BAD ASS WOMEN – Eve Laird
It was a health concern that pushed Eve Laird to start an alternative cracker company. Now she’s the owner of Eve’s Crackers, a flax-based cracker company that’s free of additives and preservatives. We caught up with Eve to chat about eating for your health, finding the joy in food, and navigating the food industry.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I have a company called Eve’s Crackers. We make flax seed-based crackers that are gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, and high in fibre. We are a Vancouver-based company, and we’re a company run by myself and my sister Sarah.
How did you get started in the cracker space?
In 2016, I was suffering from eczema, and in an effort to cure my eczema holistically, I went on an elimination diet. I cut out all of my favourite foods: gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, sugar, and alcohol. There was basically nothing I could eat, so I started experimenting because I needed a snack that checked the boxes. I love food. I’m a bit of a glutton at heart, so not eating a lot of those foods for some time was hard. I started experimenting in my kitchen, and I came up with this cracker recipe. I sold it to my friends at Lululemon, where I used to work, and then to family and other friends until I launched at farmers markets, which I did for a couple of years before moving into retail.
How are your gluten-free crackers different from others?
I noticed that nut-free and corn-free, and nutrient-dense options were missing in the gluten-free space. When I went to the gluten-free section, I found that the options were either rice crackers, which you can eat an entire case and still feel hungry, or corn chips, corn puffs, and corn-based stuff. Corn can be hard on your gut, so I was left with just rice crackers or something nut-based, but I wasn’t eating nuts at the time.
What do you love most about working in food CPG?
Making friends with peers in the industry because it’s such an interesting space to navigate. I have never been in the food industry before, so I really leaned on other small business owners and entrepreneurs to answer questions and help me along the way. I feel like my favourite thing is helping entrepreneurs and people in earlier stages of the business and connecting with people I look up to in the industry.
I also love sharing my snack with the world because it brought me joy at a time when I was struggling to find joy in food. It’s a snack that checks many boxes because it excludes a lot of things but doesn’t make you feel like you’re restricted.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to face so far?
Scaling production has been challenging. My sister and I used to do the baking and production ourselves. Eventually, we onboarded a co-packer and then that co-packer wasn’t the right fit, so we had to find another.
The other challenge is holding onto your margins. When you start in the grocery industry, you may figure out that you have a specific margin, but as you meet with retailers and learn more about the industry, you realize that people want discounts and how many fees there are. I feel like actually holding on to profitability has been the biggest challenge.
What do you see Eve’s crackers growing into?
My ultimate goal is to have us be a household cracker brand in North America. I would like to continue to make crackers, and maybe have six to seven flavours and grow our distribution to be in airports, sold as an in-flight snack, and in Starbucks. So, I envision some pretty powerful and exciting partnerships.
What do you do to nourish yourself? (both in life and nutritionally)
One thing I’m good at is sticking to a regular exercise program. I love to exercise, and I make sure I do it five times a week, which sets my workday up well. Getting outside is also essential. I live in Squamish, so I’m super lucky to be able to be in nature. I also go to bed at 9:30 pm.
I love to eat well, so I spend a lot of energy preparing meals and figuring out what my day will look like foodwise. Planning ahead when it comes to dinner would probably be what I regularly do to help me stay balanced and nourished.
What do you look for in a snack?
Something that tastes good. I look for taste first and then whether it’s healthy. If it is healthy, I will probably buy more of it and eat more of it, but something that tastes good is my #1.
What is something that people don’t know about you?
People would assume that I am super strict with my diet and only eat really healthy all the time, but I’m just a regular person that loves junk food just as much as the next person. I often eat Eve’s Crackers to avoid eating junk food because I find them satiating and yummy, but I do love chips and ice cream just as much as the next person.
What call out can we put out to our community to support you and Eve’s Crackers?
Where to find Eve’s Crackers! Find us at Save On Foods, Whole Foods, or online at www.evescrackers.com.