Perfect Granola is a Rochester-based manufacturer of healthy, allergy-free granola made from certified New York grown grains. The company is mission-based, with a portion of profits going to homeless shelters, outreach centers, and food banks, and employment opportunities going to people in crisis.
Michele Liddle, Founder and CEO of Perfect Granola, wanted to make single-serve allergy-free granola for sale to elementary schools. This would require the purchase of expensive production equipment, as the co-packer with which she was working also made nuts and could not guarantee there would be no cross contamination.
Liddle applied for the FuzeHub 2018 Innovation Challenge Award and received $10,000. This grant, along with other grants and personal loans, funded the purchase of a $96,000 vertical form fill seal machine. She set up production at Foodlink, a Rochester food pantry that offers a workforce development training program in the culinary arts, with the understanding that Foodlink could use the equipment to teach food manufacturing skills and that she would hire people from the training program.
The line has been up and running for more than a year, producing single-serve allergy-free granola that is not only sold in New York schools, but nationally, through a company that purchases 250,000 units per quarter for sale to such large companies as Google, Facebook and Microsoft. The growth has enabled Perfect Granola to hire three people — two line workers and a production manager.