Doctor Grandma’s Is Changing

June 5, 2012 in Foodland Chronicles, Mediterranean by Victor Bunderson

In this post, Dr. Grandpa explains on-going changes in the type of service Dr .Grandma’s has provided, and how these services are beginning to evolve into a different form of outreach to like-minded people and groups.

How Dr. Grandma’s is evolving away from a specialty product site

You may have noticed over the last couple of years that Dr. Grandma's has shifted its focus from promoting Dr. Grandma's products to a broader view of healthy eating and living. We are now taking that shift one step further and focusing our attention on the core theme of Dr. Grandma’s interpretation of the Mediterranean Style of Eating and Living.

This means that we will be discontinuing the Dr. Grandma's line of whole grain and sweetener products.

We have already begun to recommend alternative sources of the hard red wheat berries we have long advocated. The products we now recommend are comparable in quality, and many of you have already purchased them from the Amazon links,. Our explanations over the years of why we recommend hard red wheat berries (and wheat flour) can be found by searching this web site with the terms “hard red”.

Our continuing goal is to support people in their quest for a healthy lifestyle. We know, and will continue to document, how hard it is for small companies providing alternatives to Big Food to develop and succeed. We believe strong local organizations must provide what Big Food is unwilling to provide.

Dr. Grandma’s Beginnings and Current Plans

It started as a mom-and pop pancake shop. Really, the mom, Dr, Grandma (Joyce Bunderson), and son, Troy Skeen, backed financially by the pop, Dr. Grandpa (Victor Bunderson), started it in mid-2005 with the main product being a 100% whole wheat pancake and waffle mix.  It was both healthy and yummy, a central goal of Dr. Grandma’s advice.  The motivation for the company was Victor’s diagnoses of type II diabetes in 2004.

Joyce explained, elaborated, and cooked based on the principles of the Mediterranean Style of eating, which combined with her and Victor’s weight management strategies, enabled him to shed 30 lbs within 5 months and contain the diabetes without medications -- just diet and exercise. He has maintained low blood sugar and even increased this weight loss for over 7 years now.

The products evolved.  In 2006, Dr. Grandma developed an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener to replace the artificial sweetener and other sweeteners originally used in the whole-grain mixes. The all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener became Dr. Grandma’s Delight™. Dr. Grandpa later developed the family of Delight X, ranging from 1 times (1X) to 10 times (10X) the sweetness of sugar.

Business Models were evaluated.  Initially using a retail model, Dr. Grandma’s products  were placed in over 100 retail grocery and health food stores in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming. Then the food service model: the products were placed in schools, hospitals, nursing-homes, and specialty restaurants. Next, an online consumer sales business model was evaluated and the web site was greatly expanded to include a health related blog by Dr. Grandma (who holds RD, MPH, PhD degrees), an extensive recipe section, a library section, and online store.   People from all over the world have tried our recipes, and read our information on healthy foods as well as our critiques of deceptive advertising practices of food processors. Should there be an interest in the business models, these too can be shared in the future.

New Direction

Building up and managing the sales and marketing organizations in the retail and food service business models were not the path for the Mom and Pop at this stage of life. We did learn principles for success in these models, requiring a larger organization than we sought. However, we will continue our information sharing efforts, documenting health information as before, and adding more about our investigations and experiences in trying to succeed on a small scale, with healthy and yummy food products.

We learned from the Dr. Grandma’s experiment that food and income, health and wealth, are closely linked. This has been a special interest of mine, so writing as Dr. Grandpa I plan to become more active in sharing ideas about how families and local groups can carve out financial and health benefits from the food quality wilderness created by the Big Food industry. I plan to add commentary such as that found in some of my previous blog posts, Full Cost Accounting I, Full Cost Accounting II ( Design for Craving), and related posts that derive from my degrees in psychology, broad reading in other fields, and experiences in research, business and education.

In these and future writings, I plan to continue to share what we have learned in such a way that local groups, if they choose, can benefit their own health and wealth by promoting access to good foods, and understanding the connection between healthy lifestyles and healthcare costs.

Dr. Grandma remains consumed with desires to help spread the message of the benefits of the Mediterranean Lifestyle. She will continue her studies  and writing to share cogent and well-researched information about products, methods and wider concepts available from a variety of sources.

We hope you will find value in this site as it is reorganized and continues to evolve.  Our web analytics show that hundreds of thousands have come to our site, many from other countries that we don’t ship to.  Most come to learn and some to share.  We want to continue to provide helpful information for all who come, and to enhance the motivation and opportunity for learning and sharing.