There is no doubting the booming popularity of nut butters. It’s not just basic peanut butter anymore. Innovative food companies are finding new and delicious ways to create alternative nut butter options. When it comes to hazelnut butter, it’s hard to compete with Ground Up.
Ground Up was started in 2016 when co-founder Julie Sullivan returned from Uganda, where she spent two years overseeing an employment training program for 150+ women overcoming poverty. Her passion for women’s empowerment was ignited, and she saw the opportunity (and need) to create a similar training program in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, where homelessness was a real issue. She soon met Carolyn Cesario, who was perfecting her unique peanut-free nut butter recipes in her home kitchen. Cesario had been dealing with digestive issues that prevented her from enjoying any of the current nut butters on the market. The two quickly realized that nut butters could be the healthy and delicious product to provide a platform for job skills training to women overcoming adversity in the Portland-area. They began partnering with nonprofit organizations in the city, such as Portland Rescue Mission, to find employees and brought their unique recipes to market shortly thereafter.
A pillar of their success has been locally sourcing many of their ingredients, including hazelnuts. The company uses dry roasted hazelnuts from local farms as the base of their aptly named Oregon Hazelnut Butter. They create their own unique blend by adding almonds, a dash of chili powder and a bit of honey. Furthermore, all of the nut butters from Ground Up are free of peanuts, refined sugars and added oils. They are even formulating new hazelnut recipes and working to create seasonal varieties!