Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to speak with Sadie Olsen, founder and CEO of Otto's Naturals, a gluten-free baking company, about the gluten-free sector and trends in the industry.
Liz Parker: How does Otto’s bring points of differentiation to the products?
Sadie Olsen: Otto’s Naturals Grain-Free product line is all cassava-based—a perfect alternative to all-purpose flour. Only 100% yuca (cassava root) and water are used to create our single-ingredient flour and we use it as the base for all our allergen-friendly baking mixes. We wanted foods without that familiar dry or "alternative flour" taste or texture that often comes with a gluten-free label. Our premium cassava flour keeps the naturally occurring fiber intact, which allows it to be used as a beautiful multi-purpose flour sub and not just a thickening agent, like tapioca for example. We are so proud that many customers have commented that baked goods made with Otto's are indistinguishable from their wheat-based counterparts in both taste and texture.
LP: Has anything been done for an improved eating enjoyment or flavor?
SO: Since the very beginning of Otto’s Naturals, I was laser-focused on delivering a product that was second to none when it came to texture and flavor. Working without allergens doesn’t mean things have to taste allergen-free and our clean ingredients make that possible.
When we branched into baking products, including brownie and cookie mixes, (all made free from the Top 9 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, and sesame), we knew they needed to taste like traditional treats. As a mom and entrepreneur, I wanted easy, family-friendly, healthy options that would satisfy everyone’s taste buds and not feel like a subpar substitute. Otto’s Naturals delivers on both.
Our mission is really to bring comfort food back to the table for all. Meals have always been joyful, connection-based occasions and we never want those with food allergies and intolerances to feel left out. With Otto's Naturals, they don't have to!
LP: How did Otto’s get started?
SO: It started in 2013 when I was experiencing food intolerances during my pregnancy with our son, Otto. Though there were a multitude of gluten-free products available, there were hardly any grain-free, nut-free solutions besides isolated starches, which couldn’t be used in traditional recipes. Plus, most of the grain-free, allergen-free options available on the market didn’t come close to qualifying as "comfort foods" in my mind (or heart). My purpose was to find a grain-free alternative that tasted so good, no one would even know the difference. Fast forward to 2022 and we now have a whole line of allergen friendly options to please even the pickiest eaters at the table.
LP: Any new products coming up for fall/winter 2022, or early 2023?
SO: Our newest product is Grain-Free Baking Powder. It’s the first ever corn-free and nightshade-free Baking Powder on store shelves and we’re super excited about it. No corn or potato starch makes it the perfect allergy-friendly alternative, all while still delivering the fluffy texture of traditional baking powder. Since it’s also aluminum-free, double-acting, Non-GMO Project Verified, Paleo-certified, Autism Hope Alliance Endorsed, and Top 9 Allergy Free, it’s a real game-changer for the one in four home bakers in America challenged by food allergies and intolerances. It’s currently available on our website and at Whole Food Markets nationwide.