‘We’ve only really just hit our stride,’ Sacred Serve takes ‘coconut meat’ non-dairy gelato to Whole Foods stores nationwide

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Made from fleshy, soft coconut meat found in young green coconuts (the same coconuts used for coconut water vs. the brown mature coconuts used for coconut milk) and combined with nutrient-dense superfoods, adaptogens, and medicinal mushrooms, Sacred Serve is committed to bringing healing whole foods to a category synonymous with indulgence and guilt. 

“The biggest thing I wanted to make sure was that you actually feel better after eating this product as opposed to weighed down or on a sugar crash,”​ Sacred Serve founder and CEO Kailey Donewald told FoodNavigator-USA.  

Using upcycled coconut meat, its main ingredient provides several benefits from both a nutrition and sensory perspective, claimed Donewald. 

According to Donewald, the coconut meat ingredient contains all five essential electrolytes and fiber, and is packed with additional vitamins and minerals. Sacred Serve products also contain half the calories and half the fat of most coconut milk-based ice cream products.

“What it ​[coconut meat] does for our product is it gives it a really creamy base so we don’t have to rely on gums and stabilizers,”​ she said.

“It also has this really subtle coconut flavor so it’s a lot easier to pick up flavors from other ingredients. Our chocolate tastes like chocolate, not coconut chocolate.”

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Sacred Serve founder Kailey Donewald

Rapid growth mindset: ‘We had to 5-10x our business in a matter of three months’

Donewald noted that its slow and steady approach of growing in the brand’s local market of Chicago has helped it develop strong relationships with retailers including Whole Foods.

“Our big launch was in 2019 when we launched into about 30 Whole Foods stores. We were doing our own deliveries, doing our own merchandising of shelves. This was coming into the pandemic so we went through all those supply chain issues during that time working hand in hand with Whole Foods. During that time we established a really good relationship with Whole Foods both locally and on a regional level,”​ she said.

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