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RIND Snacks founder shares great-grandmother’s ‘no waste’ philosophy

A RIND dried fruit snack features each fruit’s peel and is made from upcycled, misshapen fruit to further reduce food waste. Learn more.

Davina van Buren

January 23, 2024

4 Min Read
RIND Snacks founder shares great-grandmother’s ‘no waste’ philosophy
RIND Snacks

Healthy living is in Matt Weiss’s blood. His great-grandmother, Helen Seitner, owned and operated a natural foods store in Flint, Michigan, almost a century ago. At the Stay-Well Health Shop, Seitner carried all manner of produce, flours, bulk seeds and nuts. Every day, she made fresh juices of whole fruits and vegetables—including the roots, rinds, seeds and stems.

This “nothing goes to waste” philosophy greatly affected Weiss, who grew up seeing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle: Seitner lived to nearly 100 years old. After a nearly two-decade career in finance, Weiss left investing in 2020 to continue Seitner’s health food legacy and founded RIND Snacks.

We caught up with Weiss to discuss RIND’s journey and the brand’s missions.

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Edible peels represent about 15% of annual food waste. Why is it important to “Keep it Real, Eat the Peel?”

Fruit rinds, for the most part, have been thought of as a food by-product, an annoying step that gets in the way of the sweet fruit and is generally discarded. We think that’s crazy!

As nature's original packaging, peels have potent health properties – more vitamins, fiber and antioxidants are present in the rind than any other part of the fruit. Fruit rinds contain, on average, up to three times the dietary fiber and vitamin content per serving as compared to peeled fruit. Additionally, small scraps of edible peels add up to big problems, with fruits and vegetables representing the single biggest segment of unnecessary food waste. RIND helps consumers maximize nutrition and minimize waste with their snack choices.

Related:Monitor: Awareness is still growing, but upcycled products are an easy sell

Tell us about your recent product line expansion.

REMIX, our newest product line, extends RIND’s portfolio into delicious whole fruit and nut snack mixes. For example, Piña Colada REMIX—for which we were a NEXTY finalist in 2023—features organic upcycled pineapple, coconut crisps and seasoned cashews for a mix packed with fiber, protein and heart-healthy fats. [Editor’s note: RIND’s Piña Colada REMIX was a finalist for the Expo East 2023 NEXTY Award in the Best New Sweet Snack category.]

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Since your snacks are zero waste, do you have upcycled certification?

We are proud that RIND was one of the first CPG brands to become Upcycled Certified across our full snack portfolio. Our partnerships with small family farms across the U.S. who share our mission of minimizing food waste while maximizing nutrition are central to our mission.

Tell us more about your school nutrition education programs.

We launched a school nutrition initiative during COVID that we’re very proud of called Love is RIND. One in six American children struggle with food insecurity and even when they do have access to food, the choices are typically lacking in proper nutrition. This can lead to difficulties in learning and long-term health and developmental issues.

Related:The Natural List podcast - Upcycling: How 'trash' food became a climate movement

Love is RIND tackles this problem by providing children in underserved public-school systems with nutritious food donations and healthy snacking tools and materials. We work with local organizations and schools to donate nutritious snacks to children on weekends when access to food outside of school is more limited. The goal is to provide lasting food and nutrition security for these children and foster healthy eating habits early in their lives. Since its inception, Love is RIND has donated more than 70,000 bags of our wholesome fruit snacks to children and their families.

What’s the biggest challenge of being in the natural products industry?

Managing constant change and seismic shocks to our industry. RIND launched into retail in early 2020, just as the pandemic was spreading around the globe, forcing our team to adapt and build a more flexible, agile and diverse business than we initially anticipated. The good news is that this helped our team navigate and put into perspective the inevitable curveballs that come with scaling a startup.

That said, it can be hard to manage a business with multiple variables out of one’s control, including inflation, interest rates, capital markets and consumer sentiment. For this reason, we encourage our team not to focus on the macro environment and instead prioritize what we can actively control. For us, that’s creating and delivering high-quality, innovative snacks in the kindest way possible.

What advice would you offer fellow natural products entrepreneurs?

I’m a firm believer that network equals net worth and think it’s critically important for entrepreneurs to be fearless in their approach to learning and growing from others. I have found this requires a “nothing to lose, everything to gain” mentality best captured by the act of planting a thousand seeds and connections that one cultivates throughout their career.

This could be as simple as sending cold emails or DMs or attending trade shows, pitch slams and networking events before you think you’re ready. Most knowledge is gained experientially, which requires taking a fearless first step and immersing yourself in your chosen community.

What’s next for RIND?

We have some major “fruitful” news to share with the natural products community very shortly, including the launch of new capabilities, new partners and lots of new snacks. Stay tuned!

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Sustainability

About the Author(s)

Davina van Buren

Davina van Buren is a North Carolina-based food writer and farmer. In addition to writing for numerous food brands, restaurant and agricultural tech companies and industry trade journals, she also grows heirloom vegetables and microgreens for local chefs.

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