Dustin Finkel is a health enthusiast, a CrossFit instructor and a nutrition counselor. Naturally, he is careful about what he eats. Even so, one night with his friends, he decided to throw caution to the winds and pig out on so-called “healthy chips” that were high in calories and bad fats and, to add insult to injury, they didn’t taste all that good. He thought, “Does healthy really have to be bland and boring?” So he and his wife, Christina, started experimenting. Since they had been following a Paleo diet for years, they used the ancient grains in their pantry and created a snack that earned rave reviews from family, friends and neighbors. They then founded the Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co. with Dustin as CEO and Christina as Chief Marketing Officer, and their first product was Ka-Pop! Popped Chips.
Dustin’s career path gave him a wealth of experience in every facet of business, from investment banking at Goldman Sachs to developing the first ever gluten-free cereal for General Mills to creating and launching new products for Horizon Organic and Abbott Nutrition. He also teaches Marketing and Business Management at the University of Colorado. Christina had been a top tier marketer for companies such as Danone and General Mills for more than 15 years. Their mission is to bring authenticity, simplicity and joy back into the marketplace.
Ka-Pop! Chips are made with sorghum, a whole grain that is unfamiliar to many of us, even though it is considered an “elite” plant that our early ancestors domesticated at least 8,000 years ago and today is a dietary staple of more than 500 million people in more than 30 countries. It is considered nature’s first super food, and that makes Ka-Pop! Chips super-snacks, packed with magnesium, potassium, iron, protein, vitamins B and E, fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants. They do not contain allergens such as wheat, dairy, peanuts, soy and shellfish. Just think, a snack your child can take to school! They are also, of course, gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan. It’s difficult to imagine anything healthier—and at only 110 calories a serving.
Sorghum is as good for the earth as it is for us. It uses a fraction of the water as other grains and has been bred to have a decreased need for herbicides and pesticides. In addition, it stores an increased amount of carbon underground, which could aid greatly in combatting climate change.
The air-popped chips, produced under stringent quality and safety conditions in a kosher-certified and nut-free facility, are airy and light with an appealing crunchy texture. The sorghum, both whole grain and flour, is put into a high-pressure popper that is shaped like a chip and then lightly seasoned. The five flavors are Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Salt and Vinegar, Dairy-Free Cheddar, Rosemary Garlic, and Red and Green Sriracha.
Dustin and Christina partner with the Sorghum Checkoff, a farmer-funded organization that promotes research into sorghum and education for consumers in the value of sorghum in a healthy diet.