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Pipsnacks paving new ground for heirloom corn | 2021-06-08



NEW YORK – Pipcorn debuted a little over nine years ago in Smorgasburg, a trendy open-air market in Brooklyn, NY. The founders showed hand-stamped bags of heirloom seeds that had appeared in their mother’s spaghetti pot. Flavors included rosemary, sea salt, kettle, and Old Bay-inspired “crabby”.

Just a few months later, the brand was selected by Oprah Winfrey for its annual list of gift ideas, alongside high-top metallic shoes, high-end tequila and luxurious pajamas. The coveted award boosted demand for the snack company, which today offers a growing range of snacks made from hereditary corn, including crackers, corn spoons and cheese balls.

Compared to traditional corn, hereditary corn offers superior nutritional, quality and sustainability benefits, said Jennifer Martin, who founded Pipsnacks with her brother Jeff Martin and wife Teresa Tsou. The company sources from family farmers who save seeds from each harvest to plant for the following season.

The popped kernels are tiny, with a satisfactory crunch, the company says, and with virtually no pods, they’re easier to digest than regular popcorn. The brand’s puffed cheese snacks are baked with organic cheese and tinted with paprika, not artificial colors, noted Mr Martin. A number of dipping corn chips contain whole grain heirloom white corn flavored with ingredients like black truffle and lime zest.

“We had this amazing little popcorn heirloom that really started the whole thing, but we found over time and what we always wanted to do in the beginning … was take real ingredients and clean up childhood favorites,” said Mr. Martin.

Last year, Pipsnacks added a collection of snack crackers to its range, which were formulated with the leftover cornmeal from the brand’s cheese ball production in an exclusive national launch with Whole Foods Market.

“Sustainability has been a big part of our history for us from the start,” said Ms. Tsou. “We now use 99.9% of all heirloom corn we buy and we’re so grateful that Whole Foods recognized this opportunity and worked with us to get it on the shelves.”

Pipcorn products are sold in more than 10,000 retail stores, and the company is well on its way to achieving $ 12 million in sales this year. In a recent interview, the three founders talked about the past nine years and the future of pipsnacks.

Food Business News: How did you get into it?

Jennifer Martin: I have a lot of nutritional problems. I lived in Chicago and met a farmer who was growing this particular heirloom … He knew about my nutritional problems and said, “You should try this popcorn. It won’t hurt your stomach. “

I took it home and tried it, and it didn’t hurt my stomach which was shocking because up to this point in my life everything hurt me, especially popcorn. My brother Jeff helped me move a little while later and we had the whole place packed up and we had just one pot and the grains left and we popped him and he tried it for the first time and the first thing he did said was, “We have to sell this.”

Has it been difficult securing your supply of this heirloom corn as you scale your business?

Pipsnacks founderJeff Martin: This was one thing that was and will continue to be important to us as we grow, building the offering while celebrating the legacy, and that’s an interesting proposition as the hereditary corn was never intended to be a commercial product. It is passed down from generation to generation in small communities, usually for that community to grow for itself or its extended community. But it was never intended to be a commercial product.

We didn’t want to completely destroy the history of this carefully protected corn, but we also knew this was a really special ingredient to share with the world. That balancing act was interesting, but we’ve mastered it over time given the great relationships we have with the farmers.

What does future product development for pipsnacks look like?

Mr. Martin: We quickly realized that there are no more limits when it comes to a high-quality corn-based product. there is so much you can do That said, we definitely have more to do with salty snacks before expanding outside of salty snacks. There are so many of those classic nostalgic snacks from our childhood still on the shelves today, made with GMOs and artificial ingredients…. There is so much white space to clean up existing snacks that are popular and fun but never made naturally.

In the short term, we’re definitely sticking to salty snacks, generally bagged snacks, and you’ll see us in different parts of the aisle, but in the long run there are ideas we’ve been floating around for years that are completely outside of salty snacks. That speaks for how versatile and flexible you can work with such a high-quality corn ingredient.

