Melissa Bartow discovered dates when she moved to New York City to go to NYU. She always loved fruit, so dates became a regular part of her diet. They satisfied her craving for sweets and increased her energy. Little did she know that, before she graduated, she would be CEO of her own company, Wanna Date?, providing date-based spreads, all natural, low calorie, vegan, allergy free and packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, potassium.
She was working at a smoothie and acai bowl shop near campus, and a big perk was all the free fruit. But when she found out the acai was sweetened with lots of processed sugar, and sometimes peanut butter, honey, or Nutella were added to the bowls. Not as health-conscious a shop as she had imagined. If only there was a way to drizzle dates onto the bowls . . . .
Melissa put her trusty food processor to work and blended the first batches of date butter in her dorm room. By one of those flukes of good fortune, she was taking a Crowdfunding Video Production course at the Tisch School of the Arts. By the time she finished the course, she had her product, company name, labels and a video she could use to raise funds. But there was so more that she had to learn. For that she went to the University of Google. She learned such lessons as the need to lower the pH to keep the date spread from being a petri dish for salmonella; how to do marketing research; and how to get approved by the FDA.
Wanna Date? is now selling the first ever date spread in four flavors:
- Cinnamon tastes like a healthy cinnamon roll that’s come out of a blender.
- Chocolate will “break up” that dysfunctional relationship you have with frosting and hazelnut spread.
- Vanilla excites your taste buds—who says “vanilla” stands for “bland.”
- Pumpkin spice flavor that you can enjoy all year.
Wanna Date? is packed with nutrients:
The spread is sweetened with natural sugars that are good for you, unlike processed sugar. Fiber keeps the digestive system running efficiently, and natural carbs keep the energy up. They also keep us feeling full longer, and that means we are not constantly snacking. Bananas have been the “go to” source for potassium for a long, long time, but the date spread has even more! Potassium is a natural electrolyte essential for muscle recovery and maintenance, and it keeps blood pressure levels healthy.
Other vitamins and minerals include vitamins A, K, and B-6 as well as riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, niacin, selenium, copper, manganese and organic sulphur.
What the spread doesn’t have is also important: gluten, dairy, nuts, allergens, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.
There is no limit to the ways in which you can enjoy Wanna Date?:
- Dip apple slices, bananas, pears, strawberries, etc.
- Dip pretzels and crackers.
- Spread on biscuits, muffins, toast, pancakes, waffles and sandwiches.
- Add to smoothies, yogurt, acai bowls, chia pudding, ice cream.
- Add to recipes for breads, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls or brownies.
- Use as a frosting substitute or as a topping for ice cream.
- Combine with other spreads, such as peanut butter, almond butter, jam or jelly.
- Be fearless! Spread it on s’mores. Spread it on bacon. Mix it into a salad. Set it on the Thanksgiving table with the cranberry sauce.
- Let your inner child out and eat it right out of the jar!