Jackson-based superfood snack manufacturer Supernola is offering its production resources to local grocery retailers looking for ways to preserve the shelf life of food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cindy Poiesz started her company in 2012 because of her own health needs and a desire to find good-tasting, healthy snack options. Supernola is now in many local retail stores including Sendiks, Outpost, Cermak and Piggly Wiggly and launched nationally in February 2020, adding 6,700 stores throughout the country.
“We’re really focused on expansion right now, so this puts a little bit of a wrench into it, but we’re still pushing forward,” Poiesz said of the recent pandemic.
Supernola’s goal is to be in all mainstream retailers, including convenience stores, hotels and airports. The snack manufacturer’s national expansion put the product in over 6,500 Walgreens store locations and over 150 Giant Food stores in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas.
Though many manufacturers are facing difficulties with the coronavirus pandemic, Poiesz said her really tight team of about four people is keeping things operating fairly normally within the Jackson manufacturing facility. As a food manufacturer, Poiesz said the environment is already very sterile. Supernola is also banning visitors from the facility.
“We’re still operating as normal. We were joking that between these four walls of our facility things are fairly normal compared to the rest of the outside world,” she said.
Poiesz is trying to find ways to utilize the company’s equipment and capabilities to help more people in the community. Supernola is donating equipment and products to local and national hospitals whenever the company receives a request. This includes donating excess ingredients from the superfood snacks.
The point of differentiation for the product’s manufacturing is that Supernola uses low temperature dehydration for its products. Dehydration also extends the shelf life of food. Because of this, Supernola has been talking to local grocery chains about utilizing Supernola’s equipment to preserve food. The company recently had a conversation with Feeding America, who has experienced an unexpected spike in supply and demand.
“Any excess produce that could go bad in a matter of days, we can actually put in a dehydrator and extend that shelf life and turn it into an ingredient for a soup mix like we were talking to with Feeding America,” Poiesz said. “We’ve been contacting all the local stores we already have relationships with to kind of get it out there more that we are getting some excess capacity right now and we can move pretty quickly to help make sure we eliminate food waste and get food out to as many people as possible.”