Nicole Dawes : Creating Crackers with a Conscience
Being pregnant and craving saltine crackers, a very normal thing right? Being pregnant and craving an organic saltine cracker appeared to be a non-existent thing in 2001. This is what happened to Nicole Dawes two months pregnant walking around New York City searching for all natural/organic crackers which didn’t exist. Instead of being frustrated and complaining, Nicole took this an opportunity. She called her father and said, “Dad, we can do this.”
Nicole grew up with strong influences from both parents. Her mother owned a health-food store while her father founded the all natural chip company –
“Cape Cod Chips” (the ones which started the “kettle-cooked” craze in chips), she had the perfect background to form an organic snack company. Pregnant with her first child, Nicole saw this as opportunity to make a difference. With the help of her father “Late July Organic Snacks” was formed and two years later after her cravings, the first Organic Saltines were sold. Now with several different lines, Late July is one of the most popular U.S. organic snack companies and can be found in most natural food stores.
But Nicole didn’t just stop with producing healthy snacks. She added an element of social responsibility – of giving back. For instance the, “Mini Endangered Animal Sandwich Cookie” has Late July partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) where 10% of profits are donated to JGI with one of seven endangered animals featured on the cookie.
I first discovered Late July Snacks in early 2007 (our son has been hooked on the mini-cheese crackers ever since), and I was moved by the company’s mission to provide quality ingredients with a commitment to human and planetary health. I was also inspired that a mother of two young children had the moxie to carve a niche for herself while also giving back and making a difference. (And I kept the back of a box as a motivation for myself.) Late July provided children something “neat to eat” without compromising their health.
With her father now gone having died of cancer at age of 60, Nicole continued on. I am repeatedly inspired by Nicole, but what moved me from talking to her is her desire to deliver the highest quality snacks to families. This often means going to great lengths to find high-quality ingredients such as green tea, and chocolate. She said, “I am aware that I am feeding other people’s children, and I feel a great sense of responsibility with this.”
Nicole’s children often serve as the inspiration for creating new snacks such as the white-chocolate mini-sandwich cookie. She said, “I watch what are drawn to, and we see if we can make it,” – with a twist of course.
Having grown up eating a fairly strict diet void of most snacks she says, “The Nicole of ‘70’s would have loved the Late July snacks. “I know children desire fun, tasty snacks, so let’s make snacks healthy for them and the planet.” It’s nice to know fun and tasting good doesn’t have mean compromising health.