An Interview with Peter Rushford | Shār Snacks | Lord Jameson
As you may know, Lord Jameson is all about being healthy and providing organic dog treats for your furry friends! Our mission to create healthy treats for dogs - while also giving back to those who need us most. From the very beginning, we've been giving back a portion of our proceeds to animal charities and organizations across the U.S. as we believe every dog deserves a safe and loving home. It's extremely important for us to give back and we're always looking for new ways to help others. Thankfully, there are other companies that also like to give back - like our friends at Shār Snacks!
Recently, we virtually sat down with Peter Rushford - Founder/CEO of Shār Snacks. Shār Snacks makes healthy, organic trail mix that is made up of only 9 ingredients. Those 9 ingredients are: pecans, almonds, pistachios, cashews, wild blueberries, Montmorency cherries, whole cranberries, dark chocolate chips, and coconut flakes. (Fun fact: Lord Jameson's organic dog treats are made with coconuts, too!) We had a chance to interview Peter about his experience with starting Shār Snacks, what they do for the environment, and so much more!
An Interview with Peter Rushford
Peter named his company, Shār Snacks (pronounced share) to base it around the deeply emotional concept of sharing. As Peter stated, "The most fundamental way that all 7.7 billion humans on the planet connect is around sharing and now we can integrate that deeply emotional concept back into our brand and talk about sharing our delicious healthy and ethical snacks with the world."One thing we really appreciate about companies like Shār Snacks is the fact that it's not just a brand. They don't want to be 'just a product', but instead, a friend - someone you're proud to be seen with.
The company is based around building a community with people and giving back to organizations that help to better the planet (which we'll talk about more later in this blog)... The #1 message of their brand is connection - and their goal is to be seen as a kindred spirit. (Their logo helps to represent this!)
Peter wants to help to leave the planet better than we found it by spreading positivity through every bite. Our key message is "Love in Every Bite", so you can see why we love his company so much!
The Idea Behind Shār Snacks
In 2013, Peter was a competitive runner. He was constantly training and racing. Later down the line, he stopped and re-evaluated his fitness regime and settled on a new way to work out. He did this through cross-fit, yoga, and even started eating paleo. His high-intensity workouts always left him feeling hungry and needing a snack. Obviously, after working out, you don't go for unhealthy, super processed foods - you choose something healthy! For Peter, his snack choice was always an easy decision... He went for trail mix!
Unfortunately, he noticed that a lot of trail mix in stores wasn't healthy or just didn’t taste good... This is what inspired him to create his own version of the snack. For the past 37 years, Peter was working in the outdoor industry helping young startups like UGG and Merrell with sales. He then leveraged his experience to set out on his mission to create the world's best version of trail mix. He describes his approach to creating trail mix the same way Yeti does to making coolers... They didn't invent the cooler, however, they work to perfect it. This goes for the same with Shār Snacks and trail mix.
As we mentioned earlier, Shār Snacks is trail mix made up of 9 different delicious ingredients... From the beginning, Peter's goal was to create the healthiest, most delicious ethical snacks. He has such a passion for healthy, organic food and wanted to share it with the world. With Shār Snacks, he uses recipes with 100% organic ingredients that are responsibly sourced from small family farms. Peter actually hand-selected the farms himself and has such a strong bond with the farmers that he basically has them on speed dial!
The Start of Shār Snacks
Peter came up with the idea of Shār Snacks back in 2013, but it took another 5 years before he launched the brand in 2018. At first, Peter was using ingredients that he bought at Trader Joes but thought about where else he could find them. So, he set out on a mission where he spent a year hunting down the best version of the 9 ingredients. The main points of his mission were to find healthy and organic ingredients, but he also wanted to support local. This is what led him to chose small organic family farms! The only ingredients that he doesn't buy locally are the unsweetened organic coconuts and cashews - this is only because those ingredients aren't grown in the U.S.
Shār Snacks' trail mix has a 3 step process... They mix the 9 ingredients together, sift them, then pack them by hand. No preservatives, colors, or flavors are added making it 100% organic.
After 3 years of working on the recipe, 900 hours of work, and 52 iterations, Shār Snacks was born! 60 days after the launch, they started developing their share tube which is now an award-winning packaging design thanks to its useful intuitive sustainable components.
What Makes Shār Snacks Unique?
There are so many reasons behind what makes Shār Snacks unique! One of which is the sharing tube above. Unfortunately, there aren't many companies that use sustainable packing, however, Shār Snacks made sure they did. Not only is their sharing tube convenient because it can easily fit in a backpack or car holder, but it's also made out of paper! The tube is refillable for a year and can be refilled with their 1 pound or 2 and a half pound eco-bags. With them, you can partake in sustainable snacking - aka, eat, refill, repeat.
