Interview with With Gil Cohen of Perky Superfood Rolls Julie September 17, 2015 Behind the Kitchen, Gluten Free Options, Healthy, Products, Vegan I was first introduced to Perky Superfood Rolls at Goddess on the Go. It was the perfect mid day treat that kept my energy sustained throughout the long day. I was also pleased to find out that it only contains raw, plant-based ingredients. These fruit roll ups are far from anything you ate as a child, but are just as fun to eat. Perky Superfood Rolls are all natural, organic, vegan, raw-gluten free dehydrated fruit roll ups. With flavors like coconut banana, strawberry banana, and cacao banana(with more to come), these fun treats are a great way to start your day, refuel after a workout, or just snack on simply whenever! Founder of Perky Superfood Rolls , Gil Cohen, gave me a look into the inspiration behind his product, challenges of starting a business, and what’s to come for Perky! Read on to hear all about the founder behind my new favorite guilt free treat. Where did the idea for Perky Superfood Rolls come from? I started making the roll ups for classes I was teaching and for a healthy snack for my boys. We soon realized what a great snack it was before going to the gym or playing basketball. Plus the energy it gave us before and after our workouts was incredible. RJ would take them to his basketball tournaments and workouts, and eat them in between games. He said that it gave him energy and didn’t make him feel tired and he wasn’t hungry. My girlfriend couldn’t believe how much energy it gave her before teaching 2 back to back hot yoga classes 3 days a week. Soon it became a household favorite, sometimes we couldn’t wait for it to dry, so we would just peeled it right off the dehydrator tray and ate it. Moreover, during 2010, my younger son, Tal was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD. I decided to start to change Tal’s food habits and slowly reduce the sugar in his daily meals and snacks. Tal was able to fight the ADHD & OCD by eating more plant based food and healthy snacks. What sets him up for a great mood in the morning is a Perky fruit roll up, which gives him the healthy energy to jump start his day without the processed sugar he used to eat. What makes him special is his strong personality and determination to work daily on his condition and help to spread awareness to others who may suffer from ADHD & OCD. My boys and I want to use our personal experience to help changing the food habits of how people eat daily\ Had you always been interested in the food industry? Yes, my approach has always been about finding products for my family to eat that are healthy and low in fats and sugars. I started to transition into a healthier lifestyle in January 2011 after reading the book “Clean Detox” and completing the detox process for myself – I was astonished by my increased energy. Over the course of the next few months, I began making more health-conscious decisions like only drinking alkaline water and eating a plant-based diet, and then I earned my certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. I harnessed my passion for healthy foods and began teaching nutrition and wellness classes What does health and nutrition mean to you? It’s everything to me and my family. Being athletic all my life, I understand that food is fuel & medicine! It can be good medicine or bad medicine. I’ve always been conscious of what foods I put into my body and allow my two boys to eat. I believe in the statement “You are what you eat.” What were some of the challenges you’ve run into with starting a business? In the beginning, trying to decide on what flavors to create then searching for the finest organic, raw ingredients. Deciding on the size & texture of the roll ups was very important to us. We really wanted people to have the feeling when they were eating Perky Superfood Rolls it was like the good old days when we were growing up, but a much healthier version. Of course figuring out our target demographics, packaging, labeling, etc. took some time to finalize. In the beginning everything is challenging but in a good way. We tried a lot of different things until we finally felt satisfied and loved our product. With dehydration it’s tricky, so making sure to keep the integrity of our product is very important to us. We keep the dehydration temp below 115 degrees, therefore keeping the enzymes in our product alive and living. Do you think starting a business in NYC is harder than alternatives? Why so? No, I think the opposite. The market in NYC is great and growing. There is a big demand for healthier snacks that are Dehydrated, Organic, Living and Raw. We are definitely different than most of the raw, vegan snacks out on the market now. We are discovering that a lot of athletes, dancers, and people with high performance jobs love our product; they feel energetic and light after eating Perky fruit roll ups. Perky is a great grab and go healthy snack. What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs with an idea? What worked for you? To never give up & follow your heart, will help you tremendously with what you want to succeed in the future What advice would you give to NYC residents trying to live a healthier life? We are so lucky living in NYC because we have everything one desires at our finger-tips. So many choices of healthy markets, restaurants, wellness centers, yoga studios, expos, farmers markets, workshops, classes and retreats. I think the best advice I can offer is first you have to start with the desire, the willingness to want to make small changes to one’s diet and lifestyle. Then you have to work on your mind, body, soul. Because you can’t have one without all the components. Desire, willingness, mind, body & soul / spirituality. As one starts to shift all of these things, their life becomes a much healthier one. What’s next for Perky Superfood Rolls ? We are preparing to launch several new flavors, incorporating more raw fruits and superfoods. We are embracing popular protein and omega rich seeds such as chia, as well as superfoods such a macha and cacao. We are speaking with major and boutique retailers to ensure that our new products meet their consumer’s desires, while staying true to our mission. We hope to launch Perky Superfood Rolls at dozens of new retailers in 2015 and hundreds of outlets in 2016. Follow Perky Superfood Rolls on social media and head to their website to place your order!