If there is one thing you know about me as a mom, you know that I always have snacks on hand.
There is nothing worse than being on a peaceful walk, trying to relax with some meditation music & your baby in the stroller, then they cry because they’re hungry.
You know it happens to you too.
Another stressful situation is when you’re traveling. You might have snacks, but what if you don’t have the RIGHT snacks ?? The meltdowns, the tantrums, oh my.
So one thing I always have on me are That’s It! Apple Crunchables. The reason I like them is specific, as you can imagine.
There is only ONE ingredient !!
ONLY ONE. This ideal because I don’t want my daughter eating snacks with shitty ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. Let’s keep it minimal, right ?!
The first time I ever had a That’s It! product, I was 22 years old at The Coffee Bean working on The Skinny Confidential. I ordered a That’s It! fruit bar & immediately flipped it over to read the ingredients. There were only 2 – apples & strawberries. No words I couldn’t pronounce, no ‘natural flavors’ ( what the hell does that even mean? ), & no color #13F.
Now, years later, I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to give Zaza That’s It! snacks because she is an Apple Crunchable ADDICT. So today I thought it would be fun to have the founder on to learn more about how the company got started & why they’re so passionate about healthy ( but healthy FOR REAL ) snacks.
In this post you can expect to learn why Dr. Lewensztain started That’s it., positive changes he’s seeing in the space & what we should all be looking for on our food labels.
Also, be sure to use the code SKINNY for 25% off your first purchase ( non-subscription only ) at thatsitfruit.com.
With that, let’s get right to it & welcome Dr. Lior Lewensztain to the blog.
♡ Introduce yourself to TSC audience.
Lior Lewensztain: I’m Dr. Lior Lewensztain, & I’m the founder & CEO of healthy snack company That’s it. I live in LA with my wife & two young daughters, & am working with my team at That’s it. to make convenient nutrition more mainstream for the masses.
We’ve been at it for almost ten years now, & have built out a collection of delicious, convenient, plant-based snacks like our original Fruit Bars, dark chocolate Truffles, Probiotic Fruit Bars, the new Kick coffee energy bar, & of course, the Zaza-approved Crunchables.
♡ Tell us how you started That’s it. I know it’s a family run business. Tell us the story behind that.
LL: I have a medical background… but the more I came to understand about our medical system, the more I realized that there was a huge need to address health on the front end, rather than waiting for people to get sick & then treating them.
It’s shocking how few Americans consume the recommended amount of fruits & vegetables as part of their daily diet, & it felt abundantly clear to me that something needed to be done to change that. I believe that food is medicine; that what we put in our bodies has a direct impact on our overall health. I wanted to make it easier for people get those nutrients & start taking steps towards a healthier life… & packing whole, nutrient-dense foods with no extra junk into a convenient snack bar felt like a good step in the right direction.
♡ We hear that your mom is the COO of That’s it. Tell us about the dynamic in the office.
LL: Honestly, for the most part, it works pretty seamlessly for us. We respect each other & can work in lock step towards our shared goal of growing & expanding That’s it. to make the biggest impact possible.
The biggest asset of our relationship is trust – the ability to blindly trust that your COO is taking care of business non-stop & making each decision in the best interest of the company is such a huge asset to any CEO.
Of course, it comes with its own challenges. We’ve had employees try to pit us against each other in the past, & we have to be very intentional about shutting off the work talk to be fully present during family time outside of the office, but overall, the pros far outweigh the cons. That’s it. wouldn’t be where we are today without the tireless work that she’s done as COO.
♡ What makes this snack brand different from others?
LL: Think about the snacks that you see in the fruit snack section. There’s no fruit in them! Everything on the shelves is packed with all kinds of unnecessary B.S. – juices, purees, concentrates, added sugars, etc.
I was determined to create a convenient snack that contained just fruit. No extra junk. & we did it. It’s ironic though – sometimes, people’s pallets are so accustomed to thinking that a fruit snack should taste like the typical Fruit by The Foot, or a Welch’s Fruit Snacks, that their initial reaction to our products is to think that they don’t belong in the fruit snack category.
Thankfully, we’re starting to see this change. In the last few years, people have really started paying attention to simplicity of ingredients, & are wanting to know exactly what they’re putting in their bodies. It’s moving in a promising direction, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
♡ You secured nationwide distribution with Whole Foods early which propelled you from Farmers Markets in LA to a nationwide brand basically overnight. What was that experience like? How did your company scale & adjust so quickly?
LL: That was a wild time for our young company. We went from manning small booths at the Farmers Market, to needing to scale up overnight to provide our products to one of largest retailers in the country.
It was a great problem to have, but definitely an issue that needed to be addressed because we didn’t want our growth to be limited by the amount of product that we were able to make. Luckily, we already had amazing manufacturing partners in place that really believed in the brand & were invested in our success.
They were willing & able to be nimble & quick, & worked with us non-stop to produce everything that we needed in those early days of the Whole Foods partnership – a partnership that continues & thrives today.
♡ My favorite is the Apple Crunchables, because they relax my daughter, especially when traveling. What is everyone in the office’s favorite item?
