Looking for a quick low FODMAP breakfast or snack?
Editor’s Note: Since we conducted this interview, Enjoy Life dropped their licensing agreement with FODMAP Friendly. In discussions with the brand it is believed that they have not changed any of their formulations. Therefore, products that were certified low FODMAP at one point in time would still be low FODMAP. As always, eat to your tolerances.
Enjoy Life, headquartered in Chicago, IL, is the leading brand in the growing Free-From category, and they have put 19 products through low FODMAP certification, which is great news for all of us FODMAPers.
How about making the perfect gluten free and low FODMAP crust for your Key Lime Pie?
We had the opportunity to speak with Kasey Moss, Senior Brand Manager and DeeDee McCoy, Senior Associate Brand Manager. We are thrilled to be able to bring you an in-depth look at this company and the visionaries who are driving their low FODMAP message.
Meet Kasey and Deedee
Dédé: Kasey and DeeDee, thank you so much for taking the time to talk about Enjoy Life. We are huge fans of your products and want to make sure that everyone in our FODMAP community knows about your offerings, your brand promises and your mission.
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about how Enjoy Life first launched and why.
Kasey: Enjoy Life was a class project started by two bankers during their MBA program at Northwestern University here in Illinois! One of the co-founder’s mothers was diagnosed with MS and at the time, it was recommended that eliminating gluten would help with her symptoms. About that same time, the FDA declared the 8 food allergens (wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) made up of 90% of all food allergies in the US, so we decided to be free from them all – and more!
DeeDee: Since 2001, the brand promise and mission has remained the same. It’s exciting to be a part of a brand that is a trusted leader and making such a positive impact on the lives of many. Jumping ahead in Enjoy Life’s history, in 2016 we were able to build a brand new 200,000 sq foot manufacturing facility in Jeffersonville, IN which is North America’s largest allergy-friendly bakery! Our team works tirelessly to ensure the quality and safety of our products.
When did you become aware of the low FODMAP diet? Was it an immediate light-bulb moment that your company should market products to FODMAPers?
Kasey: Specialty diets have always been on our radar – we are ingredient focused whether or not you have food allergies. We have been involved with organizations that help treat other health related issues such as ADHD, Autism, Inflammation, etc.
About 2 years ago, we hit the ground running and partnered with The FODMAP Friendly Food Program to see what we needed to do get an ‘official’ certification.
DeeDee: As a trusted brand for the gluten-free and allergy-friendly community, recent research shows overlap in diagnosis for people with Celiac Disease and IBS.
The low FODMAP diet has been on our radar for quite a while. It was a natural progression for us to pursue the FODMAP Friendly Certification to begin the evaluation process for our products.
Our team was very excited to learn that we had a large selection of products that qualified as low-FODMAP and we are continuing to share this news with those battling digestive issues.
You have 25 products lab-certified as low FODMAP by FODMAP Friendly. Let’s talk about certification a little bit.
Did you have products already on the shelves that you then took through certification? Or did you develop products specifically with certification in mind?
Kasey: We had quite a few products that already met the requirements of the certification. All products we’ve launched since becoming certified have been sure to meet the requirements as well, such as our Breakfast Ovals. We definitely will be incorporating the requirements into future innovation as well.
And you can find all of their low FODMAP products in our Amazon Shop! (USA) And now available through our Shop!
Why was it important to you to have low FODMAP certification?
Kasey: Anyone who has to follow a specialty diet – whether because of an allergy, intolerance or other health related issue – should be able to eat freely without worry, that’s what we strive for with our products, brand and mission!
DeeDee: Over the years, we received many questions from consumers about whether our products were low FODMAP and at the same time, we’ve seen IBS diagnoses on the rise.
We take our consumer inquiries very seriously and wanted to be able to provide them with a true list of products that have gone through a thorough evaluation.
Our team investigated ways to evaluate which products would qualify as low FODMAP and submitted them to the FODMAP Friendly organization for review. Not only did we learn which products qualified, we gained knowledge for future product development.
In addition, we partner with many Registered Dietitians and other healthcare professionals who are in the unique position of guiding consumers to safe foods, either at the point of care or following a diagnosis.
The response to our recent certification has been tremendous as now they can recommend many of our products as meeting the dietary needs of even more of their clients.
Tell us about your Gluten-Free and Non-GMO designations, as well as your promise of being free of 14 allergens.
Kasey: We are the leading brand in the growing Free-From category, featuring a robust portfolio of Certified Gluten Free and Non-GMO Project Verified products that are free-from 14 common allergens – wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, egg, sesame, sulfites, lupin, mustard, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.
The full Enjoy Life line-up includes cookies, snack bars, chocolate bars, baking chocolate, seed and fruit mixes, protein bites and lentil chips, all available in natural and conventional grocers and mass retailers throughout the United States and Canada. Our packaging is bright teal – an effort to shed a positive spotlight on food allergies.
Acknowledging that teal is the recognized color of food allergy awareness, the colorful and consistent design creates a cohesive brand block on shelf, making it easy for ingredient-conscious shoppers to find our 80+ products within the traditional supermarket aisles.Our mission and brand promise is to deliver safe, better-for-you products free-from food allergens, but not free-from taste so everyone can Enjoy Life and Eat Freely! Click To Tweet
Your products are verified as free of wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, egg, sesame, sulfites, lupin, mustard, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.
Can you explain the lupin and mustard? I think those inclusions will be a surprise for many.
Kasey: You don’t put mustard in your cookies? 😉 The reason we mention certain allergens, such as lupin, mustard, fish, etc. is because that the FDA, Health Canada, and the regulations in the EU all have different allergens that they consider to be most ‘common’ for their region. We decided to be free from all of them!
Your FODMAP designation has come along well into your brand’s existence. Were you hearing from customers that they wanted low FODMAP products.
Kasey: Yes! Our consumers make a HUGE impact into our innovation as well as our product certifications. We always want to make it as easy as possible to read labels and find the right Enjoy Life products that are a good fit for each individual consumer.
On our website, you can even filter by diet (paleo, low FODMAP, vegan, kosher, etc.) to help you navigate which products will work for you! Transparency is key for us with our consumers.
Do you have a typical customer? Do your customers have a lot of overlap in digestive needs?
Kasey: Our core consumers are those with food allergies, or those that have children with food allergies. Outside of food allergies, our typical consumer will follow some type of speciality diet, or just be looking for better-for-you, clean treats!
What is the future of low FODMAP products coming from Enjoy Life?
Kasey: It’s our little secret! 😁
DeeDee: Kasey likes suspense! We plan to continue educating consumers and creating awareness around our current low FODMAP products, while listening to their feedback about what types of products are on their wish lists.
Do you have a low FODMAP product you wish Enjoy Life would offer? Tell us in the comments section below!
Tell us where folks can find your products in addition to your website.
Kasey: Our products can be found nationwide in US and Canada at retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Walmart, Target, etc. Or online at Amazon.com!