Iraz Kutlar, co-founder of Dear Food, talked about the adventure of discovering the most perfect snacks with the cleanest ingredients.
How did your journey of additive-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and even vegan snacks begin?
I was constantly in search of healthy snacks for my missed meals, but I could not find the product that satisfied me. The idea of making delicious and healthy snacks that I can easily carry in my bag, take with me on my travels, consume during long business meetings, and have a doping effect before sports started at this point. After long researches and trial and error, these products, which I started to prepare for myself at home, suddenly became very popular in my circle of friends. I was very happy with the positive reactions I received and I decided to advance this post in a more professional way.
How was your perspective as an architect reflected in the product design process at Dear Food?
An architectural project starts with a concept. Then comes the design that will meet the needs, the functionality of this design and its combination with the right material. In fact, we followed this path when we were establishing Dear Food. Our understanding; It was to make delicious gluten-free and vegan snacks without additives and refined sugar. In the manufacturing process; We focused on products that can be consumed with peace of mind in sports, work, travel and hosting guests, and we started our recipe studies for the most compatible ingredients.
How do you think the world has changed and developed in terms of gluten-free and vegan nutrition since Dear Food was founded?
One of the world's largest industrial ice cream manufacturers released vegan ice cream. I think even this is a sign that vegan nutrition has come a long way.
Do you think the perception that 'if it's healthy, gluten-free, vegan is tasteless' has begun to break?
If the right and reasonable ingredients are combined with a good cooking technique, it is not likely to be tasteless. While creating Dear Food's recipes, our biggest goal was to break this perception. Fortunately, we receive very positive feedback from everyone who consumes our products.
Why should we remove refined sugar from our lives? How does Dear Food contribute to us on this path?
Today, consumers are aware of how harmful refined sugar is and are very researchy in searching for alternatives. But making especially sweet products is more difficult than it seems. The right amount and ingredients must be combined with a good cooking technique. In this sense, Dear Food does not use refined sugar in its products, offering delicious options to consumers seeking alternative flavors.
Are there any difficulties in working with materials such as mung beans, buckwheat, coconut, which are not consumed very often in Turkey?
In fact, while making our material choices during the product development process, we tried to focus on the products grown in our country. But for some recipes, the need to use the products you mentioned is inevitable. Especially buckwheat is indispensable for our gluten-free recipes. But I can say that we have not had any difficulties in terms of supply so far.
What do you think has been effective in increasing people's curiosity about nature?
First of all, I can say that the awareness of healthy eating is a rising value in the world. In the current epidemic period, we have heard more about people's thoughts on healthy eating and spending time in a healthy environment. Interest and longing for nature, nature and land can create awareness in everyone's life.
How has a vegetarian diet benefited you?
I have been eating vegetarian for many years and my life energy is higher than ever before. My immune system is much stronger than before.
What do you think is the most positive result of the increase in vegan products in the market?
Of course, it creates consumer awareness and therefore shows that a very healthy and satisfying diet can be maintained without animal food.
What is the most important thing you want people to be aware of about an additive-free, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free diet?
Change in your body. Your energy, immune and digestive system undergo a positive change in an instant. And so this reflects on your mood as well.
How does this diet relate to detox?
Detox means getting rid of harmful substances. Removing products containing additives and refined sugar from your life means that a purification process begins for your body.
What is the average shelf life of additive-free products? What difficulties did these products cause for you that they did not last long?
We can divide their shelf life into sweet and salty. Sweets have a shorter lifespan than salty ones. Shelf life for cracker and grissini group is two months. You can easily consume spreaders and power balls for two months, provided that they are kept in the refrigerator. We recommend that cakes and cookies be consumed within 10-15 days in the refrigerator.
We have already developed a business model in which we can manufacture without using additives. So it is not a problem for us. When we receive a sweet order online, we have a model where we can start production immediately and offer our customers the freshest product.
So what's your favorite Dear Food?
Dear Rocher before sports, Dear Cake for my weekday breakfasts, Dear Food Granola for my weekend breakfasts, Tutti Frutti Cake for my sweet cravings, and Grissini with Olives for hosting guests.
Iraz Kutlar – Architect, Founder of Dear Food
Graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Department of Architecture, Iraz Kutlar founded IPD Architecture in 1995. While working as an architect, he also created the Dear Food brand with his partner Devran Vangölü, based on his interest in healthy snacks.