For Torie Burke and Howard Slatkin, starting a food company together was basically fate.
Before a food company was even a glimmer in either’s eyes, the two had gotten to know each other through their work on the same projects for years, with food being a common passion. They’d wander through cities all around the world that they visited on business, stopping at all the restaurants they could.
“We would go to dinner or walk around and stare in the windows of famous eateries and either eat our way or sit on the other side of the window and pine,” Burke said.
Finally in early 2010, the two bumped into each other in their hometown of New York (the first time they’d done so in years living there) and Torie said they both knew it was meant to be.
“We’d been batting around the idea for a while, but that was the sign,” Burke said. “we just said this is it, we should go to lunch right now and talk. That’s when we decided.”
And Torie and Howard was born. Neither had been involved in a food business before, but their love for food was enough to convince them that this was the right move.
And both Slatkin and Burke has experienced life events that had forced them to make changes in how they personally looked at food. Burke developed an intolerance for gluten, and Slatkin was struggling with his weight.
Burke has been a “fruit super freak” since childhood, so the direction of her new company with Slatkin was a no-brainer for her. And Slatkin liked how fruit snacks could be a delicious low-calorie swap for other sweeter items.
“We both wanted to make a change for consumers and clean up items in a category,” Burke said. “We wanted to be able to offer something stylish and delicious, and shareable and clean.”
Since the first product launched in early 2012 they’ve been very fortunate, Burke said. All four flavors (which are gluten-free, non-GMO and dairy-free) originally launched are still popular – and the newly introduced fruit chews are growing as well. They haven’t needed to re-brand or create new packaging either.
“I really should knock on some wood right now,” Burke joked.
The dual flavors came from Slatkin, who loves to cook and had recipes from over the years that he used for testing out possible flavors. The company went through about 40 flavors before deciding on the final four, Burke said. The dual flavors (like pomegranate and nectarine, and blood orange and honey) help make the taste a bit more sophisticated.
“It’s a step above your average grape or lime or cherry-that doesn’t actually taste like grape or lime or cherry,” Burke said. “It had to taste amazing.”
Burke said she’d advise food companies starting out to be flexible, and believe in their mission and idea. She and Slatkin knew that making organic products would be a bigger challenge, but that didn’t stop them.
“We knew it could be done,” Burke said. “When you know something can be done, you have to really stick to your guns.”
She wants people to be excited about their product, Burke said, and know that they don’t have to sacrifice nutrition or taste.
“We’ve gone to shows and given the chewies out and seen peoples’ faces when they eat them just like, ‘Oh, this is good,'” Burke said. “I want to put that into a sentence.”
Fans of their product should look forward to some new things coming soon, Burke said, and added that it would be a departure from hard candy. But that doesn’t mean they’ll leave their fundamental ideas.
“We’ll never leave organics,” Burke said. “We have no intention of doing that…we’re synonymous with a healthy style, so we’re not leaving that.”
We’re excited to feature Torie and Howard Fruitie Chewies in our October box – and if you’d like to try more, order some from our Love With Food Shop!