Michigan food business combines a socially beneficial mission with for-profit enterprise

Learn more about the business venture of one Michigan entrepreneur who’s using her product to make a difference.

When Christine Stamper formed Crunch Granola, a Wolverine Lake, Mich. business producing all natural, hand crafted, gluten-free granola in January 2012, she had more than a vision of a profitable venture. She wanted to use her new enterprise as a way to support a cause for which she ardently believes: that of ending child hunger.

Fifty percent of Crunch Granola’s profits are donated to the Forgotten Harvest food bank with future plans for profits from Lansing-area sales to be directed to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Stamper estimates that for every 12 ounce bag of granola sold, she generates two donated meals. In the months of January through August 2012, Crunch Granola has donated 12,380 meals to feed hungry children.

Stamper’s story is intertwined with the success of another creative venture, Incu-BaKe. Incu-BaKe is an incubator kitchen established in Holt, Michigan by Marcy Bishop Kates in 2011 to nurture the development of new, food-related businesses. Both ventures have thrived and Crunch Granola continues to be hand crafted by Stamper in the busy kitchen at Incu-BaKe.

Stamper is taking an unconventional pathway into the packaged, healthy food business. There must be something special in her recipe for success, because Crunch Granola has been named 2012 Up and Coming Entrepreneur by the website, Buy Michigan Now.

Aspiring food entrepreneurs can receive technical assistance from the Michigan State University (MSU) Product Center. The Product Center helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources and bio-economy sectors.

If you seek granola that is made with gluten-free ingredients containing no artificial flavors, colors, cholesterol, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or artificial preservatives, Crunch Granola’s website provides a list of stores and farmers markets where their products can be purchased. And remember, with every bag, you are helping to feed hungry children.

For more information about how MSU Extension works with individuals and communities to strengthen local food systems contact Randy A. Bell, Extension educator for Community Food Systems.

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