Paving the way for more buckwheat: BuckWHAT! snacks plan to take retail by storm in 2019

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Paving the way for more buckwheat: BuckWHAT! snacks plan to take retail by storm in 2019

Related tags: Buckwheat, Snacks

BuckWHAT! buckwheat ‘noshes’ have gone from a farmer's market favorite to vying for shelf space at 500 stores in 2019 (currently in 80 locations).

Founder Leeann Rybakov grew up eating buckwheat prepared by her mother in Kiev, Ukraine, where it was a staple food item.  

“When times were hard people really relied on this ingredient because it just covered all the nutritional bases: It’s a complete plant-based protein, it’s a great source of fiber, it really keeps you feeling full, it’s got tons of minerals,”​ Rybakov told FoodNavigator-USA.

Rybakov was originally experimenting with using buckwheat as a base for bowls to sell to retailers, but switched to handheld nosh bites that  she had been making for herself as an on-the-go snack, which were already a hit with friends and family.

BuckWHAT! noshes are made from buckwheat, chia seeds (acting as a binder and source of omega 3s), cinnamon, and dates (for sweetness).

“I wanted to have every ingredient on my packaging to be something most people most likely have in their pantry, and I didn’t want any added sugar,”​ Rybakov said.

BuckWHAT! noshes come in four varieties: cocoa, crunchy peanut, oatmeal raisin, and simply sunflower, packaged in bright green stand-up pouches.

Rybakov added that this is snack intended to be enjoyed by the entire family.

“We all want to take the convenient route and my goal is to make this a family snack. Not just a kid snack, not just an adult snack, but something everyone can have together,”​ she said.

BuckWHAT!_body

“I’ve seen kids look at it as cookies and I don’t know if they’d look at an energy bar the same way.”

‘I plan to be the buckwheat queen at some point’

When quinoa busted onto the natural foods scene, it spurred consumers to take a closer look at whole grains and sparked an interest in other varieties.  

“If you really think about before quinoa, there really wasn’t much out there,”​ Rybakov said. “It opened up the door for people to think about, ‘What’s millet?’, ‘What’s sorghum?’”

According to Rybakov, buckwheat is poised to be the “next big thing”​ because of its nutrient density​ – one cup of cooked buckwheat has roughly 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and contains essential minerals such as manganese (86mg) and magnesium (86mg) – and a sustainable growing profile.

“It can grow virtually anywhere,”​ said Rybakov.

Buckwheat​ is quick-growing crop that thrives in poor ‘low-fertility’ soils, according to USDA-funded SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education).

However, it will take some consumer education particularly demonstrating to consumers that there is no wheat in buckwheat, added Rybakov.

“‘Buckwheat’ is a little bit of misnomer because it’s gluten free. I think it’ll take a little bit of a time for people to become more and more familiar with it, and it’ll take a lot of marketing to bring that to the surface,”​ she said.

“I plan to be the buckwheat queen at some point.”

‘I have really big goals for 2019’

As a self-funded startup, Rybakov has had to be strategic in where she spends her time, energy, and most importantly, cash.

BuckWHAT! products have grown from a weekend farmers market to roughly 80 stores in the New York metro area, mainly in independent, specialty, and gourmet stores.

Rybakov hired a consultant to assist in rebranding the company’s packaging after entering its first Whole Foods account and narrow down the portfolio from granola, bars, and 

BuckWHAT!_oldpackaging
BuckWHAT! old packaging 

noshes, to just noshes, as well as fine-tune the product messaging.

“When it’s your brand you want to tell everyone every detail about it, but they really made me focus down on what is the most important part,”​ Rybakov said.

The most important claim to get across to consumers (on the front of the packaging) was that it was gluten-free, no added sugar,  and that it was just a few ingredients (5-7 based on the flavor). 

Other attributes such as ‘vegan’ and non-GMO can be found on the back of the pouch.

Now that the company entered a co-manufacturing space in October, Rybakov has time to focus on growing the brand even further.

“I have really big goals for 2019. I want to do a first round of funding. I’m hoping to raise capital in the next year in order to grow into 500 stores in 2019 as well as increase my online presence,”​ she said.

Related news

Related products

show more

Lasting Success from Limited Time Offers

Lasting Success from Limited Time Offers

Parker Products, Inc. | 15-Oct-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Quick-service, fast causal, and sit-down restaurants all benefit from the value-add of a limited time offer (LTO). Regardless of dining style or menu items,...

Gluten-Free Never Tasted So Good.

Gluten-Free Never Tasted So Good.

PLT Health Solutions | 28-Feb-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Artesa® Chickpea Flour delivers a taste profile similar to premium wheat flours, along with great mouthfeel and texture characteristics. It is today’s...

Get Control of Your Energy

Get Control of Your Energy

PLT Health Solutions | 28-Feb-2018 | Product Catalog

Developed by leading biochemists, the Targeted Release Caffeine delivery system of zumXR® represents a new benchmark in controlled, targeted and sustained...

Product Recovery (Pigging) for Food Manufacturers

Product Recovery (Pigging) for Food Manufacturers

HPS Product Recovery Solutions | 31-Jan-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Sanitary product recovery ("pigging") is in wide use by food manufacturers that pump liquids or wet products.
It gives a high ROI and...

Related suppliers

comments

Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars