Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Hentz.
Vanessa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Peace A` Cake`s Founder was Veronica Menin, also Brazilian, who started baking Vegan Cakes at home and eventually selling to Whole foods as a Local Vendor for the first time. Then, I became a partner, to 2 years later full owner. That`s when I decided to do a big research on Gluten-Free and New Flours to recreate all recipes in order to offer an option to different niches, such as Paleo, Nut-Free, Vegetarian…As a Sports Nutritionist very passionate for both Baking and Fitness, I decided to develop a line of High protein Baked goods much healthier than most products you will find today in the market. We started at Peace A` Cake with Whey Protein Muffins and now we have recently launched a Plant-Based BRAND called PRO+, which was developed with the FITNESS Market in Mind but to definitely be “More than Just Protein…” With 4 flavors of HIGH Protein Cookies, each one has Superfoods such as Maca, Mooring, Turmeric and the Basic Ingredients are organic coconut Sugar, organic Coconut Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Golden Flaxseed… They taste Amazing and are a FULL NUTRITION Cookie.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Never a dull moment! lol
It is a tough road being a start-up wishing the Natural Foods Market which is rapidly growing and being approached by Large Companies lately. Everyone wants now a slice of the pie since customer are definitely switching to more conscious choices when shopping. Due to that, the shelf-space has a LOT of competition and obviously capital intensive. We need to convince Stores and Buyer to tray our products but also to support sales with DEMOS, Discounts and Advertising.
Another challenge is the Customer EDUCATION. There are many claimed Healthy products out there but we feel like there is a lot of wrong information about labels and ingredients, so sometimes PRICE will determine the purchase even though labels are TOTALLY different. We try to work on our social media promoting WHY Peace A Cake & PRO+ are different from the competitors but we want to keep it very ETHIC so we never disclosure other BRANDS.
Please tell us about Peace A` Cake and PRO+.
I can say without a fear that my background as a Sports Nutritionist and my family history of Amazing Bakers makes the whole difference in our Brands. I have been passionate about baking since I was 8 years old and do it with a LOT of passion until today! The influence of My Nutrition`s bachelors and also experience in Sports Nutrition adds up with the ability of choosing the right ingredients whenever I envision a New product I want to develop. I always start looking for what is already in the Market and what is my take as a Nutritionist on them. How could I make something different and/or better? Then I usually try the products and normally hate them- lol. From there I have a final result as far as Nutritional Information and Ingredients list I want to achieve and the endless tests/ baking start! People do not understand the number of failures we have along the way. Sometimes it seems like impossible to get to the final version…lol
Peace A` Cake- Using Cassava Flour is still innovative for most baked Goods company, Baking Vegan, without eggs is also very challenging when combined with a Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Flour so we had to adapt and test many, many times. Our Baked goods are rich, like our Brownies, and really ALL NATURAL. Our Muffins are moist and soft when heated up (they are sold frozen) and very different from most Gluten-free ones.
PRO+ – We are VERY different from other Protein Cookies. All our Ingredients are natural and with extremely high quality. The fact that we make plant-based cookies with a special Organic Brown Rice Protein adding vegan BCAA to its formula is very innovative. Since Superfoods are a MUST, we picked great ones to create cookies with diverse profiles…TASTE and TEXTURE: that’s is a BIG thing in our cookies since they are REALLY GOOD!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My vacation time with my Grandma in Brazil! She is the most Amazing Cook and would always count on me as her little helper. I would get my little stool and place next to her and could put my hands on (an taste test everything) baked goods made from scratch, picking ingredients from the backyard or from the farm. Baking on a wood burning oven outdoors and always having a lot of people over to share the table and listen to wonderful stories.