Foto: Franky & Friends

Franky & Friends: Healthy snacks to mix

The combination of nuts and dried fruit has always been very popular as a snack between meals. What used to be the same old trail mix is now available in a variety of exotic combinations. At Franky & Friends, the ingredients are not only organic and free from additives, they also come from fair cultivation and support sustainable and social projects. Founder Frank Matthiesen explains in this interview how his concept of snacking without remorse works.

Munich Startup: What does Franky & Friends do? What problem do you solve?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: Franky & Friends is a happy snack community to get involved in. We have developed three favorite drinks in snack form (Pina Colada, Coffee Lovers, and Golden Milk Nut-Fruit Mix). Our snacking fun is full of protein-rich nuts and sun-kissed, nutrient-rich dried fruit. Our ingredients are always organic, without added sugar, vegan and mostly come from small farmers’ cooperatives. This is pure and fair enjoyment.

In the conventional sector in particular, many nuts and dried fruits are treated with pesticides, sulphurized and bleach. With Franky & Friends, we are consciously taking a new approach. Franky is not just my name, it stands for: F – Fair & social, R – Respectful towards people, animals and the environment, A – awesome snacks, N – Sustainable (‘nachhaltig’ in German), K – No additives, no sugar, no artificial flavors, no genetic engineering (‘keine Zusätze’ in German) & Y – You, because with us you can get involved.

Munich Startup: But that already exists!

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: There arealready various nut and dried fruit suppliers. But with our concept, we are going one step further. With us, customers are actively involved and can now create their own favorite mix from fair organic ingredients. Whether it’s just nuts, just dried fruit or a mix with dark chocolate, pretzels and rose petals. There are no limits to your creativity. The community then votes on the ideas. The winners receive a share of the sales and can admire their names on the packaging. The delicious nut-fruit mixes with no added sugar are lovingly packaged by a workshop for the disabled in Bavaria. We have already won the Green Brands Germany Award 2024 for this concept and have been nominated for the Innovation Award Bavaria 2024.

Revolution on the snack shelf

Munich Startup: What is your startup story?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: I’m Franky, 39 years old and the founder of Franky & Friends. I want to revolutionize the snack world together with my community! Most of us snack every day. But most snacks are full of industrial sugar and sugar substitutes. Plus cheap oils and artificial flavors. What’s more, conventional products are usually bleached and sulphurized. Where the original ingredients come from and how they are grown – no mention. In most cases, this is at the expense of the workers in the countries where they are grown.

Franky & Friends is completely different. We rely on natural, sun-kissed and wholesome fair trade organic ingredients, with no added sugar. Because nuts and dried fruit are real power packs, they are full of energy. We need proteins for our muscles. Unsaturated fatty acids are good for the cardiovascular system. Antioxidants protect our cells and keep our skin looking young. And who doesn’t want to look young? And all this with completely natural foods.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: The biggest challenge is awareness and therefore regular, constant sales. Despite trade fairs, markets and social media presence, the food sector is a highly competitive market with cheap and unhealthy food. Many organic retailers would like to offer our delicious and high-quality products, but believe that they can only purchase them once we are listed in the wholesale trade, as the processing costs would otherwise be too high. The wholesalers, on the other hand, say that they won’t include us in their range until we are listed in the organic trade. That’s the cat biting its own tail. As a fair and high-priced food start-up that deliberately does things differently, it’s not that easy to become known. That’s why we applied for the Lion’s Den. Let’s see what happens.

Franky & Friends develops ideas in the community

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where would you like to be in five years?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: In a year’s time, I would like to have built up an even larger snack community in Germany with Franky & Friends, with whom we can create delicious and healthy nut and dried fruit mixes together. I would also like Franky & Friends to be listed in a number of organic stores and delicatessens so that our popular snacks can also be purchased locally.

In five years, we will be a large Europe-wide Friends community with employees who create a variety of other tasty and healthy snack ideas in addition to nut and dried fruit mixes. Because we already have a lot of ideas.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: I think Munich is a very good location for startups. There are many places to go to learn and network, such as Munich Startup, Baystartup, IHK, Münchner Existenzgründungsbüro, Gründerstammtische and Social Startup Hub Bayern. There are great events and great trade fairs on various topics. I can only recommend every founder to go to trade fairs and actively seek contact with other founders. You can only win and new collaborations may result. However, the topic of funding should still be a bit more of a focus in Munich, especially in the food sector.

Munich Startup: Public transportation or bicycle?

Frank Matthiesen, Franky & Friends: Without a doubt: cycling. Cycling is pure freedom for me.

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