Interview with Sarah Wallace, Co-Founder of The Good Bean

Sarah Wallace is a veteran marketer in the natural products industry, where she worked with companies such as Clif Bar (where she launched Luna Bar), Kashi, Bear Naked, Think Products, and PopChips.  In 2010 she started The Good Bean, Inc., and launched the first line of all-natural roasted chickpea snacks. Two years later she introduced The Good Bean’s Fruit & No-Nut Bar, the first chickpea-based nutrition bar. She brings her passion for innovation and making healthy food, and her experience creating strong natural brands to The Good Bean.

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into the business?
Sarah Wallace: I've been in the food business my entire career, starting out as a Brand Manager at Clif Bar where I spearheaded the launch of Luna Bar. Building brands in the natural foods industry is something I was lucky to discover early in my career was my passion.

Sarah Velasco: What does your job entail?
Sarah Wallace: As a Co-Founder, I wear a lot of hats. While my primary functional roles are leading Sales and Product development, I'm involved in everything from logistics to finance to HR!

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about The Good Bean? How did that start?
Sarah Wallace: I was inspired to start The Good Bean when I began to realize how relevant healthy snacking had become to Americans. But what I didn't really see out there were truly nutritious snacks naturally high in protein and fiber. A gluten-free cookie is still a cookie!! I grew up eating roasted chickpeas (in Bombay, India), and thought it was high time Americans got to enjoy this excellent bean as well!

Sarah Velasco: Why chickpeas? Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose them and their health benefits?
Sarah Wallace: Chickpeas are nutrition powerhouses full of protein and fiber. Ounce for ounce, chickpeas have as much protein as almonds, with WAY fewer calories. The fiber in chickpeas is unbeatable, and they are a source of many other nutrients as well. What's great about The Good Bean's chickpeas is that they are just that - whole chickpeas. No frankenfood!

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about the clean ingredients you use?
Sarah Wallace: We use non-GMO verified chickpeas that are sourced only from farmers in the USA, and all our seasoning are fresh ground for us. While we don't use too many sweeteners or salt, what we do use is evaporated cane juice, tapioca syrup, and coarse kosher salt.

Sarah Velasco: What does an average day meal plan look like for you?
Sarah Wallace: I have to admit that my day doesn't truly begin until I've had my large latte! Boiled eggs are a great source of protein if I've been able to sneak in a workout before breakfast, and lunch (when I don't skip it because of meetings), is usually a burrito bowl of grilled chicken and veggies along with beans and salsa. Dinner is often bean focused too - Indian, Moroccan or Italian bean and vegetable combinations, and always a glass of wine! 

Sarah Velasco: If you had to pick two of your favorite products for our readers to try, what would they be and why?
Sarah Wallace: I personally love our Sea Salt chickpea snacks and our Apricot Coconut bars. Our snacks because they are simple, but go a long way toward satisfying that salty snack crunch. Our bar because it is truly the most delicious bar I've ever tasted, even if I say so myself!

Sarah Velasco: Where can readers find your products?
Sarah Wallace: We are distributed in many national and regional chains such as Whole Foods, Albertsons, Ralph's Supermarkets, Stop and Shop, Wegman's, etc. as well as independent natural stores and online.

Sarah Velasco: Any plans for offering new flavors or products?
Sarah Wallace: We just launched some new flavors of chickpea snacks that are just hitting the market - Chocolate, Mesquite BBQ, and Thai Coconut Lemongrass. I'm in love with the BBQ!

Sarah Velasco: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
Sarah Wallace: At The Good Bean, we love putting chickpeas in everything. They really are the wonder bean! When you're not snacking on our products, cook up your own and stir them into salads, stir fries and hummus. Your tummy will thank you!