Oatmeal a recipe for success, All-natural ingredients give CHOO-IT eaters burst of energy by Cassandra Kyle
The StarPhoenix, May 21, 2010 – While it might not be listed on the back of the package, love truly is the first ingredient in Craig Campbell's CHOO-IT oatmeal.
Campbell, 38, started developing the product four years ago while helping to care for his mother, Sally, who was battling cancer. Joining his father and three brothers in rallying around the family matriarch, Campbell found himself in charge of preparing meals for his relatives.
Sadly, Sally died from the disease in 2007. Campbell said this week he looks back at the trying time as a period of change as opposed to a time of despair.
"I really tried to take that time I went through there, to turn it around and not view it as a negative that happened in my life," the Saskatoon man said.
Now, Campbell has perfected the oatmeal recipe he started in 2006 and, through the encouragement of his friends and family, has found a market for the energy-boosting product.
The entrepreneur says CHOO-IT, which stands for Craig's High Octane Oatmeal, is high in fibre and contains natural proteins and oils. The varied mix of ingredients, which includes nuts, berries, seeds, bran, barley and millet, breaks down in such a way it provides the body energy for several hours.
"Nothing is altered, everything is natural, there is no preservatives or salt, no cholesteral
. . . you get three or four hours of no hunger cravings and a really clean energy."
Campbell, who also owns a local radar and thermal imaging company G3TECH, said he tries to get as many of the ingredients in the oatmeal from as close to home as possible. The buckwheat, for example comes from an organic farm in Saskatchewan.
Campbell has set up a certified warehouse and mixing facility in Saskatoon for the creation and packaging of his product. It was a trying process, Campbell said, to perfect the consistancy of CHOO-IT.
"I had to come up with the proper mixing, because if you mix this the wrong way all the big ingredients go to the top and the small stuff goes to the bottom, so I basically had to design a - - basically it's like a cement mixer," he said with a laugh.
Sales of the cereal mix, which Campbell said is good hot, cold on yogurt, have increased dramatically in the past few months, thanks in part to the recent launch of the CHOO-IT web-site. He believes sales have grown by 25 per cent a month for the last three months.
"Stores are continually contacting me to see if they can carry the product now," he said.
One dollar from every container sold goes to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Campbell said, adding he's meeting with other charitable agencies to see if more partnerships are possible. CHOO-IT is also sponsoring a local marathon and other sporting events.
Campbell said he enjoys the challenge CHOO-IT is bringing to his life.
"When you start to feel worn down or you feel like you are over your head, you kinda get inspired by just the momentum of whats taking place," he said. "It gives me the energy to keep going ahead with it."
A gluten-free version of the product is in development and within a year, Campbell hopes to have CHOO-IT available for sale in energy bar form.
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