Enjoy Life® Foods, founded in early 2001, has the mission to make great-tasting allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods that nearly everyone can eat freely without worry. The Enjoy Life product line is gluten-free and free of the eight most common allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. Company founder Scott Mandell started Enjoy Life after writing the company’s business plan, as part of a class assignment for the MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The notion that people with dietary restrictions must frequently sacrifice good taste and nutrition in order to find allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods inspired the business plan. Scott and his team envisioned a unique company that would offer great tasting, nutritious foods for people on restricted diets.
In late 2001, Scott, a former banker, traded in his business suit for an apron and sought funding for the new venture from friends, family and “angel investors.” He used the funds raised to get the company off the ground, develop products and build a dedicated nut- and gluten-free bakery in Chicago, IL. The company took the unusual approach of investing in a special facility so that people with food intolerances and celiac disease would know that all Enjoy Life products were made in the safest environment possible. In January 2006, the company was the first to receive independent gluten-free certification for all Enjoy Life products from the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Enjoy Life line launched with 12 tasty items including cookies, snack bars and bagels, shortly after the completion of the bakery. Initially, Enjoy Life products were available online and through natural food stores. Today, the product line has grown to 36 different foods including cookies, granola, cereal, snack bars, seed and fruit mixes, chocolate bars, and baking chocolate, all of which are sold in natural food and conventional grocery stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as specialty online retailers.
In early 2006, Enjoy Life moved to a new production facility in Schiller Park, IL, which is twice the size of the original bakery and includes plenty of room to accommodate the company’s rapid growth. Fueled by increased consumer demand for great-tasting allergy-friendly foods, distribution expansion into new markets and retail outlets, and the introduction of delicious and unique new products allowed for the expansion growth. Enjoy Life Foods was named to the Inc. magazine’s 500/5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies for four consecutive years (2007-2010).