How One Snack Brand Overcame Its Challenges

Known for its tasty and healthy snacks, Mrs. May’s Naturals was founded in late 2002 by company president Augustine Kim and his brother Michael. Inspired by their grandmother’s delicious snack recipe, the Kims decided to start their own food line.

Success did not come easily, however, with Augustine describing their first year as tough. But despite its early struggles, Mrs. May’s persisted and the company’s efforts eventually paid off. Initially only available at health food stores, Mrs. May’s products can now be found at Costco, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club, as well as in other countries such as Australia, Mexico, Canada, and the Philippines.

What possibly saved Mrs. May’s from going belly up was Augustine’s idea of moving the company’s manufacturing to China, where efficient labor can be acquired inexpensively. According to vice president of sales James Kim, the monthly cost of hiring 50 employees in China for the local going rate is equivalent to one person’s salary in the United States. And while the phrase “made in China” may conjure up thoughts of poor working conditions for some, Augustine states that their factory is very clean and that China is not considered a cheap country anymore. Today, all Mrs. May’s snacks are processed in a purpose-built, company-operated production facility.

Because the brand is committed to offering snacks that are both natural and nutritious, all Mrs. May’s products are vegan and free of cholesterol, gluten, dairy, wheat, and preservatives. In addition to the original seed and nut crunches, Mrs. May’s now also makes freeze dried fruit chips and chocolate rounds, among others. Certified by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system (HACCP), the company uses only the best ingredients from local and global sources. Moreover, all finished products undergo salmonella, microbiology, and aflatoxin testing to ensure their quality.

Aside from churning out wholesome treats, Mrs. May’s also gives back to the community by supporting various organizations, including Wheels for the World, Food for Hunger, and the Celiac Sprue Association.

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