Sejoyia, based in Louisville, won for its new line of products, Coco-Thins.

Louisville natural-food company wins award at Expo West

LOUISVILLE — Sejoyia Foods, a maker of natural sweet snacks, was recognized with a “NEXTY” award for “Best New Sweet Snack” at the 2018 Natural Product Expo West.

Coco-Thins from Sejoyia.

Louisville-based Sejoyia joined Fresca Foods in 2015. Prior to that, the company was branded as Wonderfully Raw and founded by Sequoia Cheney, who was looking to make a sweet snack made with natural ingredients. When she was looking to sell Wonderfully Raw, she partnered with Fresca Foods in Louisville, which she had met a few years prior at a trade show. Fresca, which was looking to acquire brands in the natural food space, rebranded the company to what it is today, Sejoyia.

“We took a step back to see not just what the company was but what it could be,” said Taylor Harrell, marketing director of Fresca Foods. “Raw food was not where we saw the most opportunity, but rather the opportunity was in the amazing ingredients and quality products. The brand has been so joyful, it’s something that was ingrained in its personality from the beginning, with the passion and energy put in each new product. We wanted to create products that are joyful, bringing snacking to the cookie aisle and making customers feel good.”

Sejoyia started with Coco-Roons, soft chewy cookie bites made with eight to 10 ingredients.

But customers started requesting thin, crispy cookies made with simple ingredients, said Will Lee-Ashley, vice president of brand operations. So the brand launched Coco-Thins to serve that need.

It was that snack that won at this year’s Expo West, the major trade show for the natural food industry.

“The idea here was to bring forward a cookie that’s a lot more simple,” Lee-Ashley said. “Cookies in general are declining as a category, and I think it’s because people have lost trust in what’s in them. We’re focused on a snackable cookie now with ingredients people can believe in. You can eat them, take them on a hike and not feel guilty.”

In addition to delivering on a cookie that customers were asking for, Harrell said she thinks Coco-Thins won as a best new snack because of how well it met the criteria Expo West was looking for.

“They’re made with transparency and integrity, all these words associated with the NEXTY pillars are what we’re trying to do every day,” she said. “It was extraordinary for the whole team, to bring that back to production, R&D and all the folks behind the ingredients. It’s incredibly validating and re-energizing after putting so much work into this product. Everything we’re trying to do with Coco-Thins was to make something disruptive for the cookie category, with five to seven ingredients that don’t sacrifice on taste and texture.”

Looking ahead, Lee-Ashley said the company plans to focus on promoting Coco-Thins, but is already thinking about new products it could make.

“We want to focus on what our core consumers want,” he said. “If we can bring indulgent snack foods with really simple ingredients into a product we get excited about, we’ll do it.”

 

LOUISVILLE — Sejoyia Foods, a maker of natural sweet snacks, was recognized with a “NEXTY” award for “Best New Sweet Snack” at the 2018 Natural Product Expo West.

Coco-Thins from Sejoyia.

Louisville-based Sejoyia joined Fresca Foods in 2015. Prior to that, the company was branded as Wonderfully Raw and founded by Sequoia Cheney, who was looking to make a sweet snack made with natural ingredients. When she was looking to sell Wonderfully Raw, she partnered with Fresca Foods in Louisville, which she had met a few years prior at a trade show. Fresca, which was looking to acquire brands in the natural food space, rebranded the company to what it is today, Sejoyia.

“We took a step back to see not just what the company was but what it could be,” said Taylor Harrell, marketing director of Fresca Foods. “Raw food was not where we saw the most opportunity, but rather the opportunity was in the amazing ingredients and quality products. The brand has been so joyful, it’s something that was ingrained in its personality from the beginning, with the passion and energy put in each new product. We wanted to create products that are joyful, bringing snacking to the cookie aisle and making customers feel good.”

Sejoyia started with Coco-Roons, soft chewy cookie bites made with eight to 10 ingredients.

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