Jonny Moseley has quite a resume. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Famer was a Medalist at the Olympics, World Cup and X-Games, has hosted Saturday Night Live and MTV’s The Challenge, and was one of People’s Magazine’s 50 most eligible bachelors in 2002.
Now Moseley is looking to add CPG entrepreneur to the list, joining with his wife, Malia Moseley (it was 2002, after all), and longtime family friend Johanna Creighton to launch Iota — a line of plant-based, seed-derived snacks. The brand’s first product, a spouted pouch of roasted, flavored sunflower seeds, was quickly picked up as an offering at Peet’s Coffee and made its national debut at this year’s Natural Products Expo West.
The Moseleys had been looking for a business venture, originally thinking of suncare, that would draw from Jonny Moseley’s years in the ski industry. However, at a dinner with Creighton, who had just left snack brand KRAVE, the trio sprouted the idea that became Iota. At the time, the Moseleys were shifting from a high-fat ketogenic diet to one that focused on eating foods with a lower glycemic index, and the idea of plant-based, high protein snacks resonated with them..
Creighton and Malia Moseley chose seeds as the basis for the snack, touting numerous benefits, including a smaller environmental footprint than nuts, relatively short period (a few months) to reach full maturity and far less water to grow, a key factor in the Mosleys’ home state of California. Seeds also have fewer allergen issues than nut-based products, as well as a higher Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) score — an important label at grocer Whole Foods Market.
While the health benefits are numerous, Malia Moseley told NOSH that sunflower seeds also are “nostalgic” for consumers, who think of baseball games and summer snacks. But Iota, with its shell-free format, brings convenience to the category.
A star ingredient in hand, the trio then tapped family friend Alyssa Warnock, the designer behind energy drinks Hiball and the wife of its founder, Todd Berardi, to help them with design. The packaging contains three mountains for the three founders, several seed-esque petals on a flower, and a prominently featured bird, a joking nod to the fact most Americans see sunflower seeds as bird food. The 2.5 oz. package is a wide-mouthed, spouted, resealable pouch, for better eating on the go, as well as a line of .75 oz. “shots” for one-time use.
“I have two children who were born in the age of spouted pouch baby food, and it’s such a freeing format because you really can be on the go and it’s clean and efficient and reliable,” Malia Moseley said. “You [also] can eat according to how hungry you are, not according to the size of the bag you just opened.”
Until now, growth has been modest for the brand, which is sold in 70 specialty grocers in the Bay Area, 300 Byte kiosks found in offices such as Tesla and Sephora and, naturally, ski resorts. However, earlier this year, even as Peet’s cut its packaged snacks down to 19 SKUs, the retailer picked up Iota to launch nationwide in May.
To hear more about Jonny Moseley’s vision for the company view the video above.