New Mission, Rooted in Purpose and Impact

New Mission, Rooted in Purpose and Impact

Dear Friends,

You’ll soon see some changes with Crafty Counter. We are evolving and I want to share a little about the journey with you. 

When I first began Crafty Counter, I wanted to help others who were like me – parents who wanted better food options for their children. I knew there must be other Moms and Dads who came up empty-handed when scouring the food aisles. Trying to find high-quality, convenient, minimally-processed, veggie and protein full foods that were not only edible, but that actually tasted delicious was about as successful as searching for a unicorn! 

Hema holding wundernuggets

I decided to get to work to make something myself that I could feel good about feeding my children. I knew I wanted to incorporate the flavors of my mother’s wonderful Indian cooking. I also wanted something convenient that my kids would be excited about eating, yet that didn’t compromise my values around simple, high-quality food. WunderNuggets was born, with a variety of vegetarian and chicken/veggie options.

When my kids’ friends asked for my nuggets, I knew I was on to something. But, when my friends started asking for them, I realized that they might have a broader appeal. WunderNuggets were great for vegetarians and vegans on the go, or for meat eaters who wanted flexitarian options as well. Really, they’re great for anyone who cares about what they put into their bodies.

As my team and I learned and grew as a young start-up, I had the benefit of meeting other foodie entrepreneurs that came before me and I began learning from them. I also kept talking to you, our customers - really listening to what was important to you. I learned that although flexitarian eating was on the rise, our adult customers were primarily interested in our vegetarian nuggets. It turns out that, typically, when heavy meat eaters decide to eat less meat, they tend to mix more vegetarian meals into their week, rather than choosing to eat a blended meat/vegetable product. 

At the same time, we were making changes to our manufacturing relationship so that we could scale WunderNuggets with demand. We quickly realized that it would be extremely challenging as a small business to find access to a larger scale manufacturing facility that wouldn’t require us to compromise on good, high-quality poultry, much less one that would process a blended poultry and vegetable nugget.

While this situation was evolving, I was also talking to poultry farmers, to broaden our sources beyond our chosen high-quality supplier. I learned more about what many poultry farms are like. My heart began to hurt when I learned about the conditions in which many chickens are raised. Only a few hand-picked local companies and very few national companies are raising chickens as they were meant to be raised – naturally bred, pasture fed, humanely treated, and antibiotic free. Not only that, there is an impact to the Earth of factory-farming so many chickens. By continuing to make blended chicken/veggie nuggets I began to feel that we were contributing to the problem. More chickens being artificially raised to meet a growing demand hurts the animals, hurts our bodies, hurts the environment, and, by extension, hurts the next generation.

50 billion chickens are slaughtered for food every year. 

And, this, my friends, is why I said we are “evolving.” Once I learned more about the bigger picture, I realized that our circle of influence is not just your table, but it is also the community, farmland, our food systems, and the environment. The choices we all are making affect future generations. That’s how powerful it is when you walk into a grocery store, pick up a product, and put it into your cart. Your choice is not just affecting what you’re going to eat for dinner, but how your children will be living, and how their children after them will experience the environment.

Agriculture is responsible for 10 – 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, with meat, poultry, and dairy farming producing nearly three quarters of that figure.

Once I had that understanding, there was no going back. I realized that my impact could be in taking a bigger stand for me, my family, and for our customers. I definitely don’t want to tell people not to eat meat if they want to eat meat. I think everyone has the right to decide what works for them! What I am interested in is making vegetarian food that is so delicious that people won’t even miss the meat. If Crafty Counter can be part of a movement to provide whole-food plant-based protein options that don’t require you to compromise even a tiny bit on taste, then the demand for animals will decline. Change begins with one person taking one tiny step. With one company using its voice to share information to empower people to make informed decisions.

Skipping one chicken breast per week for a year saves 4,321 gallons of water – equivalent to flushing the toilet 2,700 times.

So, my friend, we’ve shifted. WunderNuggets is being rebranded as WunderBites. They will be made with the same wholesome source of real protein – lentils and legumes that come from the earth and are nutrient dense powerhouses – instead of processed pea protein or soy. They will remain chockfull of vegetables and will continue to deliver the outstanding taste and texture you’ve come to expect. 

I also have something else up my sleeve. Something new that I’m so excited to share with you! All I can say is that at initial taste testings, people have gone gaga for this new product. That makes me so happy, but I’m also thrilled because our new product aligns with our values to provide food that nourishes our bodies and our planet – no compromises! So, stay tuned…

Your truly,

Hema Reddy

Chief Tinkerer, Crafty Counter

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