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Seven Sundays

Thursday, December 1, 2022
filed under: Utilization/Trade

Utilizing the Byproduct of Sun Oil Processing to Create a High-Protein, High-Fiber, Tasty Cereal
seven sundays cereal
        Hannah and Brady Barnstable first discovered and fell in love with muesli on their honeymoon in New Zealand.  When they returned home to the United States, they realized the breakfast aisle was lacking in clean, quality options.  That’s when Seven Sundays was created.
        Jody Kerzman visited with Hannah and Brady about their Minneapolis-based company and how sunflower is such an important ingredient for them.
Explain the idea behind your product.
        Since 2011, we have been on a mission to clean up the cereal aisle.  There is too much sugar, artificial ingredients and empty calories in traditional cereal, and we believe real food tastes better.
Tell us about the name “Seven Sundays.”
        In our family, Sundays are the days we live most simply and deliberately. This means taking time for ourselves, ditching our phones and starting more intentionally in order to gain the right perspective for the day and week ahead.  We realize Sundays can be a little different for everyone, but for us this day of the week is special and embodies our passion, our brand and our chosen lifestyle. Our goal is to apply that simple Sunday frame of mind to every day.
How do you utilize sunflower in your product?
        When we learned that there was a high-protein, high-fiber byproduct from the sunflower oil process, we decided to see if we could use it to produce a clean, high-protein and grain-free cereal.  After months and months of experimentation and trials, we had developed a delicious grain-free line of cereals using this byproduct.  It was immediately accepted into Whole Foods nationwide and has been our highest growth and most popular product line since.
Why do you use sunflower?
        Sunflower is a great pollinator, adds diversity to the crop systems, is drought resistant.  It is nutrient-dense and tastes amazing!
Where do you get the sunflower you use?
        We work with Smude’s Sunflower Oil from Pierz, Minn.
What makes your products stand out?
seven sundays one cereal        We are the only cereal using upcycled ingredients.  Beyond that, we keep our full list of ingredients clean and simple with things you’d find in your own kitchen. 
        We do not use artificial or natural flavors (yep, there is weird stuff in those too), coloring or preservatives.  We also do not use refined sugar, and instead sweeten our cereals with things like real maple syrup, coconut sugar and dates!
What kinds of challenges have you faced along the way?
        No one has used upcycled sunflower protein in food before, so it was incredibly challenging to launch.  We had to basically relaunch it after a year of trying, and work very closely with our supplier to make sure the byproduct ingredient is consistent from batch to batch.
Approximately how much sunflower do you use each year?
        We are on track to upcycle over 100,000 lbs – 50 tons – of sunflower protein this year.  That amounts to the equivalent of roughly 800 acres of sunflower.
What are the latest trends in each market segment you serve?
        Dietary trends are still leaning gluten free, grain free and paleo.  Protein is also still a big driver for consumers.  Upcycling is becoming more mainstream.
What is your customers’ perception of sunflower?
        Sunflower is beautiful!  Consumers love that our Sunflower Cereal is grain free, gluten free, paleo and uses super clean ingredients.  Sunflower is also a great source of nut-free and plant-based protein.
Are there any new offerings, new products from your company?
        We recently added a Maple Sea Salt flavor to our Sunflower Cereal lineup. The original flavors we launched with include Real Cocoa, Real Cinnamon and Real Berry.  The Maple Sea Salt uses real maple syrup from northern Minnesota and quickly has become our top seller.
Are you doing advertising, PR, social media or grassroots efforts to promote your product?  If yes, what?
        The vast majority of our awareness is based upon word of mouth and testimonials from consumers, and even influencers who organically discover and fall in love with our cereals.  Social media, primarily Facebook and Instagram, definitely help us spread the word and connect with our consumers.  We’ve even done a few TikTok dances to get the word out. 
        You can find us on all those platforms @sevensundayscereal.
What does the future hold for your company?  New products?  New promotions or marketing strategies?
        Our internal mantra right now is, “Let’s Get Growing!”  It is a really transformational time in our business, thanks in part to the early success of our Sunflower Cereal in retailers like Whole Foods as well as our Direct to Consumer business.  We have a ton of new product ideas in the pipeline and can’t wait to get them on the market.
Barnstable family
Barnstable Family

Photos courtesy of Seven Sundays
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