Bend couple makes snack bars for kids

Goodkid Foods moves from home kitchen to large-scale production

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin


What: Goodkid Foods

What it does: Makes and sells snack bars for kids

Pictured: Ashleigh and Bart Mitchell, co-owners

Where: Bend

Employees: Two

Phone: 855-703-8394

Website: www.goodkidfoods.com

Every time Ashleigh Mitchell needed to give her kids a convenient snack between meals, she felt a little guilty that the food was high in sugar and low in nutritional value.

“Like most parents, you try your best to give whole-food snacks, but that’s not always possible,” said the mother of two. “They would eat a bar — with a name that sounded like a dessert — and would be hungry again quite soon.”

Her struggle led her to her Bend kitchen with a mission to make something formulated specifically for growing kids, and today her creation, Goodkid Foods snack bars, are found in half a dozen stores throughout Central Oregon, including Newport Avenue Market and C.E. Lovejoy’s Brookswood Market.

“I wanted their snack to be ‘meaningful,’ not just something to tide them over,” she said.

Mitchell started baking 12 bars at a time in an old, vintage gas oven about five years ago. She formulated Goodkid Foods company about two years ago with her husband, Bart, and in June, the couple took their business to the next step, creating their first large-scale production run of shelf-ready bars with a contract manufacturer in Portland.

“We went from making a dozen bars in an hour to craft-baking close to 50,000 bars in an eight-hour shift,” said Bart Mitchell.

Bart Mitchell said there isn’t a facility in Bend that can manufacture to the scale Goodkid Foods needs, but he hopes to one day open one.

“We love the idea of having our own facility here,” he said. “It was just something that we could not financially do; it was just such a huge risk and financial undertaking that we couldn’t make. We have to prove that the sales are there. … We’d have to be in the millions of dollars in revenue to justify that.”

The company sells three flavors: apple cinnamon, lemon blueberry and oatmeal raisin. Each type of bar contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and is free of gluten, peanut, dairy and genetically modified organisms.

For now, bars are sold individually, at a suggested retail price of $1 to $1.50, but Bart Mitchell said he hopes to one day sell them by the box.

On Aug. 18, the Mitchells signed a deal with Unified Grocers, a West Coast distributor, and are in discussions with several regional grocery chains in the Willamette Valley and Seattle.

“This is something we’re really passionate about,” Bart Mitchell said. “We were realizing that this was something we were really personally tied to and that felt very good. We said for once, let’s absolutely do our own thing, make our own product and do something we’re really close to.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7818,

rrees@bendbulletin.com

Q: Where do you hope Goodkid Foods will be in the next five years?

A from Bart Mitchell : We hope to be nationally recognized and distributed all over the U.S. We’re hoping that in the next one to three years we can develop a strong Western region distribution channel and begin working with some of the larger big-box retailers and warehouse retail stores.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge with Goodkid Foods?

A: Readying our home-grown recipe for large-scale production, without sacrificing any quality, flavor or texture. It’s been challenging learning what ingredients have what effect on shelf life and long-term taste profiles. We’ve had to make adjustments in what ingredients we’ve used, but we’re really happy with the result.