Although peanut butter has been around for well over 100 years, it is a product concept that has not seen a great deal of innovation. That fact did not escape one Vancouver resident when he was laid off during the Great Recession.
With a background in engineering and product development, Ken Condliff began filling his new-found free time with food experiments, and from results Nut-Tritious Foods was born.
Coming from a family of foodies, Condliff has always been drawn to nutrient dense options and noticed that the nut butters on the market were actually not very healthy.
“I realized we could do a better job,” said Condliff. “We have an obesity epidemic in the U.S. One-third (of Americans) are obese and one-third are overweight. We’re eating nutrient light foods rather than nutrient dense ones.”
Nut-Tritious Foods opened in 2009 with a simple tenet: to make the most nutritious, fresh- roasted nut butters on the market. Focusing on his “nutrition mission,” Condliff chose five key ingredients specifically for the high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in them. Sunflower seeds, flax seed, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp seeds are all broken down into meal so that the nutritional benefits are more bioavailable when consumed. This blend is then added to every Nut-Tritious Foods base nut or seed butter.
Attention to detail does not stop there. Agave nectar is used to lightly sweeten the nut butters and all nuts and seeds are low roasted to ensure their integrity for consumers. Condliff is a fanatic about quality, so only non-GMO and organic products are sourced for Nut-Tritious nut butters.
Since the company’s inception, Nut-Tritious has experienced growth at a “nice, controlled pace.” Condliff employs six part-time staff and has enjoyed a 25 percent increase in annual sales over the last few years. It helps that his nutty epiphany occurred around the same time that Americans became increasingly aware of the many attributes of nut butters, including mounting medical evidence that their healthful fats are heart-friendly, may reduce type 2 diabetes and combat the obesity epidemic that Condliff mentioned above.
Customers use protein-rich nut butters in smoothies, oatmeal, on apple slices and as an addition to salad dressings. It can also be substituted for dairy butter in baking. Condliff shared that the Hazelnut and Chocolate Butter is great for indoor s’mores.
Local outlets have supported this Vancouver business from the beginning. According to Condliff, Oregon Whole Foods Markets picked up Nut-Tritious right away and the expansion into Vancouver happened shortly after. Now his offerings can be found at Chuck’s Produce, Fisher’s Landing New Seasons Market and the Vancouver Farmer’s Market.
Recently, Nut-Tritious expanded its distribution when all 11 PCC Natural Markets in the Seattle area picked up five of their eight nut butter flavors. This has infused Condliff’s 2017 vision.
“Our goal this year is California,” he said. “There’s a lot of healthy consumers down there. We have a lot of internet orders from California.”
All the support that Nut-Tritious has received is not lost on Condliff. From their commercial kitchen, they’ve helped launch other area businesses, including Deda’s Fine Baked Goods. Condliff views his space as an incubator of sorts, and he shares his business practice, area contacts and helps with labeling. Currently, an up-and-coming candy company is utilizing the space.
“People helped us get started so I figure it’s part of my job to help others get started and try to pay it forward,” he said.
Since the company’s inception, Nut-Tritious has experienced growth at a ‘nice, controlled pace,’ employing six part-time staff and ringing up a 25 percent increase in annual sales over the last few years.
813 Grand Boulevard, Vancouver