"One of the landscapes that we’re trying to fill is bringing added nutrition to everyday staples," said co-founder, Mollie Ficocello, who as a busy mom knows the important role staples such as pasta and flour play in many home kitchens.
Growing up in a farming family, Ficocello and her two sisters, Grace Lunski and Annie Gorder, came across GoodWheat in 2016 and planted a few acres of land with the novel wheat developed by Arcadia Biosciences.*
And in 2020, the sisters launched two product lines, an artisanal premium packaged pasta and a refined non-enriched baking flour (which behaves and functions just like all-purpose flour, said Lunski).
"What really attracted us to GoodWheat were the nutritional attributes," said Ficocello.
According to the company, a 2-ounce serving of its pasta contains 150 calories (compared to 200 calories for conventional pasta), 5x more dietary fiber (11g vs. 2g), 25% more protein, and 50% less gluten.
Ficocello noted how its dietary fiber claims have differentiated the products in the pasta and flour set.
"There are a lot of people looking for extra fiber in their diet," she said. The FDA recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 28 grams a day based on a 2000 calorie diet, but Americans typically consume a daily average of only 16 grams of fiber, according to Arcadia Biosciences.
From a functional standpoint, Ficocello and Lunski said there is no trade off in using GoodWheat in its pastas or for consumers using GoodWheat baking flour.
According to Lunski, one of the biggest pieces of consumer feedback the brand receives is how similar the products taste compared to its conventional counterparts. Positioned as a premium product at a higher price point (three 8-ounce packs of pasta retail for $8.49), Three Farm Daughters wants to become an accessible brand for everyday consumers and occupy a niche space between ultra-high end, imported and specialty pastas and conventional pasta brands.
"We want to be that everyday pantry staple for consumers," said Lunski, who added that the brand is ramping up its personalized marketing efforts this year to connect directly with its consumers.
Small but growing audience
Launched at a time when pantry staples were flying off the shelves of supermarkets and home baking was skyrocketing, Three Farm Daughters experienced consumer demand for its products almost immediately, said Lunski.
"When we brought our products to market, we were really meeting a need, which is so exciting as a founder," said Lunski.
Like many other brands launched during the pandemic, Three Farm Daughters is focused on its DTC channel to establish a foundation (Three Farm Daughters flour and pasta products are sold through its website and through Amazon).
"By being able to have our own e-commerce website, everyone in the US is a potential customer for us," said Ficocello.
The brand has also gained distribution at 37 retailers in the local North Dakota area, and will continue to pursue additional brick-and-mortar distribution in 2021, and aims to expand its GoodWheat acreage to increase supply.
*The wheat is made from a non-GMO, high-amylose variety of wheat with an endosperm very high in resistant starch, a dietary fiber which resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine, where it’s fermented, potentially conferring a variety of health benefits.