From a small commercial kitchen in Jacksonville Beach, to grocery chains across the globe, Naturally Smart Foods is expanding distribution of its protein enriched frozen desserts. This month, a shipment is headed to Bahrain in the Middle East.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the continued growth and success of Naturally Smart,” said Mark Patterson, president of Naturally Smart Foods. “I never dreamed when I began distributing Naturally Smart out of a freezer in the back of my Mini Cooper, that one day the product I created would become a treat enjoyed around the world. It’s really something special.”
Naturally Smart launched in 2013, and one year later, after entering local crowdfunding festival One Spark as a creator, the company found itself on the fast track to success. Following the festival, Naturally Smart begin distribution to regional chains Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Winn Dixie and Lucky’s Market, along with independent stores. And a new partnership with a southeast United States food broker will allow the company to expand that presence.
With substantial support from Enterprise Florida, U.S. Commercial Service and the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida, Patterson was able to acquire the knowledge needed to take his brand global.
“Realizing the significant potential for their product abroad, Naturally Smart has been preparing itself by participating in international training programs and high-level networking opportunities offered by SBDC at UNF, U.S. Commercial Service and Enterprise Florida,” said Larry Bernaski, regional manager for International Trade Development at Enterprise Florida.
Global exporting is a vital tool that will allow Naturally Smart to position itself for long-term growth, while helping strengthen the local economy at the same time. Patterson said he plans to use Bahrain as a distribution point for the entire Middle East. He will also remain focused on continued growth across the United States.
“Being able to watch local ideas turn into international businesses is exactly what I hoped would happen through One Spark support,” said One Spark Board Chairman Peter Rummell. “Naturally Smart is the perfect example of the American Dream in action, and I am so proud to watch Mark and his company continue to become more successful. He’s putting Jacksonville on the map for folks around the world.”
Naturally Smart has created a niche in the frozen dessert market by formulating a great tasting protein enriched “Better for You” alternative to traditional ice cream products.