Steven Singer is back to promote digestive health with Fody Food Co
Stephanie Ricci contributed to this story.
The COVID-19 crisis has encouraged consumers to make health-conscious decisions when buying food. Despite the rise of gluten-free and dairy-free products, people with digestive issues struggle to find gut-friendly products. Fody Food Co aims to fill this gap by offering a range of foods that support gut health.
“We’re trying to bring comfort back to the millions of people across America who suffer from all kinds of digestive health issues,” said Steven J. Singer, Founder and CEO of Fody Food Co. “We offer products that alleviate some of these symptoms so that they are not deprived of the joys of everyday life.
Fody Food is a Certified B Corp company offering a range of pasta sauces, salsas and dressing products, all low in fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) which can trigger digestive symptoms, including bloating, gas and stomach pain. A low FODMAP diet is clinically recommended for the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Since its launch in 2016, the company has significantly expanded its distribution in the United States and Canada. Its products are sold online and in more than 8,000 stores across North America, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Metro, Publix, Sprouts, Loblaws and Kroger.
Born and raised in Montreal, Singer went to McGill University with the goal of becoming a lawyer. It didn’t take him long to learn business and catch the entrepreneurial spirit.
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur, but I didn’t necessarily know until I got into business that it was my calling,” Singer said. “It’s the freedom to be able to take an idea and apply it without anyone necessarily trying to stunt that growth.”
Fody Food Co isn’t Singer’s first business venture to tackle dietary restrictions. He first learned the ropes of the trade working as a textile salesman before co-founding his first start-up, Glutino, at the age of 26.
The gluten-free food company entered the North American market long before gluten-free products became mainstream. What started as a small company in 1999 has grown into one of North America’s leading gluten-free brands, with annual sales reaching over $65 million in 2011. Glutino was acquired the same year.
“I just had this crazy entrepreneurial urge to start over and take advantage of all the experience I had, the highs, the lows, the wins, the losses, and help more people feel better, that’s exactly what we’re doing now,” shares the entrepreneur.
Instead of returning to the gluten-free market alone, he expanded the idea of promoting digestive health to create products that would include people with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS, and more.
“It’s about understanding what triggers your body,” he said. “The two main triggers for people with digestive problems are garlic and onion. Of course, these are ingredients that we enjoy very much on a daily basis. We wanted to offer a range of condiments, sauces, pasta sauce , barbecue sauce, ketchup, things that people eat all the time, but without those trigger ingredients.
According to Singer, one in seven Americans — about 40 million people — suffers from some sort of digestive health problem, but not everyone is aware of or willing to change their diet.
In addition to selling its products, the company offers recipes and educational resources on gut health, especially the low FODMAP diet and other digestive issues through its website and social networks.
“We try to get people to talk openly about IBS, bloating and discomfort,” he said. “It’s a taboo subject, but it’s part of life. When you add up the number of people who have digestive health issues, it’s bigger than many other well-known diseases. There’s no reason people can’t talk about irritable bowel syndrome.
While retail generates 70% of its sales, the remaining 30% comes from business activities. Online Store, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more people turned to e-commerce. To cope with the surge in online demand, the company has partnered with Heyday, a conversational AI platform, to provide automated customer support that answers shoppers’ questions about dietary restrictions and ingredients. some products.
“How cool is it to start a business, be an entrepreneur and help people feel better at the same time? That’s what I love the most,” Singer said.