Purveyors: Your Favorite Local Kale Chips by Take Root are Going InternationalMarch 5, 2017
Anyone who has tried making their own kale chips (ourselves included!), whether by baking or dehydrating, knows that the tedious preparation for a quick snack feels futile and exhausting, especially when you wolf everything down in a fraction of the time it takes to produce the chips. Founders of Take Root, Aileen Payumo-Whisnant and Monica Mendiola, know this struggle all too well.
“I used to buy them in New York for about 10 dollars a bag at Whole Foods. I would open it in line for the cashier and by the time I got to the cashier, it was all gone and I had to pay 10 bucks,” Payumo-Whisnant tells us. “So I learned how to make it. It would take 15-20 hours! It would take all day to make and I would eat it in 15 minutes.” Though the process was painstaking, when Payumo-Whisnant let her friends try the chips, they loved it, and she knew that she was onto something. She had first begun making her own healthy food when she discovered that a cleaner diet had a significant effect on her skin eczema, an auto-immune disease that she has struggled with since her youth. After living in New York, she moved back to the Philippines with the intention of beginning a healthy food business.
Meanwhile, Mendiola had been going through a similar situation. Having been diagnosed with a skin-related auto-immune disease, Mendiola discovered that more than laser treatments, creams, and ointments, a shift in her diet (to one free of refined sugar, gluten, and dairy) had the most palpable effect on her Vitiligo symptoms. She moved back to the Philippines from New York (around 2 months after Payumo-Whisnant had returned to the country) wanting to start her own health food business, but having no friends who were interested in health food enough to start a business with her, and not wanting to go at it alone, Mendiola was lost on where to start.
Though their paths were similar, Mendiola and Payumo-Whisnant only met after they had both moved back to the Philippines, where they were connected by a mutual New York-based friend. Aptly, the two first met in a juice bar and bonded over green juices when they realized they both found the perfect business partner they have been searching for. They quickly got a booth in a gourmet market, pooled their healthy recipes, and jumped head first into their new business venture.
“We made a number of different things. Kale chips was just one of them. We had a chia pudding, raw cookies, chickpea salad with tahini,” Mendiola tells us. “We really didn’t know what would take off,” continues Payumo-Whisnant. “Suddenly, people were asking more for the kale chips, then that grew on our table because that’s what people wanted. That’s a big learning we had from having our first business. You throw gluten-free spaghetti on the wall and you see what sticks. And that stuck.”
And stuck it has, with their kale chips popping up in more and more retail establishments locally including Salad Stop, Plaza Café and Gourmet Corner, as well as internationally. Since last year, Whisnant-Payumo and Mendiola have been exporting the kale chips to Hong Kong where it is available in 12 health food stores and a chain of gyms. Soon they intend to export to Singapore, and hope to eventually reach out to the Middle East and the rest of Asia. (This explains their recent packaging shift, with the opaque chip bags allowing the shelf-life to extend to a full year, especially important with their product since they do not use preservatives.)
Take Root has become synonymous with kale chips in the Philippines. Though the local, vegan snack company also offers a number of other raw goodies like trail mix, bliss balls, “cocoroons,” and more, their kale chips remain their most beloved and celebrated snack with its inimitable crunch and addictive flavors that we can’t stop munching.
Take Root is a local healthy snack brand that offers clean, whole food snacks including their popular kale chips.