When asked what the word entrepreneur meant to her, Elizabeth Fradin said, “a problem solver.” And with her gluten-free snack business, Betta Bakes (formerly Beth Bakes), she explains, “I’m solving a problem by bringing a product to market that I think addresses a certain lack. Every single day you encounter a problem that you need to solve. It’s the one thing I always know is going to happen.”
Though a self-proclaimed creature of habit, Fradin enjoys rising to the challenge when needed – especially when it involves baking. Over 20 years ago, when her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes and celiac disease by the age of six, Fradin, a stay-at-home mom, was always looking for healthy substitutions to include in her daughter’s meals. Back then it was a difficult task to find gluten-free snacks that tasted good and weren’t loaded with sugar or starch.
“I started playing around with my recipes to convert them into gluten free by using more whole grains, better ingredients, and less sugar,” says Fradin. She shared her wholesome crackers with friends and family. “People really loved them and couldn’t believe how flavorful they were.”
Fast-forward to 2017. With her children grown and her calendar open, the time was right for Fradin to grow her ongoing advocacy for the gluten-free community by starting her own food business focusing on folks with dietary restrictions. Turning to Warren-based culinary incubator, Hope & Main, Betta Bakes was born.
Fradin’s crisps come in five different crowd-pleasing flavors: Classic Sea Salt, Currant and Fennel, Everything Bagel Spice, Pumpkin Seed and Cumin, and Summer Garden Herb. All crisps are gluten free, vegan friendly, and “artisanal in the best sense of word,” says Fradin. Although they have a more crispy, crunchy texture, she explains they can be used like mini-flatbreads because of the oval shape, to top with avocado, dips, and anything the eater pleases.
Incorporating the crisps in her own snacks and hors d’oeuvres, Fradin recommends serving the Currant and Fennel crisp with goat cheese and chives or even a little sweet butter, just as you would put on toast. The Pumpkin Seed and Cumin variety pairs well with hummus, shallots, and a bit of lemon on top. Crisps can also be served with soups or broken up and sprinkled over a salad for an extra crunch.
“It’s an exciting time for gluten free because this generation is using better ingredients, there’s more interesting products, and much more variety,” says Fradin, and with different levels of intolerance or simply choosing not to consume gluten to avoid carbs, awareness is growing. “Gluten free has been around for a long time but it’s in a nice evolutionary phase right now.”
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