Unwaffle Superfood Waffles
Sunday Jan. 1st, 2023
As chefs, and parents of three young children with food allergies, Erik and Mollie Walnum understand the importance of food, health, and family. Ultimately, that’s why they set out to create Unwaffle, the most nutritious, delicious, and convenient breakfast imaginable, to promote intuitive eating for families with dietary preferences and restrictions.
The couple met in culinary school 18 years ago and have developed a strong reputation for cooking quality food for people of all ages, backgrounds, and needs. As a private chef, Erik quickly realized the rising number of dietary challenges his clients faced daily. To better understand how to meet these needs, he dove head first into gluten-free and plant-based cooking, earning a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell. As a pastry chef and educator, Mollie first learned the impact food can have on behavior, attention, and participation in the classroom. When their daughter, Ivy, was born with a dairy allergy, the challenges of allergen-free eating became even more real.
Their experiences at home, in the kitchen, in classrooms, and cooking professionally have given the Walnums a unique understanding of the food challenges families like theirs face. In search of solutions, they dug into their favorite recipe books and made many fun, healthy treats, but none hit the mark for that hot, fast, crave-worthy breakfast item. One morning, Erik tried scooping his trusty overnight oats into a hot waffle iron. A mess was made, and an idea was born!
Five years and hundreds of iterations later, they found the Unwaffle. “It’s got all the flavor and convenience of a typical toaster waffle, but made with world-class ingredients, and none of the junk,” says Erik. Despite the healthy ingredients, their kids loved the product. Unwaffle is the only gluten-free and top-14 allergen-free waffle on the market, as well as being plant-based, low glycemic, high protein and high fiber—a seemingly impossible list of accolades for a single food item.
The Walnums use certified gluten-free, organic Montana-grown oats from Montana Gluten Free in Belgrade, and organic lentils from Timeless Seeds just south of Great Falls. The other ingredients in the remarkably clean label include flax, chia, sunflower seed protein, coconut sugar, and olive oil. “We carefully mill these whole food ingredients, leaving all the nutrition intact, making for a delightful breakfast that you’ll feel great about having on your table every day,” says Mollie.
Why embark on the difficult task of creating a breakfast brand? The answer is of broad importance to the Walnums. Studies show that the health of our nation is declining, and the number of people with food sensitivities and allergies is rising. There is a link between the consumption of highly processed junk foods and disease. “Unwaffle is your healthier, whole-food alternative to these foods, and it doesn’t sacrifice flavor or convenience along the way,” says Erik, who, having competed as a cyclist, became aware of the direct connection between high quality food and high performance. “Today’s top athletes, professionals, academics, business people, and top performers know not to compromise on their meal plans, especially at breakfast. If we’re going to be our best at work, at school, at play, we need easily digestible, nutrient-packed foods that are easy on the gut and full of clean energy,” he says.
All the buzzwords, hype, and flashy colors that adorn the aisles of your grocery store are overwhelming. Can you trust their claims? Is one brand better than the other? As consumers, we all know this fatigue well. But, this tiresome waffling is over. One look at the clean ingredient label and you can have confidence in Unwaffle’s benefits. Like all of us, Erik and Mollie live busy lives. “With three kids and demanding careers, we know how crazy a busy morning can be,” says Mollie. “So we designed Unwaffle to be ready to eat from the package. They are great on the go, on the road, on a bike, a hike, or in the classroom.”
As a chef, Erik knows that your taste buds will make the ultimate decision. “If you need more convincing than just taking our word for it, we encourage you to take a look at our Kickstarter campaign. Grab yourself a sampler pack or something more from our rewards list and try Unwaffle in your own home. We’re excited to share what we’ve created with you!” he says with an eager smile. To this point, their small team has been funding this project out-of-pocket, investing tens of thousands of dollars over the last three years.
Until now, their capacity has been limited by kitchen space, which they have been renting short-term in an allergen-free facility. “It turns out that is nearly impossible to come by in this town,” says Erik. “When it is, it often means hiring a babysitter to watch our kids while we work late into the night, far across town.” Fortunately, they have recently located and leased the perfect allergen-free space for production and business HQ, and it’s nearly ready to go. Kickstarter contributions will help furnish it with high-quality food manufacturing equipment so the Walnums can make the best waffles in the world from right here in the heart of Big Sky Country. The result will be a ready supply of your new favorite breakfast, wrapped in tidy packaging and delivered to your doorstep… and eventually to your favorite neighborhood grocery store.
The Walnums will move into their new kitchen in February and will start cranking out breakfasts by March. They’re grateful to have had overwhelming community support thus far, and are confident they will achieve their fundraising goal. “If a financial contribution is not possible for you right now, we understand, and even if you can just take a moment from your busy day to share this with your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, teammates, or anyone else you know who may benefit from a better breakfast, we really appreciate it.”