We don’t want to be distracted by new ideas either, because the three of us love to develop and test new things. We sometimes start trapping each other because that’s a very fun part of the job.

What about other heirloom grains?

Mr. Martin: There is so much to do with corn, but there are other heirlooms worth celebrating as well.

Pipcorn on shark tankThere is some value in doing research outside of corn when making snacks that we couldn’t make with corn, but also from the perspective that there may be some other seeds that need to be saved. If we can turn around and do some of this work, that’s a really important thing when it comes to food chain health and food chain diversity.

We’re not tied to corn. We are corn today, but there is definitely an opportunity to grow outside of corn in the future.

You performed on Shark Tank more than six years ago and made a deal with Barbara Corcoran. How does it work?

Ms. Martin: Shark Tank reached out to us after they saw us on Oprah and it just wasn’t the time to go on the show so we stopped by the first time. The next year we applied and got on board and had a great experience. It’s a wild ride.

Fortunately for us, we wanted to work with Barbara and got a deal, and it’s been a great relationship ever since.

Okay, how did you get Oprah’s attention?

Mr. Martin: The Oprah experience came from our presence in this outdoor food market in Brooklyn called Smorgasburg, and that’s where we started our business. In 2012 we went to this outdoor market in a parking lot in Brooklyn on the weekends. We started in April and in May we were there maybe three to five weeks and one morning we were setting up and it was a really hot day … and we see someone working with a clipboard a few feet away. And it was so hot that you could tell she was uncomfortable. We said, “If you want to come back for some shade and use our tent as a home base, you’re welcome to do that.” She was grateful.

She used our tent as a home base for the next few hours. She was in and out. Before leaving, she said, “Thank you very much for giving me shade and a place to put my things. I’m a scout for Oprah’s Favorite Things and was sent here to find some new items to bring to Oprah and her team for this year’s gift guide. ”She wanted to take some pipcorn with her.

We were down, but didn’t think this was going to happen at the time. We were a couple of weeks old and thought this was a cool interesting part of the story that obviously turned into an amazing feature not only in the magazine but also on their TV show … on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Obviously, Oprah loved the popcorn.

Pipsnacks portfolioMr. Martin: It was an iterative process; Oprah is heavily involved. Not only is this gift guide formed and Oprah has nothing to do with it. She’s the one who puts her stamp on these articles so it’s been a lot of iterations, what will it look like?

So we got these amazing wooden boxes that were individually handcrafted in Brooklyn. We had great vacation flavors. We took a tip from Oprah. At home she has truffle popcorn with lemon zest on top, so we put some of those flavors that she really loved into this vacation product. After a few months back and forth … we were selected and actually went to her office. We didn’t know we were going to be selected. They were filming behind the scenes what it takes to get a few brands on the list, and while they were putting our box on a conference table, she jumped out a door and said, “Yeah, I’ve already chosen.” these. I love it. You are in this year’s gift guide. “

That was in the summer. We had three months to prepare for this wave that would inevitably come.

So you’ve teamed up with a co-packer to ramp up production?

Mr. Martin: You would think so. That would be the right thing to do. We took a different approach because we were made ourselves. We’ve definitely invested in more professional popping equipment. We started building a team to help out in the kitchen. We thought we were better prepared than we were, but the welcome was amazing.

When the episode aired on TV, we were one of three brands that were featured, and by far the smallest, and they didn’t even talk about us or show the product. They searched our packaging in the market very quickly and our website crashed immediately. It was from that moment that we thought we were so prepared and the only thing we can’t have is the website crashing and it happened so quickly.

The good news is we were back up and running during the segment, but we missed that first wave, which may have been a blessing because we were having a hard enough time producing and shipping all of the orders we received. We scaled up as much as we could, then it was just like making the popcorn upside down, packing the popcorn, and shipping the popcorn for the next two months.

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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