Exclusive interview: Q&A with Lenny & Larry's CEO Apu Mody
Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to speak with Apu Mody, CEO of Lenny & Larry's. Sixteen of Lenny & Larry's cookie products have been stamped with the butterfly stamp of approval from The Non-GMO Project. While Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookies and Complete Crunchy Cookies are known for being made without GMO ingredients and contain no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, the originators of the protein cookie went through the many steps to get that sought-after verification.
Liz Parker: How long did it take to get the products to be Non-GMO Project Verified?
Apu Mody: Our products have used non-GMO ingredients for years but earlier this year we decided it was time to go through The Non-GMO Project verification so consumers realized the care Lenny & Larry's puts into selecting the quality of ingredients in our products. Given our broad set of products and flavors, it took about five months to get them all approved.
LP: What steps were needed to get this approval?
AM: The Non-GMO Project verified seal is one of the most detailed processes and so it requires an audit of all of your ingredients and suppliers to ensure that the entire supply chain is non-GMO. So we had to enter lots of information into their database for this.
LP: How and when did Lenny & Larry’s get started on the verification?
AM: We got started about five months ago in August, but as I shared, our ingredients have been non-GMO for years.
LP: Where do you see the protein bar/cookie industry going in 2019, growth-wise?
AM: I expect to see continued category growth of 6-8 percent in the overall protein bar category fueled by innovation as well as retailers allocating more space to this growing category in their stores.
LP: Are you currently working on any new flavors or innovations?
AM: We have a lot of exciting innovations planned for 2019. As you know, Lenny & Larry's released its Complete Crunchy Cookies in September and they have been growing very rapidly. Both consumers and customers are extremely excited about the Complete Crunchy Cookies. Also we had great reception to many of our new seasonal flavors, so we are adding Choc-o-Mint and Apple Pie to Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie permanent lineup based on the feedback. We have a couple of big launches coming up in 2019 that continue to deliver excitement to current and new categories.