Today I’d like to introduce you to our Local Partner Kimberly Snow, founder of Aleia’s Gluten Free Foods in Branford, CT. Kimberly is the creator of the the #1 selling gluten-free breadcrumb in the nation. In fact, the bread crumbs are so good, we no longer use wheat crumbs of any kind in dishes at The Foodery!
A Baker At Heart
Kim has been baking with family since she was a child. She went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, working in and owning several successful restaurants since the early. In 2002, Kim became violently ill, often breaking out in hives and experiencing brain fog and fatigue. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and her doctor told he she would never be able to eat or even work around gluten again. She was so ill, she lost 30 pounds and struggled to find things she could eat and actually enjoyed.
So Kim, a master baker, went back into the kitchen and started experimenting with gluten-free recipes. After much trial and error, she created a white bread recipe, from which came bread crumbs, stuffing mix, croutons, and cinnamon raisin bread using whole grain, nutritious ingredients like sorghum. She even converted her grandma’s Italian cookie recipes to gluten-free! This is where Aleia’s Gluten Free Foods was born, named after Kim’s grandmother.
A New Business Was Born
After selling her second restaurant, Kim rented back the kitchen space to begin producing her gluten-free products, having landed a spot on the Whole Foods shelves. One Christmas Eve, Kim received a cold call from a woman from Stop n’ Shop, asking to put Aleia’s on the shelves. She thought it was a crank call, so she quickly hung up! The patient woman called back and assured her that wasn’t the case.
Since then, Aleia’s has continued to rapidly grow, selling at stores nationwide. Regardless, Aleia’s continues to manufacture all their own products, an usual quality within the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry. Kim makes it a priority to continue in this manner in order to control the high quality and safety of her products for her customers, both of which are the utmost priority to her. So they keep adding more ovens and more equipment, even expanding into a new space to accommodate the demand for these magical breadcrumbs.
The Aleia’s Community
As Kim says, upon starting this business, “I thought I was opening a bakery! I didn’t know I was starting a manufacturing facility. I didn’t realize it would be overwhelming.” With the help of a extremely supportive and equally passionate team, they’ve managed through it. As she said, “When one starts to slide, the others are there to pick them up and keep going.” A day at the facility includes laughing, singing, sharing lunch, and having fun. Kim says, “We’re a community here and our customers are just our extended community.”
As a message to her customers, Kim wants everyone to know she really cares:
“We are true to our ingredients, we’re really conscientious, and we truly care about what you think and feel. If it wasn’t for our customers, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Kim truly gets more joy out of giving than anything else, encouraging visitors to stop by for some product; all she asks is that you pay it forward.
You can currently sample Aleia’s Gluten Free bread crumbs in the following dishes from The Foodery:
- Pecan Chicken (as a coating)
- Mac N Cheese (as a topping)
- Moroccan Meatballs (as a binder)