Often referred to as the Ben and Jerry's of macaroni and cheese, this folksy company has been making a high quality, all natural and organic convenience foods since 1989.
Annie Withey's career in the food business began in 1985 when she developed the recipe for Smartfood which became one of the fastest selling snack foods in the US. Whitey sold the name to PepsiCo for 15 million dollars and used that money to break into the mac and cheese market. Drawing from her Smart Food cheese recipe, Whitey designed a line of all natural mac and cheese in a box. Their only competitor, who remains so to this day, was of course the Phillip Morris-owned Kraft Dinner. Withey realized that little kids and big kids love KD, but KD is not a particularly "natural" product. Withey saw the need for a more wholesome version of the all-American classic and so Annie's Homegrown was born.
Annie's homegrown has grown almost solely by word of mouth. They do very little advertising as they prefer to invest their funds in community programs like Environmental Studies Scholarships, the Cases for Causes Program and the American Volunteer Association. Annie's believes that the best way to expand awareness about their product is to contribute to the community and to rely on Annie's fans telling their friends.
Today, Annie lives on an organic farm in Connecticut and focuses mainly on replying to customer's letters. She receives around 150 letters a day, many of which receive a handwritten response from Annie herself.