Five years ago, Hannah Barnstable started making muesli because she couldn't find one as good as those she enjoyed while backpacking in New Zealand.
Now that whole-grain, gluten-free, sugar-free alternative to granola is on grocery shelves in more than 3,500 stores nationwide, including Target. The name, Seven Sundays, suggests sitting down to a leisurely breakfast (as on a Sunday).
But today, with two young sons (14 months and 4 years old) she rarely sits down, even on Sundays in her Minneapolis home. So she headed back to her kitchen to create a grab-and-go muesli that she could eat with one hand. Seven Sundays' Muesli Bars are made of the same wholesome ingredients found in her muesli cereal mix.
"I knew that if I needed good grab-and-go breakfast food, other parents would, too," said Barnstable, who is CEO of Seven Sundays; her husband Brady is COO.
These squares were something new on the market, softer than snack bars, yet able to hold their shape. The packaging is transparent so you can see exactly what's inside — whole grains, dried fruit, nuts.
"Unlike most commercial bars that are extruded, these are gently mixed, formed and baked, then cut and wrapped, so they stay fresh and taste homemade," said Barnstable.
They aren't formulated to be protein bars or 100-calorie snack bars. They're a hand-held version of the single-serve grab-and-go oatmeal cups you now see in coffee shops and grocery stores. In other words, breakfast squared.
Now that Seven Sundays cereals have proved successful, getting the squares distributed to co-ops and grocery stores has been a less daunting task than it was the first time around.
"We've had an easier time setting up meetings with store buyers," Barnstable said. The squares are found at many of the stores that carry Seven Sundays muesli, and are available online.
Seven Sundays Muesli Bars are available in grocery stores and co-ops. The 2-ounce squares — Banana Toasted Pecan, Blueberry Lemon & Chia and Cocoa Pumpkin Seed — retail for about $2.50 each. A pack of 10 is $20. See the website for store locations: sevensundays.com.