green Fest. It’s the best place to really get in touch with our consumers and the people, and have that grassroots connection with people to really have them taste the product. It gives us a lot of encouragement to see their wow and excitement over our products. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Obviously, it’s been a successful partnership for you because, now, what stores are you being carried in? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: We’re all over. You can find us here on the West Coast in Whole Foods or Sprouts. We just launched in Gelson’s, any of the natural foods stores, the co-op, Fresh and Easy. Throughout the country, we’re available in various Whole Foods Markets. There’s a couple areas where we’re still working to get into, but mainly the natural markets all around you can find us. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Being at the Green Festivals has not only been a B2C venture, trying to reach the consumer, but also a B2B. You’ve gotten exposure to the retailers who are now carrying your brand. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Absolutely. I think one of the main things is that we give away lots of coupons and all of our fans go into the stores and say, “I want this,” and show them the coupon. It has helped us to get some placement in various stores. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s awesome. That is really exciting. Let’s talk a little bit about your great products. For our listeners who just joined us, we’re so honored to have with us today Siri Baldeep Kaur. She’s the National Field Marketing Manager for Beanfields bean and rice chips. You can find their great products online at www.beanfieldssnacks.com. Siri, talk a little bit about the quality of the products you have. We already talked about vegan, but why is Beanfields GMO-free? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Sure. Well, before we go into that detail, the main thing about Beanfields that really sets us apart from other chip brands that’s really incredible to know is that we’re made from primarily beans and rice. There’s no corn in our product. There’s no wheat in our product. It’s just beans and rice, the all-American superfood, as we like to call it. We really believe in the non-GMO-verified products. It’s really important to us. There are so many products out there that are made from corn that not only are they empty carbohydrates and not really giving energy and fuel to the body, it’s, obviously, as we all know, a really incredible stand to really stand up and make sure that we’re having the cleanest food possible. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Let’s go back to something you just said. There’s no corn and no wheat. That’s really, really important. In a world that’s now talking about reducing inflammation in your body because inflammation leads to a lot of autoimmune diseases, potentially even cancer and other bad diseases, chronic illnesses let’s just say, getting rid of these two products in our food cycle, in our ecosystem, corn and wheat have proven to be very inflammatory. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: They’re absolutely inflammatory. There are so many people, as we know now, who have chronic allergies to so much food out there. Some people don’t even realize why they’re feeling so lethargic or inflamed or tired or fatigued, and a lot of it could be the possibility of too much corn, especially GMO corn and wheat. Again, we use beans because they have so much protein and so much fiber. Corn also is a really tough crop on the environment. It uses a lot of water. Beans use so little water to actually produce. They also fix the nitrogen in the soil, so they’re actually giving health and nutrients to our Earth. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Let’s talk a little bit about the protein. So many people who are considering going from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet are always worried that you can’t get enough protein through a plant-based diet. The stats on your chips is just wonderful, given that their core is beans and rice. Talk a little bit about when you compare one ounce of your Beanfields chips versus one ounce of something that America probably thinks is very protein-rich, an egg. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Exactly. We all grew up having our scrambled egg or our hard-boiled egg. Beans really do have so much protein in them. They’re really sustainable protein in the body. They give the body so much energy and fuel, and they’re plant based. There’s no heaviness of an animal in there. Again, it’s just a really great protein that processes through the body really efficiently. JOHN SHEGERIAN: And, the same things goes for fiber. Compare one ounce of your chips versus something that everyone thinks has tons of fiber, cereal. Compare the grams of fiber in one of your chips versus one ounce of Raisin Bran. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: It’s a good double amount of fiber there. Our bag of chips, every ounce, which is about 13 to 17 chips, has 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. If you were to eat a whole bag of Beanfields, which is 6 ounces, you’re getting 24 grams of protein and fiber. They’re filling as well, where some of the corn or some cereals and whatnot, you can just keep eating and keep eating. These fill you up and give you that sustained energy. JOHN SHEGERIAN: When you talk to your customers out there, because you’re the National Field Marketing Manager, so you get to actually touch the customers, what would you say is the special sauce? Why do the people that eat your chips love your products? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: We talk so much about protein and non-GMO and gluten-free and vegan, but really, what defines these chips is you eat them and they taste amazing. It doesn’t matter if you are celiac or if you’re a committed vegan or if you eat junk food all day long. You’re going to love the taste of the chips. Sometimes I don’t even tell anyone what’s in them, and they try it, and they say, “Wow! Yum! It’s so delicious!” That’s really what it’s all about, is the taste and the texture. They’re all about taste. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Switching topics a little bit on the business side, because there are lots of people that listen to our show in the United States and, actually now, around the world that want to be the next either Siri, marketing your great product like this and changing the world that way, or they want to be the people who create a product like this. Talk a little bit about what’s gotten hot now in the business world, especially in recent time, is this whole new B Corp thing. Why is it important for Beanfields to be a B Corp? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: We’re a B Corp because we believe in awareness. We believe in awareness for the environment, for our employees, for the sustainability of our food industry. We just believe in really good values and that’s really what a B Corp is all about. It’s everything from recycling your batteries that you have to really valuing the personhood of your employees and the environment. It’s a lot to become a B Corp. They put you through a whole series of questions and check-ups on you and what not, and you become part of this B Corp, which other brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, other big, well-known brands that believe in social values and environmental values. It’s a big group of all of us who have those as the top of our mission. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow. I want to just say this. Your product is part of a new revolution of great foods now that are health for you, but as you say, not only vegan with a purpose, but also very tasty, really enjoyable. How far now do you feel that the colleagues that you work with, the family that you work with, are going to now take this product? How many different flavors and what other new products are you guys thinking of in terms of the growth of the company? SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: I’ve been with the company for two out of the three-and-a-half years that we’ve been around. What I think is so incredible is I don’t even know if we knew how big this would be and how well people would respond. We know these taste great, and we know that they work for people with allergens, and we know that the average person loves them. But it’s exciting to see us really grow throughout the country. We’re available now all throughout Canada. We have some Australian distribution here and there and Southeast Asian countries, so it’s exciting what has taken off. I think that, potentially, we’re just kind of scratching that surface. We just want to get people to try something that tastes great that they might have a fond memory as a child having chips, a certain type, and we just want to give them that nostalgia and that great feeling in a healthy way. We’re working it. There will always be new great things coming from Beanfields, so definitely keep your eyes open for them. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Siri, thank you for your time today. We really appreciate it. For our listeners out there, find, again, a store near you that sells these great products from Beanfields bean and rice chips. Please go to www.beanfieldssnacks.com. Vegan with a purpose, changing the world every day. Thank you so much, Siri Kaur. You are truly living proof that green is good. SIRI BALDEEP KAUR: Thank you so much.