Have you heard of sacha inchi seeds?
Aaron Gailmor came across them in a California grocery store being sold in bulk, and he was taken with them. He brought seeds home to experiment with them in a few different ways, the first being a nut butter reminiscent of peanut butter.
“The seeds eventually turned into this beautiful, golden brown, amazingly tasty sacha inchi butter that smelled very similar to peanut butter,” Gailmor said in an interview with Biz New Orleans. “I was fascinated, thinking, ‘What can’t I do with this?’ And that’s when I realized there might be a platform to make a snack brand all around the sacha inchi seed.”
When Gailmor moved to New Orleans to live with his soon-to-be wife in 2015, he was already beginning to think about his business. After losing his father to heart disease in 2019, Gailmor decided he’d launch his sacha inchi seed business.
Sacha inchi seeds are a healthier option than many similar salty snacks, offering nutrient-rich, delicious snacking. Gailmor calls them “a healthier, allergen-free version of a peanut.” The seeds of the sacha inchi plant are full of protein, fiber, and fats that doctors recommend portions of for heart health.
Aaron Gailmor spent endless time researching before launching his business, going all the way to Thailand, where sacha inchi is grown commercially. The supplier he met there uses proceeds from selling him sacha inchi to run a rural school, a mission that was close to Gailmor’s heart, and Brass Roots was born combining his passion for heart-healthy snacks and New Orleans ties.
The Growth of Brass Roots
Brass Roots is named for the traditional history of brass bands along the streets and in the businesses of New Orleans, along with the company’s grassroots founding and approach to growth.
With its unique product and focus on community impact along with local roots, Brass Roots was a good bet for Aaron Gailmor. Brass Roots snacks were for sale exclusively online starting in 2020, but they’re now available in over 400 stores. According to Gailmor, the company brings in over $1M in yearly sales. “I thought we could build a brand where we not only sold products, but helped the community through our brand,” Gailmor said to Biz New Orleans.
Gailmor has also helped spearhead New Orleans Food and Beverage — or NOFAB. NOFAB exists for producers and distributors of food and beverages in the New Orleans area to “get everybody together on a periodic basis and help each other out by sharing best practices and sharing resources.”
NOFAB has continued to grow since its genesis, and boasting over 200 members today, Gailmor has seen jobs arrive, more products pop up, and new talent arise as a result of the interwoven food and beverage market.
The Mission In Selling Sacha Inchi
According to Brass Roots, their sacha inchi seed snacks “give back.” This impact is measured in a few different ways, as the snacks promote healthy eating, are sourced sustainably, and some profits from the company go towards local education.
Aaron Gailmor is passionate about helping youth locally and worldwide. By donating Brass Roots’ healthy snacks to food collections to replace less healthy options, his sacha inchi seeds have a direct impact.
But give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry. Brass Roots is also involved in the community through “nutritional, wellness, and entrepreneurial education where it’s needed most.”
“I wanted to do a lot of work with kids because it’s something that both my parents have done,” Gailmor said. “I wanted to give back to the community here and provide some of our nutrition knowledge to kids.”
Brass Roots partners with Roots of Music, Covenant House NOLA, and Youth Run NOLA as part of their commitment to the community.
Sustainability and Impact
An extremely important part of Brass Roots’ mission is keeping their seeds produced in a manner that is beneficial to Brass Roots as well as the farmer growing them. On his trip to Thailand as part of his product research, Aaron Gailmor became acquainted with a farmer named Chan.
After coming to understand his story and his farming business based in Thailand and Laos, Gailmor decided he wanted to be in business together. The two shared passion for sacha inchi as well as youth education — Chan has committed to using his profits from selling the seeds to running a K-12 school in rural Thailand along with a university.
Brass Roots’ motto is written as a hashtag, but it’s “Snack with a purpose.” Brass Roots’ sacha inchi seed snacks promote snacking with a purpose in many different ways, and that was exactly the goal of the founder, Gailmor.
Snacking on sacha inchi seeds supports a locally grown business, promotes health for the heart and the rest of the body, and supports a farmer in Thailand who’s growing products locally and sustainably. It’s no wonder that the business has scaled to a seven-figure selling company in just a few years, and the only direction from here seems to be upwards.