JEANNINE SACCO, co-founder, Grainful: Steel cut oats aren't just for breakfast!
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
Three years ago, Chef Jeannine Sacco was cooking Jambalaya, discovered she was out of rice, and experimented with a packet of whole grain steel cut oats instead. The results blew her mind, and the rest, as they say, is history…
Today, ‘steel-cut’ meals and sides from Ithaca, NY-based Grainful are in 600+ stores from Wegmans to Shoprite, and likely to hit 1,200 more by late 2016, and Sacco (pictured above at Expo West - with glasses) and co-founder Jan Pajerski sit at the helm of a company that has created a completely new food category.
Now before you start envisaging mushy oatmeal with veggies, it’s important to point out that steel cut oats are much more like rice – chewy, grainy and slightly nutty – than the rolled oats you get in instant hot cereal packets, says Sacco.
“The first thing we always say to people is that it’s not your grandmother’s oatmeal. It’s much more like a risotto."
Retail buyers, meanwhile, have been enthusiastic about Grainful - which competes with brands such as EVOL Foods, LUVO and Amy’s in the freezer aisles with its frozen entrées, which can be baked or microwaved ($4.99+), and Uncle Ben’s in the ambient aisles with its new ‘steel-cut sides’, which can be heated in a pan with water ($3.99) – says Sacco.