There’s no doubt that by now you have noticed KIND products nearly everywhere you shop. We did too, and it inspired us to learn a bit more about Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND Snacks.
It turns out that KIND products can be found in more than 80,000 locations nationwide offering six different categories of products in a multitude of varieties — with more to come. We were thrilled to learn that KIND is a New York City-based company, and because of recent growth, has just moved the offices to bigger quarters in the city, cementing their intentions to continue to grow their business out of New York.
We were also delighted when Lubetzky, a father himself, agreed to speak with us via email about his life and business philosophy.
Q. How has your relationship with your father influenced the way you approach your life and work?
A. My father is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. When he arrived in Mexico after the war, he only had a third grade education and turned himself into a self-educated and kind business leader.
Growing up, my father used to speak to me and my siblings about his experiences during the Holocaust. Remarkably, he stayed positive and highlighted the instances of kindness amidst some of the most horrific chapters in human history. The efforts to build bridges and spread kindness among people can be directly drawn to my commitment to prevent what happened to my dad from happening again to others.
Q. Is it true that prior to developing KIND you were discouraged with the choices of healthy snack foods?
A. In the late 90s, I was traveling all over the world with PeaceWorks, one of my endeavors, and found myself frustrated over the lack of healthy and tasty snack options available. Additionally, I’d often skip lunch or dinner while working and noticed that others had to as well, so I recognized a need for convenient and wholesome choices. All of this, combined with my concerns about the rising obesity and diabetes epidemics, is why I set out to make KIND, which seeks to inspire others to Do the KIND Thing for your body, your taste buds and your world.
Q. Tell us a little about why KIND bars are indeed a healthier choice for children – and adults.
A. All KIND products, not just our original whole nut and fruit bars, are a healthy snack choice for both parents and kids as everything we make is crafted with nutritionally-rich ingredients you can see and pronounce. All of our products are gluten free and non-GMO — our goal is to offer a variety of options that meet different lifestyle needs. For instance, for those looking for a snack that is lower in sugar, we created KIND Nuts & Spices, a line of whole nut and spice bars that has only 5g of sugar or less naturally — meaning we do not use artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.
Q. You’ve been described as a social entrepreneur. Can you tell us how that relates to the KIND brand and what the exact social component of the KIND snack brand is?
A. Of the entrepreneurial ventures I am a part of, the common thread is that the team is committed to using business to break down barriers between people. KIND is a not-only-for-profit business, meaning that we combine economically sustainable practices with socially impactful efforts — both of which support and advance one another.
KIND’s primary business objective is to create healthy and delicious foods for people to enjoy, and our social objective is to inspire and celebrate kindness. Since day one, our social mission has been imbued in our DNA — we get a lot of meaning from trying to make the world just a little kinder.
The way we bring it to life has changed over time, however. One of our core social programs has evolved into what we now call KIND Causes. Through KIND Causes, we invite the community to submit their socially-impactful ideas and we support them with our time and funding. Each month, the idea generating the most kind acts in its honor receives $10,000. You don’t have to be a nonprofit to submit — anyone who has an idea on how to make the world a little kinder can share their vision.
Another way we manifest our social mission is through our #kindawesome cards. We give them out when we see someone doing a kind act for someone else. We don’t set the bar too high — just whenever we spot a meaningful moment worth celebrating. The recipient can go online and enter the code on their card to redeem some KIND bars and another #kindawesome card so that they can pay it forward.
Q. We understand the process of making a KIND bar is more complex because of the whole ingredients that are used, is that true?
A. If you look at snack bars today, many are slab bars made from emulsified pastes. As such, if a nut is chipped or another ingredient is a little bruised, it can still be used as all the ingredients are emulsified together regardless.
At KIND, we start with the highest quality ingredients. We highlight them by keeping them whole and prominently displaying them through transparent packaging. We treat each ingredient with integrity in an effort to celebrate real food. Our brand promise has always been to create delicious, nutritionally rich foods. We are obsessed with quality. It’s important for us to over-deliver on our brand promise and, as such, always exceed expectations. We strive to ensure our community is never disappointed, which hopefully leads to people trusting KIND.
Q. What’s next — we see KIND granola on the shelves, will KIND continue to branch out into related products?
A. As a company we operate under what we call the “AND philosophy” which looks to challenge false compromises and bring together things others may deem as opposites. We try to find ways to say “and” where others might say “or.” For example: healthy AND tasty, wholesome AND convenient, economically sustainable AND socially impactful.
When we start developing new products, the team thinks about what is missing in our daily lives — we ask ourselves if there are places where we are compromising taste or health. From there, we channel our “AND philosophy” to see if we can create something new to meet our own needs. Here are two examples that help highlight the “AND” philosophy in action.
We looked at the granola bar category and felt that most granola bars require people to choose crunch or chewy, or to sacrifice nutritional value for a great taste. We spent two years developing a product that brought everything together, with no compromises. Last fall, we introduced KIND Healthy Grains Bars, which are made with five super grains and have a chewy-with-a-crunch texture.
Recently, we introduced STRONG & KIND — a line of bold, savory snacks with a crunch. STRONG & KIND uses whole almonds, seeds and pea protein to provide 10g of natural protein and all nine essential amino acids.
As with KIND Healthy Grains Bars and STRONG & KIND, the “AND philosophy” will continue to guide our innovations as we seek to provide healthy AND tasty options.
Jean Sheff is the editor of Westchester Family.
KIND offers an assortment of items — see below for a breakdown of products and varieties:
• KIND Fruit & Nut bars (nine varieties) – whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can see & pronounce®.
• KIND PLUS bars (seven varieties) – whole nut and fruit bars PLUS a nutritional boost.
• KIND Nuts & Spices (eight varieties) – made with whole nuts flavored with delicious spices and with only 5g of sugar or less naturally (no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols).
• KIND Healthy Grains Clusters (eight varieties) – a better kind of granola made from a unique blend of five super grains including gluten free oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat.
• KIND Healthy Grains Bars (five varieties) – granola bars made from ingredients you can see & pronounce® that have a perfectly chewy-with-a-crunch texture.
• STRONG & KIND (five varieties) – KIND’s first-ever bold, savory snack line featuring 10g of soy-and-whey free protein made from ingredients you can see & pronounce®.