All of their packaging is useful, intuitive, and sustainable as opposed to just shiny and inexpensive. Even their labels are compostable! Their packaging isn't the only aspect of their company that is super respectable. Just like Lord Jameson, Shār Snacks is huge on giving back.
We recently announced that we are officially members of 1% for the Planet! 1% for the Planet is a global movement that inspires businesses and individuals around the world to support environmental solutions. Their mission is to help protect the future of our beautiful planet. We are so proud to have partnered up with their amazing organization and it's not just us... Shār Snacks is also a member which means that they also donate a portion of their sales to create a healthier planet.
They are also members of The Conservation Alliance - an organization that conserves and protects wild places. The Conservation Alliance works with governments, businesses, communities, and science institutions like the National Parks Service to help ensure a world of healthy natural spaces for people and wildlife. As stated on their website, they've helped to protect 73 million acres and 3,576 river miles, remove or halt 36 dams, purchase 18 climbing areas and designate five marine reserves. Amazingly, Shār Snacks donates 20% of their net profits back to the organization... They even built their financial model sales plan off writing them a check for $1 million in 8 years.
Peter always had a dream of having breakfast at the annual outdoor trade show and presenting The Conservation Alliance with one of those extra-large checks with the amount of $1 million! He believes that he can achieve this goal in 8 years and we believe he can, too. We love that this is one of the company's goals as it really shows that they care about the future of our planet and the health and well-being of people.
Shār Snacks is also a climate-neutral certified brand which means they’re effectively a carbon-neutral company. Their company evaluates carbon output, finds ways to reduce it, and they even make investments in carbon offsets. So, as you can tell - Shār Snacks is a company of many talents!
Advice for People Who Want to Eat Organically
We've talked about the importance of eating organic and why organic matters. Overall, eating organic food is a great way to maintain your health. It’s better for you and the environment, too! Eating organic can help protect you against health problems like environmental allergies or even cancer because they are free from pesticides and other contaminants that might be found in non-organic foods. Organic farms also produce more healthy crops than conventional ones due to their use of natural fertilizers such as manure instead of chemicals that run off into streams causing water pollution. (Read more about clean eating by clicking here!)
Peter's advice for people who want to start eating organically is to do the research. When looking at the packaging on the back of food products, you want the ingredients to be clean and non-processed. For example, if you're buying spinach, the ingredients should just say spinach! There shouldn't be any stabilizers, added chemicals, or preservatives. As we always say, food products should have ingredients that you can pronounce!
Becoming a Dog Dad
As you know, we're the biggest dog lovers! So, of course, we had to ask Peter about the furry friends in his life!
Peter was fortunate enough to grow up with dogs. His parents raised and bred German Shepherds, and he also had a Golden Retriever and a black Lab mix. Now, his favorite breed is Bernese Mountain Dogs!
He was first introduced to Bernese Mountain Dogs by one of his clients. When he went to visit them for work, he met their Bernese Mountain Dog. He said he was blown away by the breed and thinks they are the most beautiful animals he’s ever seen. He also said how their personalities are so remarkable.
Peter currently has 2 beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs named Shiloh (10) and Ella (5). They're both big fans of our organic dog treats, which makes us feel super honored! Peter said that they'd eat the entire bag in one sitting if they could!
Advice for Dog Owners Who Want to Feed Their Dogs Organic Foods
When asking Peter for advice for dog owners who want to feed their dogs organic foods, again, he said it's important to do the research! Reading what's in the food you're buying is so important. Unfortunately, there are so many unhealthy dog food and treat brands… However, there are healthy options that help to improve the health and wellness of dogs - you just need to understand what to look for when shopping. Speaking of healthy dog treats, make sure to check out all of the delicious organic dog treat flavors we have at Lord Jameson!
Conclusion of Shār Snacks
We love everything that Peter and his company stand for. From creating sustainable packaging and delicious treats to donating to incredible organizations, we appreciate that Shār Snacks goes above and beyond to help the planet.
We'd like to give a big shoutout to Peter for this interview! We're so happy to have had the chance to learn more about what inspired him to create Shār Snacks and hear about how he gives back. You can find Shār Snacks in places like Whole Foods, Erewhon Market in California, and even as a premium snack in boutique hotels including the new Marriott in downtown Austin and in Canopy by Hilton Hotels.
Make sure to check out Shār Snacks by clicking here or by following them on Instagram @Shar.Snacks! (P.S. You might want to get the share tube, cause you'll definitely be stocking up thanks to the deliciousness!)