A nonfiction adventure book sparked a whole new career passion for Shane Emmett. He was working as an attorney in the Governor’s office in Virginia when he read Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. His college buddies read it too and it sparked some lively discussions about chia seeds.
“We learned about chia in that book and we started eating them,” said Emmett. “Chia seeds have the highest omega 3’s, protein and fiber. After turning 30, we knew we had to pay more attention to what we were eating. It was different that when we were exercising three hours a day when we were in our twenties.”
They started kicking around an idea of how to tell the story about the benefits of chia seeds to other people and then read another book: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. Emmett said, “We thought ‘What if we could make a truly convenient snack product with a superfood?’”
Their brainstorming led to formation of the Health Warrior company, based in Richmond, Virginia, and an assortment of chia bars. They launched nationally more than three years ago in Whole Foods. They source the best, organic chia they can find from growers in South America.
The company sells a variety of different products: 8 Chia Bar Super Snacks (Apple Cinnamon, Mango, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana Nut, Coconut, Coffee, Acai Berry, Dark Chocolate Cherry); 4 Chia Protein Bars (Honey Almond, Lemon Goldenberry, Peanut Butter Cacao, Dark Chocolate Coconut Sea Salt); and premium black chia seeds and premium white chia seeds. The products are Non-GMO Project Verified and Gluten-free certified. The bars are also free of refined sugar, corn syrup, and chemical preservatives.
“We normally do some new flavors every year,” said Emmett. “We brought out the protein bars in late 2015.” He says people usually don’t realize that the majority of snack foods and bars are laden with sugar because sugar is a cheap ingredient. Manufacturers make a lot of margin.
“We’re trying to say it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Emmett.