BY SUSAN HAUSER
“I read the book Sugar Blues to my boys,” confesses Betty Lou Carrier, president of Betty Lou’s Inc., a McMinnville manufacturer of healthy snacks. “They didn't want sugar after I read that to them.”
Bedtime reading of a 1975 diatribe against sugar did the trick. Carrier recalls that her sons, now middle-aged men who are executives in her company, would even give away their Halloween candy, preferring to feast instead on their mother’s homemade peanut butter nut balls.
|Betty Lou's Inc.|
|Founder & President: Betty Lou Cerrier|
|Fun fact: 23 million protein bars sold in 2011|
About 70% of the balls, bars and other snacks are created with private labels for clients, who include Gardenburger founder Paul Wenner and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View. But Carrier says Betty Lou’s is shifting gears this year by putting more emphasis on products under her own Betty Lou’s and Just Great Stuff brands.
Most of her contract clients are people she met at trade shows. She started showing her products at trade shows (and still does) during the eight years that her business was still in her home kitchen. Back then her product wasn't even packaged. Customers removed the peanut butter nut balls with tongs from a large jar. Natural foods stores from Seattle to Sacramento were part of the sales route she regularly drove.