Granola is considered a healthy alternative to traditional cereals and is popular among foodies in the US in particular. But now an increasing number of people in Germany are acquiring a taste for it as well. The Munich startup Crunchtaste wants to take advantage of the trend. Crunchtaste founder Laura Kniggendorf answers our Seven Questions.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourself!
Laura Kniggendorf: I’m Laura, 27 years old and have lived in Munich for three years. I’m originally from the neighborhood of Frankfurt and I have studied political science in Heidelberg and Frankfurt. I currently work full-time as a project manager in an E-Commerce business. I created my brand Crunchtaste last year. The aim is not only for my friends and family to benefit from my passion for baking but to also make lots of other people happy with it as well. The idea to make granola came after numerous trips to the US. Granola has been a major trend there for quite some time and is particularly popular among foodies. It’s still not very widespread in Germany, but that’s changing. I’m also not a fan of thousands of additives in food, which is often the case with cereal: There are so many things added to it (especially sugar!) that you don’t need or are unhealthy. I wanted to counteract that: I developed recipes that work well without refined sugar and that don’t contain any artificial flavors. After positive feedback from my test-eater group, I decided to start selling the granola and launched my online shop www.crunchtaste.de.
Crunchtaste uses agave syrup instead of added sugar
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Laura Kniggendorf: Crunchtaste offers a healthy alternative to cereal products from the supermarket. A lot of people who start paying more attention to healthy eating can’t find any granola or cereal in supermarkets without added sugar or other additives. The granola from Crunchtaste is only sweetened with a small amount of agave syrup, which means it’s also great for vegans. It only contains natural ingredients and can be enjoyed without a care in the world. On top of that, granola isn’t that common in Germany yet. Crunchtaste fills that gap with high quality and special products and makes it easy for anyone to spice up their breakfast a bit.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Laura Kniggendorf: Of course, what doesn’t already exist? That being said, the granolas that are available often have too many additives, particularly white sugar. We can easily do without it! The products in the supermarket often taste much too sweet due to the added sugar. I promise you that our granola has nothing to do with what you find in a supermarket – it tastes real(ly good), is super crunchy and only contains natural ingredients.
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Laura Kniggendorf: The food industry in particular is subject to high standards and regulations. It’s difficult to understand it all in the beginning: What am I allowed to produce? Where am I allowed to produce? Where am I allowed to sell my product? How does the product need to be labeled? There are countless questions of this nature that have to be answered in the beginning. It was also a huge challenge to find the right bakery. We contacted a lot of cafés and restaurants, mostly without success. The bakery we were allowed to use in the beginning suddenly wasn’t available anymore and we had to start looking all over again.
“Nobody just drops by to ask about your granola”
One of the toughest challenges is contacting the right customers. Nobody just drops by to ask about your granola. Defining the target group, contacting the right people and deciding which channels to use to most efficiently set up communication has been and continues to be a major issue.
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Laura Kniggendorf: We’re still very small and are working on developing the brand. But we’ve had lots of positive feedback since our launch and have many returning customers. It’s really nice to see that people like and accept the product. That’s what we’re building on now.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Laura Kniggendorf: Munich is an extremely innovative and versatile city. For startups, Munich offers a multitude of opportunities. There are lots of different people who are open to innovation and willing to test out and try things. The international audience in particular is familiar with granola from back home or from travelling and is very open to our assortment. That was something we noticed during our visit to the Google office. The interest in high quality food is certainly high in Munich compared to the rest of Germany, which also helps. In general, the city does a lot for startups. Sometimes I wish there was a bit more support for food startups, particularly when it comes to providing general information.
Munich Startup: Get up early in the morning or pull all-nighters?
Laura Kniggendorf: No question, get up early! You get more out of your day and can organize it however you please: There’s room for other things besides work and chores.