By Sally Jones (Co-Founder, Giddy)
How many times have you heard your friends complain about the challenge of finding healthy on-the-go snacks for their kids? We realized moms everywhere were sick and tired of feeling guilty over the snacks they gave their kids and of fighting with them over what they could and couldn’t eat. That’s when the inspiration struck… why should only the junky, artificial snacks be fun?
My fellow Giddy co-founder Jill and I met while attending business school and quickly bonded over a shared passion for all things health and wellness related. When we weren’t in class you could find us training for our next triathlon or planning a festive dinner party with friends. We worked on a few business plans together but ended up pursuing more traditional paths after graduation. The entrepreneurial inkling was strong though, and a few years later we found ourselves brainstorming various ventures that aligned with our personal interests and itching to take the entrepreneurial leap.
As we began to research the kids snack market, we quickly noticed that while there was no shortage of fun snacks for kids, most of these were the same options available when we were young and loaded with artificial ingredients. On the other end of the spectrum, when you walked down the snack aisle at a natural / specialty grocery store, it seemed like all the fun had been sucked out of the kids’ offerings. Why not bring the fun to wholesome by tapping into the fact that kids love to play with their food… voila.
We arrived at Giddy’s snacktivity platform — interactive snacks that are dipped, peeled, spread or created. By offering up fun, interactive snacks made with real wholesome ingredients, we felt we could create a differentiated and compelling offering.
Validating The Idea
Our first big undertaking was to conduct some primary research to validate the market opportunity and to create a value proposition that would resonate with moms. We conducted an online survey with over 500 parents of elementary age kids along with a large number of focus groups.
One of the biggest takeaways was that over 85% of parents were dissatisfied with existing snack options for their children. We also were able to understand specifically what moms were looking for in healthier snacks by taking the time to do this research up front.
Confident that this was a real opportunity, we set out to raise a seed round to fund Giddy’s first year of operations. We got some great early exposure through Women 2.0’s annual pitch competition where we were fortunate enough to be selected as finalists and given the chance to present our vision for Giddy.
Product Development – in a Kitchen!
From there we had our very humble start at product development. Working with a chef friend, we whipped up some samples in our kitchen and started traipsing all over the Bay Area conducting taste test with kids.
We quickly learned that we needed the help of an expert and engaged a food scientist. We had the vision of a dipping snack that was a combination of whole grains and real fruit based on all our research and she helped bring this to life. She was also instrumental in knowing how to take a home recipe and scale it up so that it would be viable with a large scale commercial manufacturer.
Quitting Our Day Jobs: The First Product Launch
We started off with a regional launch, focusing here in the Bay Area so that we could establish local proof of concept with minimal spend and so that we could retain as much flexibility as possible. Our goal was to show strong sales in about 30 stores and to feel confident that the dip’ems line and the broader snacktivity platform were well aligned with moms’ needs.
We were also committed to building a grass roots brand and knew that we wanted to be able to really invest in local community events that align with giddy’s mission. This strategy proved to work very well for us as we were able to make some modifications to the product and packaging after getting early in market feedback. Now, a little over a year later, we’re currently selling in about 70 natural and specialty grocery stores in the Bay Area!
Partnership Anouncements: Virgin America and Target
And, to top it all off, we had a couple really exciting partnership opportunities that we never anticipated having at this early stage. Last fall we were approached by the head of catering at Virgin America about including dip’ems as part of a new kids offering (our catchy packaging had caught his eye when he was shopping at his local Mollie Stones), and as of May we’re available on all domestic flights.
We’re also extremely giddy about our upcoming launch in Target! We’ll be launching a test in three markets starting June 5th, and if that goes well, Giddy will be rolled out nationally next spring. Our vision for Giddy is to be the wholesome and fun alternative that has mass market appeal so we couldn’t be more pleased with the Target launch.
So, what’s next?
We’re now gearing up for some major expansion and are eager to spread out snacktivity fun to more families. This fall we plan to launch in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. We’re also busily finalizing our second snacktivity, a mock peanut butter dipping snack that’s 100% school safe. Given the increasing prevalence of peanut allergies and the number of schools banning peanut butter, we think there’s a tremendous opportunity for a product like this. From our research we also know moms are eager for more high protein convenient snack options. We plan to launch this line late summer, so stay tuned!
Keep an eye out for Giddy Snackivities on Bay Area grocery shelves like Whole Foods, Mollie Stones, Andronico’s, Lunardi’s, New Leaf, Draeger’s and you can always find us online as Amazon.
We’d love to hear what you think, so please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the guest blogger: Sally Jones is Co-Founder of Giddy Snacks. has deep experience building and growing consumer brands through her work as a brand consultant and through her marketing roles with companies such as Avon, Chandon, and GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to giddy Sally also spent several years in sales which comes in handy when pitching giddy to grocery buyers and curious consumers. Sally holds a B.S. in Biology from Emory University and an MBA from Stanford University.