Who Runs the Better-For-You Food World? These 6 Women

Lizzi Ackerman, Cofounder & CMO of Birch Benders

“I believe that great food holds the power to bring people together,” says Lizzi Ackerman, cofounder and CMO of Birch Benders. “Some of the most memorable moments in life are spent around the table sharing good food with the ones you love.”

Birch Benders manufactures all-natural frozen toaster waffles, as well as just-add-water pancake and waffle mixes which include vegan, paleo and gluten-free options. It is now the number one pancake and waffle mix brand in the natural channel and fastest growing brand in the conventional channel. Ackerman’s job involves everything from concept testing and innovation to overseeing marketing efforts since Birch Benders only has eight team members. “We all wear a million different hats to make sure the business and brand is thriving,” says Ackerman.

Ackerman came up with the idea for Birch Benders with her boyfriend at the time, now husband, Matt LaCasse. He woke up one morning craving pancakes, but all they had in the fridge were eggs. They quickly realized that the only just-add-water pancake mixes on the market were filled with junk and that the organic options were very expensive.

“Trust your gut,” Ackerman says to aspiring food entrepreneurs. “We were told by some of our closest advisors that Birch Benders was a bad idea. Also, it is important to be data focused and understand the market when it comes to innovation, packaging and growing a disruptive brand. I have always been data-driven and I brought a data-focused approach to Birch Benders. When we were developing the recipes, I implemented double-blind tests for every single ingredient until we ended up with the best mixes possible.”

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