Several years ago, Grace Ventura got a bug. The youngest of her six children, the only one still in the house, “wasn’t going to cook for me,” she jokes.
“I wanted soup,” Ventura says, but the canned options were packed with preservatives, bouillon loaded with salt. “And so I woke up one day at 4 a.m. and I just said, ‘How can I have my own soup any time, anywhere? Have something I knew would nourish me, with clean ingredients, that’s really simple.”
So Ventura, who had spent decades as a health and wellness professional, turned necessity into invention: a line of plant-based, organic, dehydrated broths that are both nourishing and targeted to attack common problems she’d heard from her wellness clients: energy, immunity and gut health.
Ventura worked with one daughter to taste-test and refine recipes, made in the early days via a Vitamix blender and dehydrated vegetable powder, and then worked with another daughter, an herbalist, to create something that could address the aforementioned health considerations.
Ventura named her product Beyond Broth, built a website, packaged her products, and called her health and wellness connections and used social media to get the word out. The community of natural food entrepreneurs at Naturally Boulder also assisted. It all kept growing, so Ventura found a co-packer, a supplier for dehydrated ingredients and started taking her products to stores in Colorado and, eventually, beyond.
“We would walk into a store and literally sell it in two minutes, because it never existed before,” Ventura says.
The community validated the concept of Beyond Broth, which is now undergoing a brand change to Grace’s Goodness Organics with plans to add complementary products.
There were some lessons to be learned, though. At least, Ventura says, advice from the entrepreneur community had her prepared for them. For instance, some customers were hesitant to buy the early product again because of the texture — the veggies in the broth (which becomes broth when you add hot water to the dehydrated packet, in case that wasn’t clear) would settle at the bottom, creating a concentrated, gritty flavor bomb.
Sarah Bird, CEO of Grace’s Goodness, who came into the company fold about a year and a half ago after stops at natural foods titans Annie’s and Bhakti Chai, says all it took was a simple, healthful addition to cleverly eliminate the problem while improving the product.
“Grace has always had on the back of the packet: add coconut oil and nutritional yeast to keep the veggies in suspension,” Bird says. So, to skip a step on the consumer side, “We added those ingredients. Now they have MCT powder, which has coconut oil. The veggies are more evenly dispersed, and it also has more flavor notes and makes it more nutritious.”
Each .35-ounce packet of Grace’s Goodness broths clock in at 320-350 mg of sodium (that’s about 14-15% of your daily recommended value), have no added sugars, are high in Vitamins A and C and are less than 1 gram of fat. You can sip the broth straight, or use it as a base for soups. The Immune variety has cumin and turmeric; the Better Belly option has lemon and ginger; and the Vitality offering has rosemary and thyme. (You can get them at gracesgoodness.com.)
As Ventura’s company embraces the new Grace’s Goodness brand and continues to grow, she says it’s critical that the reason she created the product in the first place stays front of mind.
“It’s so important the passion, the commitment, the mission, the vision and the purpose is always in alignment,” Ventura says. “If it falls away, if this new product didn’t keep up with the integrity or quality of where I started I couldn’t even back it and I don’t think other people would because of that [demonstrated] commitment to a higher purpose and mission. That, to me, is what wins the day.”