Grand prize winners of Boise Entrepreneur Week’s Trailmix food startup competition – which includes shelf space at Albertsons Broadway, as well as $50,000 – were Heather and Thomas Dilworth of Big Sandy Organics in Big Sandy, Montana. We caught up with the Dilworths to find out more about their company.
What is the name of the product, and what is it?
We make ancient grain snacks, kamut, einkorn and lentils. They are crunchy snacks similar to a corn nut but much healthier and higher in fiber and protein. Kracklin Kamut and Einkorn Crunch are the two that are ready on the market. The lentils are still under development.
What gave you the idea to develop the product?
We didn’t develop the Kamut. A gentleman here in Big Sandy started experimenting with kamut years ago and then started the business about 10 years ago. Then he hired my husband to run the company in 2016, then we bought the company from him in 2020. We’ve only done kamut snacks until two years ago, when we started experimenting with einkorn and lentils.
What are your backgrounds that led you to working in foods?
My husband went to school at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah for marketing and public relations. I went to hair school, but ended up managing a Chili’s restaurant for a few years. So we don’t have much experimenting with food and never thought we’d be doing something like this but it just fell into our laps, so we’ve run with it.
What challenges did you have developing the product?
All grains cook differently, so it’s taken time to perfect everything we’ve done. We hope to be adding a few different flavors or einkorn and Kamut in the near future.
Where do you source the ingredients?
We buy the kamut locally; it’s grown all around Montana. The lentils are grown here, also, and the einkorn is shipped in from France.
Where is it manufactured?
Everything we make is manufactured right here in Big Sandy, a town of 600 people.
What is the product’s current status?
We have about 70 locations here in Montana that carry Kracklin Kamut. North 40 is a large distributor for us. But mostly lots of mom-and-pop shops carry it.
The einkorn is made as a private label for Young Living. They are an essential oils company but have started the einkorn crunch brand. They sell direct to consumer.
What led you to apply to Trailmix? What was the process like?
We had a good friend tell us about Trailmix who lives in Boise. He owns an equipment business and sells equipment to many production facilities.
Having won, what sort of response have you gotten?
We’ve gotten a ton of online orders from Boise and the Idaho area in general.
What are you using the award money for?
The money went to pay down lots of bills, honestly. And some of it to hopefully develop some new flavors or Kracklin Kamut.
What other funds have you raised, and from whom?
We have received several grants here in Montana because we live in such a rural area, there many grants available to us. We are not fundraising.
Written by Sharon Fisher, a digital nomad who writes about entrepreneurship.