Coconut Whisk, an all-vegan, gluten-free baking mix company, was created by Bella Lam and Myles Olson in 2018. Their passion for the vegan lifestyle and the positive impact it has had on their health and the environment, as well as the opportunity to fill a void in the market, led to the launch of the brand.
Coconut Whisk’s products include muffin, pancake, and cookie mixes that are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
The duo created the baking mix line while attending college together at Minnesota State University, Mankato. While working toward her degree in public health, Bella Lam discovered the untapped potential of the vegan food market.
“I noticed that there weren’t many options for gluten free and vegan baking mixes. I grew up baking and I wanted more options. So, I thought, ‘why don’t I just do it?’” said Lam.
Lam shared her idea of creating a vegan baking mix line with Olson and since they both wanted to help promote the vegan lifestyle, he was in. They began researching and googling how to get started, and how to launch their own business.
“We spent a few weeks creating the right blend, with the right ingredients, and figuring out what goes together well to make it gluten free and vegan. We changed the recipe a few times,” said Lam.
While perfecting the recipe, and researching how to start a business, Lam then learned about a business competition on campus. Thinking that this could be a good experience, they entered it, got a mentor, and created a business plan.
“We figured out as much as possible about how to get started,” said Lam. “We spent a few months prepping for the competition, obtaining our food license, establishing an LLC, and getting all our ducks in a row.”
To the surprise of Lam and Olson, Coconut Whisk won the competition for the food division, which gave them the confidence to keep pursuing their dream.
“The competition validated that this was a good product, and we had a solid business plan,” said Lam.
Launching the Product
Alongside prepping for the business competition, Lam and Olson had already been selling the product in farmers markets and pop-up locations, and quickly saw how popular their vegan baking mixes were. Plus, they were seeing a direct response from promoting the mixes on social media.
“At one of our pop-ups, a customer came in to buy the product after reading a social post,” said Lam. “What helped us launch was having an active social media presence… being present and engaged. Even before the competition and pop-ups, I was hyping up the product and brand on social media, and sharing as much as possible.”
With the win under their belt and a growing fan base, the Coconut Whisk team was ready to officially launch their baking mix line.
The Packaging Journey
The first step was to start investing in inventory. For the pop-up stores and markets, Lam says she was packaging the mixes in kraft paper pouches with printed stickers adhered to each one.
But for mass market sales, the team needed a natural baking mix packaging boost. After trying to get the mixes into market, Lam described that one distributor even told her to come back when she had real packaging. So, she knew that the time for new baking mix packaging was now.
“We knew we wanted to do branded packaging… what we had before was basic,” said Lam. “Deciding to get branded custom pouches was an organic decision – the product was doing really well, so we thought, ‘what’s the next step?’”
After meeting some of the ePac staffers at a networking event, and learning about digital printing and what it could do for them, she knew she found what she was looking for.
“It was easy to decide to go with ePac. The company was in Minnesota, too and offered us low order minimums…We knew we wanted to upgrade. We loved that ePac was not as expensive as other suppliers, and that it’s digitally printed so it doesn’t take forever to get the order,” said Lam.
Equipped with “real” packaging since finding ePac, Coconut Whisk is now even working with the aforementioned distributor and will be in co/op stores across Minnesota.
Today ePac supplies all eight SKUs for the baking mix company in stand-up, resealable pouches, as well as single-serve pouches for the company’s mug cake mixes.
Their pouches, made of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) film, gives the brand an opportunity to fulfill their sustainability goals, without relying on the consumer to recycle the package after use. According to Lam, the PCR pouches offers the brand the sustainable, eco-conscious solution that best aligns with their goals, while still providing a vibrant-looking package to their consumers.
Today, you can find Coconut Whisk eight different SKUs in local Minnesota stores, as well as at coconutwhisk.com.
Making a Difference
In addition to supporting the environment, Coconut Whisk is also passionate about their community. One way the company has been giving back is through their mission is to donate 1 million plant-based meals to children in need through its philanthropic partnerships. To accomplish that goal, the company has pledged that with every online purchase, it will donate a plant-based meal to a child in need through its partnership with FeedOm & Food For Life Global.
Finding Your Flexible Packaging Partner
If you’re a bakery products brand looking to make a big impact with your baking mix packaging bags, give us a call today and learn how our digitally printed custom pouches, PCR and recyclable film, and other dry mix packaging bags can help you achieve all your packaging goals.