An interview with Gail Becker, Founder of CAULIPOWER.
1) Tell me about the origins of the company and your experience with celiac disease. How did you first discover that cauliflower was the key?
My two sons are really the inspiration behind CAULIPOWER. They were both diagnosed with celiac disease at a young age, and after all those years of buying pre-packaged gluten-free food, I began to notice how unhealthy it typically is for you—filled with more fat, sugar, and calories.
Frustrated with what I could find, I caught on to the cauliflower craze that was sweeping the Internet. I made cauliflower crust pizza for my boys one night and they really liked it. Then they asked for it again the following week and, honestly, I said no. Making it took too much time and effort after coming home from a long day at work. I promised them that I would find it somewhere. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Then I did some research and realized it was a viable idea.
2) Why is CAULIPOWER not only a good choice for those who are gluten-free, but for those looking to eat healthier in general?
I like to think of CAULIPOWER as the great unifier offering. Anyone who has someone at the kitchen table with dietary restrictions knows how challenging it can be to make several meals at once. I tried to eat many of the gluten-free products along with my kids, but became frustrated by their high fat and low nutrient content. CAULIPOWER can be for those who like to eat healthier, gluten-free, or just want a great tasting pizza.
3) Why was it important for CAULIPOWER to support OneSun’s mission to combat childhood obesity?
One of the reasons I left the corporate world was to do something more meaningful and to start a business that would have a positive impact. When I first learned of Kelly Meyer’s work on teaching gardens and childhood nutrition, I knew I wanted CAULIPOWER to help. CAULIPOWER proudly supports OneSun and the fight against childhood obesity by contributing to the creation of vegetable gardens at underserved schools throughout the country. These gardens become real-life learning laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy.
4) Developing CAULIPOWER seems to have required both creativity and business skills—something that is not always easy to mix when starting from scratch. How did you manage to turn your idea into a growing business?
I was really taken by the idea of taking something that was born on the Internet because people wanted it and couldn’t find it in the marketplace. That’s consumer demand in control; all I had to do was listen.
As a frequent buyer of pre-packaged gluten-free foods, I knew that they were filled with a lot of junk and not many nutrients. The more that people were choosing to eat gluten-free, the bigger the need to provide more nutritional options became.
I invested in research and found that desire for the product went far beyond those leading a gluten-free lifestyle. For example, nearly four out of five respondents indicated that they would like to find a pizza that tastes great, but is healthier than the current offerings—and a similar percentage would like to increase their intake of vegetables, but only 14% identified as eating ‘gluten-free.’
Once I identified the need, the rest was rather intuitive. Coming from a background in journalism and marketing, the packaging, branding, and content creation were more fun than I care to admit.
5) The only current treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. How do you think the celiac community at large can address the need to shift the focus from a gluten-free diet, to a healthy gluten-free diet?
I think when the gluten-free industry first began, all it had to do was check off one box: Is it gluten-free? They didn’t have to worry about whether it was nutritious…or even whether it tasted good. Today, I’d like to think the industry is catching up with consumer demand. Today, people rightfully expect more from their food and it’s up to the industry to deliver. My favorite thing about CAULIPOWER is that it doesn’t try to hide that nutrition, but as the name says, it celebrates it: CAULIPOWER!
6) What other products can we expect to see in the future?
We will be exploring a variety of tasty, cauliflower-based options mid-year. In the meantime, let’s eat some pizza!
Learn more about CAULIPOWER at caulipower.net.