Zest to use loan to develop cracker line
Last Updated: 16:36 November 4, 2013
Boulder-based Zest in October received a low-interest Local Food Producer loan of up to $100,000 from Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) based in Austin, Texas. Hess declined to give the specific amount of the loan Whole Foods made to privately held Zest. A Whole Foods spokeswoman referred loan questions to Hess.
Zest plans to start making and selling four flavors of almond-flour crackers, including herbes de Provence, caraway, cinnamon sugar and lemon zest, Hess said. Zest's almond-flour cakes and cookies are sold at 60 stores in 15 states, including several Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage stores, and similar natural grocers such as Boulder-based Lucky's and Alfalfa's markets, Hess said.
"Everything is happening at once," Hess said. "It's like we're racing to the holidays now."
The company's best seller is a seven-inch lemon almond cake, Hess said, which sells for $29.99 on the company website, www.zestbrands.com. Zest cookies sell for $2.99 on the website.
Sylvia Wyant is the company's other co-founder.
Past Whole Foods loan recipients include Justin's in Boulder, a nut butter and candy-bar maker that recently merged with a private equity firm based in California in a $47 million transaction. The loans must be paid back. Whole Foods representatives loan up to $10 million per year to businesses around the nation through the program, according to the company website.
Zest desserts are gluten-free, according to the company website. Gluten-free food sales continue to grow as health-conscious customers look for alternatives to wheat-based products.
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