by Kelli Wickard
What mom wants their child to eat an unhealthy breakfast? Not Sue Kakuk, founder of Kakookies!
When Sue found out that her daughter and her daughter’s friends were eating donuts before their collegiate cycling races, she took it upon herself to find a way to give nutritious breakfast on their big race days. Not only was it important to give her daughter a healthy breakfast, but also to provide something that was convenient, individually wrapped and would fit easily in the back pockets of her daughter’s cycling jerseys. Sue started baking cookies and Kakookies was born.
When she first started baking the cookies, Sue wanted to accommodate for needs of many people with dietary restrictions, so she began by substituting typical cookie ingredients for healthier alternatives, baking regular, gluten free, and vegan cookies. To her surprise, most people, vegan or not, chose to purchase the vegan cookie over any of the others. She took that information and ran with it. She said goodbye to the flour, dairy and eggs and added no other substitutes for these missing ingredients. Now, all of her cookies are completely vegan.
In the beginning, Sue started selling her Kakookies at local athletic events. They would make about one thousand cookies, and to her excitement, they actually sold! Retailers and coffee shops started asking if they could stock Kakookies on their shelves, and Kakookies started growing organically.
At this point, Sue and her husband Jay were hand-scooping, hand-baking, and hand-wrapping each and every cookie. When they chose to go all-in and make this a full-time business, they decided that they needed to find a co-packer or a bakery to help them out with the process. This proved to be a challenge, as not all bakeries have the wrapping machines they needed or can make a cookie the way that Sue and Jay wanted. They found a small bakery that was willing to take on this task, however, as the business gained customers, Kakookies outgrew the first bakery and transitioned to a bigger bakery to meet the demands.
Fast forward a few years, Kakookies now offers five different flavors of Kakookies. The delicious varieties include Almond Cranberry, Boundary Waters Blueberry, Cashew Blondie, Cranberry Orange, and Dark Chocolate Cranberry. Kakookies is currently stocked on the shelves of approximately 200 stores and coffee shops, and growing! They are continuing to create new flavors of Kakookies for the world to enjoy.
This will be Kakookies’ fourth year participating at the Feast! festival. When asked what kept Sue coming back every year, she had nothing but positive things to share about her previous experiences.
“I love the opportunity to meet other food producers,” Sue shared, “I also really like that the event is organized into two days, where one day I can meet food producers and the next day I am able to engage with the public!”
Kakookies also was awarded the “Ready to Grow” award at last year’s Feast! tradeshow, supported by Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s New Markets Program. This award was given to Kakookies because of its potential and readiness for the business to grow.
Come check out the hype about Kakookies and have the opportunity to meet Sue Kakuk yourself at the Feast! festival on Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn. Sample over 100 exhibitors’ products, learn from the various demos offered throughout the day, and get a chance to meet the owners of these great local businesses.