Food is medicine – that’s the philosophy at GEM, a brand that turns vitamins and minerals into “essential bites,” says Sara Cullen, the Founder and CEO of GEM.

“Our bite is made from whole foods. Our vitamins and minerals are derived from whole foods. We use sustainable plant-based ingredients like algae. It’s a completely vegan product,” Sara says. “These are, of course, trends and tailwinds – people looking for healthier natural alternatives. But it’s not just a trend. It is here to stay. Food is here to stay. And this food is medicine is needed for not only our human health but our planetary health as well.”

Sara’s journey to starting a brand began in her early 20s when she began having chronic inflammation and digestion issues. Supplements weren’t of much help because they contained binding ingredients she was sensitive to, so she started creating her concoctions, beginning with spirulina.

“It’s nature’s original multivitamin,” she says. “It’s the first thing that originated on our earth, believe it or not, three and a half billion years ago. And I started using that along with other superfoods and creating my smoothie routines in the morning that were expensive and time-consuming but made me feel amazing.”

At first, Sara didn’t realize her efforts were heading toward creating a new multivitamin. She brought in science advisors who helped tweak the product, started a Facebook group for feedback, and the demand grew.

Part of the demand for the GEM bite is the ongoing trend of micronutrient deficiency in today’s population.

“Our food supply is like our soil – it’s not what it was 20 years ago, and apple today is just not as nutrient-dense as an apple 50 years ago,” Sara says. “We do need to fill the gaps in our diets.”

Sara calls GEM bits the “nutritional insurance” consumers need in their diet. The bites are plant-based, wheat-free, gluten-free, and have no added sugar. Still, the majority of GEM’s customer base is not vegan.

In Part 1, Sara talks about:

* Gratitude to her team at work for their silliness in stepping outside their comfort zones and handling new challenges.
* An overview of the brand.
* The importance of food as medicine.
* How health problems led her to research better supplements.
* The trend of micronutrient deficiency.
* The brand’s customer base.

Join Ramon Vela and Sara Cullen as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.

For more on GEM, visit: 

This episode is also brought to you by Sendlane.

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