Today I’m sharing an inside look at CompletEats with founder Lauren Chew. Lauren, founded the company shortly after her step-mother transitioned to a plant-based diet. CompletEats cookies, which are both vegan and gluten-free, are made with a recipe using (almond flour, almond butter, chocolate chips, baking soda, chia seeds and sweetened mostly with dates) to keep things simple and DELICIOUS.
In the interview Lauren shares about when she first came up with the concept for the company, the benefits of a plant based diet and her favorite way to enjoy her CompletEats cookies.
When did you first come up with the concept for CompletEats?
In my previous life, I used to manage solar projects for a now publicly traded company. In this crazy adventure called life , I am always thinking about my next step. The road to cookies started out organically, as I was baking plant-based baked goods with my stepmom initially. When I first started baking, my goal was to keep the cookie recipe simple, relying on the natural, whole ingredients.
When my friends told me my cookies tasted as good as cookies with butter, granulated sugar, and eggs, I knew I was onto something and I wanted to share with others. I started out in 5 grocery stores in San Francisco, and I literally showed up to each store with samples asking the owners if they’d be interested in carrying my cookies. These stores are still my customers today. I never thought my business would grow so much from there!
How has following a plant-based diet improved your overall health?
Even though I had been a vegetarian for nearly 10 years, it wasn’t until I too started leading a plant-based lifestyle that I experienced increased energy and wellness. Finding out what diet works well for your body is different for everyone, and I never have pushed my beliefs onto others. However, I’m thrilled to see how demand for plant-based products has seriously grown.
Fueling my body with simple, clean plant-based foods is what makes me feel my best and how I enjoy eating! For me it’s a no brainer- eating plant-based is not only the most sustainable option but you look and feel great!
How long did it take you to come up with the recipe for each of the cookies that not only tastes good, but is also both vegan and gluten free?
Perfecting our recipes was a long process; almost a year or so of baking, taste-testing and listening to feedback from others until I finally felt the recipes were perfect. Once I had my base recipe hammered down, it takes about 3-4 months to launch a new flavor.. We value the feedback from customers and continually work to improve our recipes. The most valuable lesson I learned early on was to participate in as many grocery samplings as I could – it gave me access to unfiltered feedback from strangers and helped me understand what consumers (and future customers!) were looking for.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
Almost entirely California, with the exception of our dried bananas. It is important to me to work with smaller, local farmers – it is better for the planet but also keeps our ingredient standards are very high. I feel fortunate to be based in California and to have access to the farms we work with while lowering our carbon footprint.
Your cookies are currently offered in Banana Bread, Mocha Chip, Cherry Almond and Chocolate Chia. Do you have more flavors planned for the future?
Last December, we launched our first holiday flavor, Peppermint Cacao Chip. We may launch more holiday or seasonal flavors in the future, for the latest updates follow our Instagram!
Out of all the flavors, which one is the most popular with your customers?
Our most popular flavor is Banana Bread! People love enjoying the banana bread cookie with nut butter or in oatmeal- it’s a delicious combo!
On your Instagram you share different ways to enjoy the CompletEats cookies, from parfaits and smoothie bowls to cheesecake bars. How do you like to enjoy one of your cookies?
I love to incorporate our cookies into bliss ball recipes! They are a great grab-and-go snack and you can add all different kinds of ingredients. For tons of delicious and creative recipes using our cookies, check out our blog.
The CompletEats cookies are currently available in the Bay Area, on your online shop and Amazon. Do you plan to have your bars available at Whole Foods and independent stores as well?
We are launching with a national retailer next month outside the grocery vertical which I’m really excited about!
What is most important thing you’ve learned since founding your own company?
I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is having patience. Building a brand from the ground up is no easy feat, but I have learned to just keep going and stay true to myself.
I would encourage all entrepreneurs to find a mentor and learn from those who have been through a similar journey. Growing a business is an ongoing journey with so much personal development along the way. It can also be a lonely journey. It’s important to build a community around you and reach out to them when you need them.
Keep up with Lauren and CompletEats through the following links…
Photos provided by Lauren Chew