LL: The Crunchables are my daughter’s favorite too! They’re so perfect for a healthy snack on-the-go. My favorite is our Mango Probiotic Fruit Bar. I have one each morning, & love that it’s delicious & also packed with pre & probiotics. It’s the perfect way to start the day.
Everyone at the office has their own favorites, but I will say that we can never keep our dark chocolate Truffles stocked in the staff kitchen. We’ll put out 20 pouches on a Monday, & they will have all mysteriously disappeared by Tuesday.
♡ What are things we should look for when brands claim to have minimal ingredients?
LL: I encourage people to actually read the ingredient list on the packaged foods that they consume. Make sure that the ingredients listed on the front of the package matches the ingredients that are listed on the back. And then ask questions. What does “natural flavors” mean? Does this snack contain whole foods, or is it fruit purees? Being educated about what’s really in their food is going to start empowering people to take control of their health.
♡ What advice would you give someone who wants to get into the food product industry?
LL: There needs to be a void that your product is filling. The food industry can be an incredibly saturated space, so before you go all-in on a food product or company, be certain that it will be filling a need state.
For example, I saw that so few Americans were getting the nutrients they need with their daily servings of fruit. At the same time, it was clear that people were willing to sacrifice true nutrition in exchange for convenience. Our products address both of these issues. They are packed with the nutrients of real, whole foods ( & nothing else ), & yet come in the incredibly convenient bar format, perfect for eating on-the-go.
♡ Tell us about Kick coffee energy bars? Michael is obsessed!
LL: We’re all obsessed with the Kick energy bars too. For those that aren’t familiar yet – Kick is a new coffee energy bar that’s made from only six real, whole ingredients, including 95 mg of clean caffeine from single-origin Ethiopian coffee beans.
It’s also Keto-certified, organic, & plant-based. We’d been watching the Keto & energy bar spaces, & saw a lot of opportunity to put our That’s it. spin on them. Both categories have been growing in popularity, but the healthy options available within each were dismal. Keto snacks are typically packed with “dirty,” processed convenience foods that, while are technically within the Keto guidelines, lack any real nutrition. Meanwhile, most energy bar products are full of caffeine additives & sugar alcohols.
Our Kick bars are keto-certified & contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee with ingredients like organic dates, organic garbanzo beans, & organic Ethiopian single-origin Arabica coffee beans. And these bars have a real kick to them – you can really feel the caffeine hit!
♡ What is something happening in the food industry right now that you’re excited about?
LL: While the last year & a half has been incredibly challenging on a global scale, one of the silver linings is that people have started to be much more conscientious about the food that they eat.
They’re starting to check ingredients, ask questions about sourcing, & seek out whole foods-based diets far more frequently. I think that now more than ever, people are starting to recognize how directly their diets impact their health, immunity, sleep & overall wellness. One thing that’s been amazing to see is that the big corporations are reacting to the changing demands of the consumers.
For example – check out how McDonald’s is making its Happy Meals healthier, or how PepsiCo is shifting away from sugar-filled fruit juices & towards healthier snacks & drinks. It’s incredibly exciting to watch this shift happening in real time.
♡ What is something that you aren’t too excited about?
LL: I’m constantly amazed by the amount of food brands that put out misleading or intentionally ambiguous information about what’s really in their products.
For example: How often do you see the term “natural flavors”? Natural flavors is marketed as a health claim, yet the reality is that the vast majority of what qualifies as natural flavors is actually chemicals & preservatives.
♡ How can we incorporate That’s it. products into our daily routines?
LL: So easily! There is a That’s it. snack for so many occasions throughout the day. Of course, you’ll start the day with a Kick to give you that caffeine boost & get your day going. A Fruit Bar or Probiotic Fruit Bar is the perfect snack to hold you over between breakfast & lunch.
You can even top your lunch salad with some of our Apple + Pumpkin Seed Crunchables. Last but not least, our dark chocolate Truffles are the perfect after dinner dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth & head off to bed satisfied & not overly stuffed.
♡ What are your favorite That’s it. items for kids & babies?
LL: Our Mini Fruit Bars & kids’ Crunchables are perfect for kids & babies. The Mini Fruit Bars have all the same attributes as our original Fruit Bars ( non-GMO, no added sugars, juices, concentrates, purees, etc. ) but come in the perfect kid-friendly size.
They’re ideal to throw in the school lunch box or to keep in the car for when hunger strikes in the backseat. And then our Kids’ Crunchables are also perfect for that age group. They’re literally just organic apples that have been crisped into these delicious, crunchy, packaged snacks that kids can’t seem to get enough of.
♡ What’s a book, podcast or resource that you recommend?
LL: Well, my favorite book is Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike – but I have to say that my team will not stop talking about GET THE F*CK OUT OF THE SUN. So I’m going to have to recommend both of them!
♡ Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out!
As we mentioned, the Crunchables are a real hit, especially if you have kids. What is your favorite That’s it. snack? I’d love to know.
Remember to use the code SKINNY for 25% off your first purchase ( non-subscription only ) at thatsitfruit.com.
+ 3 collagen tea recipes you just have to try.
++ check out this recipe for healthy, cauliflower crust pizza.
+ this post is in collaboration with That’s it., all opinions are my own