With a mission as commendable as its flavorful product line, BobbySue’s Nuts is quickly garnering fans nationwide. The company is both growing the nut category and giving to a great cause—with a portion of all proceeds going to benefit animal welfare. In fact, the company’s products enjoy a kind of celebrity in the Deli Market News offices, where they have become a staple snack, a fixture on conference tables and desks, and a perennial afternoon pick-me-up.
“That’s really the best reaction to our products,” Barbara “BobbySue” Kobren, the company’s Founder and namesake, tells me warmly. “When you meet someone who, in the course of their business, tries the product…and they become fans and part of the family at BobbySue’s Nuts. That is great. I love it.”
I recently had the opportunity to meet Barbara at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show—where the company’s Nuts Over Olives and Everything Goes Nuts varieties took home silver and gold sofi™ Awards respectively. Seeing the accolades and the growth the company was undergoing, I reached out to catch up with Barbara and find out more about BobbySue’s products, the company’s extraordinary story and mission, and its plans for the future.
“BobbySue’s is as much a part of me as my arms and legs are,” Barbara tells me, noting the contagious enthusiasm she has for the company. “We always tell people that if you try BobbySue’s Nuts, you’re going to be hooked on BobbySue’s Nuts. And over the years, we’ve found that to be true.”
As the company’s founder, Barbara has seen BobbySue’s grow from a family recipe shared in her kitchen to a nationwide brand. From its roots as a product idea to help fund the SPCA in Westchester, New York, where the company’s founders served on the association’s board, until now, the company has been grounded in a commitment to community, healthy ingredients, and exceptional taste.
“I remember: We were in my kitchen snacking on what is a family recipe from my aunt back in New Holland, Pennsylvania,” Barbara says. “And I can’t tell you exactly how we arrived at the idea—let’s make these nuts and sell them—but that was the outcome of that moment.”
That family recipe would become BobbySue’s Nuts Original flavor, and soon Barbara and her partner would expand the line to three recipes. The burgeoning company’s local community was quick to embrace the line, and BobbySue’s spread through local markets and specialty stores.
“We took these three flavors out into the community and were met with open arms,” Barbara explains. “Our local market gave us more than a chance; they promoted us. And we, along with these lovely places, did an enormous amount of business. We were doing five or six or seven tastings a week.”
Soon, the burgeoning company soon found itself in need of an additional dose of business acumen, and thankfully Barbara’s son Adam agreed to come on, create a business plan, and facilitate the company’s continued growth.
“Adam and myself and a small group of people…worked tirelessly to expand the business—to try and make the business viable, to grow to more markets and also to hone in on the pricing of the product without sacrifice taste or quality of ingredients. When it comes to the integrity of our ingredients and the quality that we present, Adam and I never falter on that.”
Around this time, as well, Barbara and the company came into contact with the team from FOODMatch. In the premium provider of olives, antipasti, and more, Barbara found a company that mirrored the integrity and vision of BobbySue’s, and the two company’s were soon collaborating on an innovative product pairing olives and nuts together in a savory combination—what Barbara tells me was “a true food match made in heaven.”
“I worked with FOODMatch Corporate Chef Brett Greenberg, going back and forth, with blind testing, trying to figure it out from both a flavor profile and a production standpoint; we did it, and it took us about a year,” Barbara explains. “And along the way, the opportunity to become a national brand came up—to be able to roll out Nuts Over Olives in every Whole Foods throughout the country. That day was one of the most outstanding days I’ve had in this journey. It was an affirmation to me that all the decisions along the way were right.”
Now a nationwide brand run by Barbara and Adam, and partner Greg Yahn (Former Head of Marketing at Oberto Brands), the company continues to innovate and grow while staying true to its initial vision.
BobbySue’s is now Non-GMO Project Verified and Kosher through OK Kosher. And to date, the company has donated more than $50,000 dollars to the SPCA of Westchester, with an ongoing commitment to donate at least two percent of net profits to rescue homeless pets and promote animal wellbeing. BobbySue’s is also an active sponsor of the SPCA’s Top Hat and Cocktails and Walkathon events—two events that Barbara helped to pioneer and puts on as Chair of the SPCA of Westchester.
“Ultimately everything you do in life should have a purpose that’s greater than you are,” Barbara tells me. And Barbara is pursuing that purpose, enriching her local community and animal shelter as the company moves toward becoming a household name.
The company recently launched a new line of 1-oz. bags with point-of-purchase displays, perfect for a salad or olive bar, a line of 4-oz. packages for an on-the-go snack. And in October, in partnership with FOODMatch, BobbySue’s is also launching new 3.5-oz. pre-packed PET cups to cut down on the labor involved in offering BobbySue’s Nuts in bulk, but still give consumers a similar look and feel and approximate the buying experience they have come to relish.
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