Tim Walter was ahead of his time when he created caffeinated sunflower seeds, Harold’s Sunflower Seeds, back in 2007. “It was so cutting edge at the time, but now there are other energy-infused food products out there,” he says. Now he’s done it again with the brand new Gabby’s Garbanzos.
A hummus-lover, Walter understood the nutritional value of the chickpea firsthand. In researching what snack lovers were looking for, the vast majority wanted something healthy, but complained that it’s hard to find good-for-you snacks that taste good. Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, and low in fat and sugar. “They really are the perfect storm when it comes to a snack food,” Walter explains. “They’re filling but low in calories, and they’re roasted with coconut oil so they taste better than dry-roasted.”
The other best part is the price. A 2-oz. bag retails for just $1.49, almost half the price of equivalent products on the market. “We found that if we did away with the typical stand-up re-sealable bags, we could keep the costs way down, and that was important to our customers.”
Sunflower seeds are extremely healthy and similar to almonds. They’re a great source of selenium and other micro-nutrients, and Vitamin E. And for truck drivers (a target market), they’re very popular because the hand-in-mouth motion helps keep them awake. Add caffeine and it’s a double-win. A non-caffeinated version is also available, as well as a jumbo version.
Always thinking about what his customers want, Walter realized that sunflower seeds in the shells are location and activity dependent. For example, they are enormously popular when camping, hiking, or going to ballgames. So last summer, Dakota Valley launched another first of its kind, flavored sunflower kernels without the shell, available in six flavors: Honey Roast, Louisiana Cajun’, Onion & Garlic, Tangy Ranch, Sweet Chili Lime, and Bloody Mary. “For people who don’t want to sit there and deal with the shells, they can still enjoy the health benefits,” Walter says, “and it’s the only line I’m aware of with six flavors.”
Dakota Valley Products are handcrafted in small batches in its Willow Lake, South Dakota plant, and created from locally or regionally sourced ingredients. A former farmer himself, Walter brings the right mix of skills to the business. Retailers can visit the website and use code 17XRBDIST at checkout for a wholesale discount of 50 percent off, which includes shipping. There is a $50 minimum purchase.
Dakota Valley Products
419 3rd St., P.O. Box 292
Willow Lake, South Dakota 57278
Tel: 605-625-2526 ext. 1