Millennials shaping the future of naturals

A new generation of entrepreneurs is quickly becoming a driving force in natural foods. Here’s a closer look at a few of the millennials who are innovators in the industry.

Lizzi Ackerman, cofounder and CMO of Birch Benders
Matt La Casse, cofounder and CEO of Birch Benders

“I woke up one morning wanting pancakes and didn’t want to go through the hassle of making pancakes,” and out of that need, Birch Benders was born, La Casse says. Ackerman goes on to explain that there weren’t any just-add-water natural ingredient pancake mixes on the market at that time. So she and then-boyfriend La Casse set out to create a convenient pancake mix out of simple, natural ingredients that was delicious and affordable. They incorporated Birch Benders in 2011. It is a natural and organic brand featuring vegan, paleo, gluten-free, high-protein and more traditional (like buttermilk) pancake mix versions. A lot of time and care goes into the creation of their pancake mixes, as Ackerman recounts their multiple double-blind taste tests to find the best flours to use. Then she explains they replicated those double-blind taste tests for every single other ingredient in their mixes. La Casse and Ackerman, married in 2015, go on to express that they look to make Birch Benders “the number one pancake brand in the country” as it expands into new product categories. “Super exciting ideas that are not what you expect, but still very much a part of our brand,” beams Ackerman.

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