Issue Fall 13
Nu-World Foods is not one of the many new companies suddenly coming up with gluten-free products today. In fact, Nu-World has been leading the gluten-free and allergy-free industry for the past 30 years, even before the term “gluten-free” was a marketable phrase in the food industry.
“When we started Nu-World Foods, the whole purpose of the company was to offer nutritious, great-tasting products,” President Susan Walters-Flood explains. With an initial focus on ancient grains – amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, teff and millet – Nu-World concentrated on tasty food that was also highly nutritious and free of the most common allergens. “We made the decision 30 years ago that we weren’t going to bring in wheat or any of the top-eight allergens into our facility – wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish or fish. All of that was driven by our customers’ demands.”
The founders of Nu-World Foods – Walters-Flood’s parents, Larry and Diane Walters, and her uncle Terry Walters – were true pioneers in an industry that was in its infancy in 1983.
“In the early years, Nu-World was all about processed product development and even farming and crop development,” Walters-Flood explains. “It took a good number of years to define the safe supply chain for gluten-free products and develop the product processing expertise to offer safe, great-tasting, nutritious products.” Nu-World grew its market share with a multifaceted approach.
Today, Nu-World’s employees serve the needs of mega brands and niche marketers alike by providing safe, gluten-free, allergy-friendly ingredients, custom milling and blending, retail pack-out, and bakeline services, producing a variety of gluten-free products for companies competing in the allergy-friendly food industry.
Nu-World helps customers develop new gluten-free, allergy-friendly products and also convert existing products into allergy-friendly versions with ingredient substitutions. “Leveraging our history of developing and producing gluten-free products, we help customers move from a non-gluten-free product to a great-tasting gluten-free option.” Walters-Flood explains. “We’re also able to help to improve products by naturally boosting the nutrition profile of the product through the use of ancient grains and other natural ingredients.”
The company’s commitment to meeting its customers’ growing needs led to the implementation of its new bake line, which produces shelf-stable baked goods, such as cookies and toaster pastries. The bake line has the capability to also produce bars, granola, and crackers in the future. “We are always looking to better serve the marketplace in a more comprehensive way,” Walters-Flood explains. “We can now help our customers offer more convenient ready-to-eat, great-tasting gluten-free foods”
At the end of the day, Nu-World wants to make sure the final consumer can access great-tasting products that mirror the attributes of non-gluten-free foods, while ensuring food safety and gluten status integrity. “Safety begins with ingredients and continues through production,” Walters-Flood explains. “The ingredients undergo a lot of scrutiny. The suppliers of the materials are reviewed based on risk assessment and internal quality-control procedures [to] make sure practices are being followed to ensure food safety. All of our products are further tested by lot before they leave our facilities.”
Nu-World plans to continue leading the gluten-free, allergy-friendly market, relying on its team and its strategic partnerships. “Innovation helps us be a very integral part of the success of our customers by keeping them differentiated in the marketplace,” Walters-Flood says.
But it’s the company’s employees who are at the heart of the success and growth of Nu-World. “Our employees are proud of what our products allow the final consumer to do: to serve safe and great-tasting versions of their favorite foods,” Walters-Flood says. “That is what brings it home for all of us, whether you’re sourcing ingredients or producing products. Wherever you are in the organization, you’re a critical part of delivering on the promise of high-quality, great-tasting products.”
Nu-World’s great team is also behind the company’s push for innovation. “We invest in people to foster creativity,” Walters-Flood says. “We are always making sure the company is at the forefront of new ingredients, new ways of preparing products, new means of boosting nutrition and bringing more food and drink options to the gluten-free, allergy-friendly market.”