Three years ago, a couple of guys here in Houston did just that when they started their Simply 7 Snacks Company. Paul Albrecht and Rashim Oberoi, friends since high school, were tired of eating chips with ingredients they had never heard of, so they started making their own.
“What we think is really important is the simple ingredients in all our products,” says company V.P. Albrecht, “nothing that you can’t pronounce… everything that people would recognize, so you don’t have to worry about what you’re putting in your bodies.”
They offer three different kinds of chips — hummus, lentil and pomegranate.
“The hummus chips and lentil chips are about 40 to 50% less fat than a normal potato chip or tortilla chip,” says Albrecht, “and our pomegranate chips are about two-thirds the antioxidant level of a glass of pomegranate juice.”
And he promises these “healthy” snacks aren’t like his good-for-you but less-than-tasty competitors’, “They try to be really healthy and they end up tasting like cardboard. And that’s not really a snack. Nobody enjoys eating that. (That’s why) one of our seven core standards in our name Simply 7 is ‘simply delicious’.”
So what are the other six?
- No trans fat
- No artificial colors or flavors
- No preservatives
- All natural recipes — nothing genetically modified
- Simple ingredients
But why produce these in Houston, a city often called one of the fattest in the country?
“We went to high school here. We went to college at UT, so we have close connections to Houston and all of our family lives in this city.”
Plus Oberoi’s family actually ran the Dishaka plant where the chips are made long before he and Paul decided to start Simply 7, so they already had the business infrastructure in place.
And business is booming! Albrecht says they grew 350% in 2012.
Besides selling their chips in Randalls, HEB, Kroger and Whole Foods grocery stores around town, they ship them all over the U.S. and even worldwide to places including Mexico, Canada, Panama, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and the Middle East.
They even won Snack Manufacturer of the Year for 2013 from the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery trade journal. Paul explains, “They awarded it to us really because of the business success we’ve had over the last several years, as well as the innovative things we’ve been doing in both manufacturing and product development.”
From a simple idea to worldwide distribution and industry recognition; Simply 7 Snacks has made the road to success look, well… simple.