Daily Crunch Balances Sustainable Growth

Daily Crunch snack bag with loose nut mix next to package

To Laurel Orley, CEO and co-founder of Daily Crunch Snacks, building a new brand with sustainability in mind can feel like walking a tightrope. Good intentions aren’t enough.

In the ultra-competitive snack market, Orley and her company are trying to stay true to their values while building a viable business that works for multiple stakeholders, including investors, retailers, and consumers.

Since launching in March 2020, just as the pandemic was ripping through the US, Daily Crunch — which sells sprouted nut mixes in a variety of fun flavors — has gained a foothold in major retailers like CVS, Wegmans, and several large airports across the US. The company has also been raising money for its Series A round, which it plans to close in the coming weeks. 

Already, Daily Crunch has been able to incorporate sustainability measures such as using post-consumer recycled materials for its bags. Yet these are more expensive than regular plastic ones, notes Orley, which puts pressure on margins.

Still, Orley wants to take the next step and move to compostable packaging, yet finding the right material has been challenging, as Daily Crunch’s product depends on using a bag that does not let oxygen in. So, Orley is on the hunt for more environmentally friendly packaging that works from both a logistical and economic perspective.

As an emerging brand, Daily Crunch doesn’t have the financial flexibility to invest in all the corporate sustainability initiatives Orley would like to, yet “it's much harder to change things the bigger you grow,” she says.Thus, finding that balance from an early stage is all the more important.

Win-Win Ingredients

While certain aspects of sustainability like packaging have been a mixed bag, no pun intended, Daily Crunch has been able to find some win-win measures in terms of environmental and business benefits.

For example, almonds are a primary ingredient in Daily Crunch’s current snack mixes. And while almonds don’t always have the best environmental reputation, Daily Crunch has partnered with Treehouse Almonds, a pioneering almond supplier that engages in a whole host of sustainability initiatives, like using solar-powered irrigation and engaging in soil regeneration studies to improve water conservation. Its orchards are also Bee-Friendly certified.

Daily Crunch has signed on for 300,000 pounds of almonds from Treehouse since September 2023, with the upfront contract leading to better pricing.

Another positive initiative has been using upcycled ingredients, with Daily Crunch being a certified member of the Upcycled Food Association. Not all ingredients are upcycled, but certain Daily Crunch flavors incorporate ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste.

“For example, for our Dill Pickle Sprouted Almonds and Pepitas, we use pickle ends from Cleveland Kitchen that would otherwise be thrown out, because the consumers don't want the pickle ends,” said Orley.

Daily Crunch Dill Pickle snack bag with loose nut mix next to package

For some upcycled ingredients — although not all — Daily Crunch is able to save money compared to buying traditional ingredients. Meanwhile, the business gets a boost from a sales channel perspective.

For example, Daily Crunch displayed at Natural Products Expo East in the Upcycled Pavilion last fall, and that led to getting into Misfits Market as an everyday item, says Orley.

As it stands, retailers seem to be more interested in and knowledgeable about upcycling than the average consumer, notes Orley, so more needs to be done on the education front.

But meanwhile, sustainability efforts like upcycling can be a good differentiator that helps Daily Crunch get its foot in the door at more retailers to ultimately get in the hands — or mouths — of more consumers.

Trying to be a sustainable brand might mean Daily Crunch isn’t a fit for everyone, notes Orley, but it can help the crunchy snack brand resonate with retailers and consumers who want to buy from companies trying to build a better world.

At the end of the day, says Orley, “I want to make sure that I'm not just another plastic bag.”

Disclosure: Carbon Neutral Copy's parent company, JournoContent LLC, has clients involved in sustainability-related areas, among others. The owner of Carbon Neutral Copy, Jacob (Jake) Safane, has investments in sustainability-related companies, among others.

As such, conflicts of interest related to these and other investments/business relationships, even if unintended, may exist at times. Please email info@carbonneutralcopy.com if you'd like further clarification on any issues.

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