A Little Rock company has raised $130,000 in local investments to launch a line of nutritional sauces that will be available for purchase this fall.
Made with Arkansas produce and all-natural ingredients like hemp seeds, dates and goji berries, the sauces are designed to increase nutrition in a simple and easy way, Read the Labl founder and CEO Kent Wood said.
The sauces — which include marinara, Sriracha and veggie — can be used on traditional pasta dishes but can also be put on ribs, omelettes and avocado toast.
"We’re trying not to pigeonhole our sauces as pasta sauces," he said. "The concept is to get people to think about sauces in a different way."
Wood, who has been working on the project for more than three years, said the idea for the company took shape as he struggled to provide nutritional food to his young son.
"We were trying to sneak it into food," he said. "I thought, 'If I need to do this, so do other parents.' I was constantly modifying sauces, and I took my ideas and created recipes that gave them tons of fruits and veggies without adding anything."
Production of the sauces, which won the Originality in Food Design Award at the Arkansas Hospitality Association Convention, is scheduled to begin in October, with shipments starting in early November, Wood said.
Marketed as topping or specialty sauces under the Read The Labl brand, the products can be purchased for $12 on the company's website or on Amazon. Wood said he hopes they will be available in natural food stores, like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, by the beginning of next year.
The company also plans to roll out six additional sauces within the next two years and then expand to condiments and possibly baby food.
"We chose to start with sauces because no one has ever done it before," Wood said. "Our nutritional value is so high. Other sauces that you buy at the store have no nutritional value. Read the label — not just on our product, but every product."