DC STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: SWAPPLES

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As I’ve demonstrated time and time again after taking deep dive after deep dive into the DC startup scene: the hustle is happenin’ here. So happening, in fact, that there’s always a new founder to cover, a new industry being challenged, a new innovation being made. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I wouldn’t want it any other way. Today, the startup I wanted to feature is doing something incredibly important –– something that I think we all hold close to our hearts. They’re making waffles.

Leggo of the lead, Eggo ­­ –– Swapples is a brand out to make frozen waffles healthier and tastier. As explained on their website they have “reinvented waffles by ‘swapping’ out processed sugars, thickeners, and refined flours for 6 real-food ingredients or less.” The team here isn’t picking sides, either ­­–– they are tastefully committed to covering both ends of the waffle spectrum, sweet and savory. Flavor offerings include:

Everything (made of high energy veggies): Speckled with poppy, garlic, sesame, and onion and best paired with toppings such as cream cheese, avocado, eggs, greens, and hummus.

Garlicky Greens (packed with spinach, kale, and broccoli): Best paired with spreads like olive oil, butter, and hummus.

Tomato Pizza (yucca fruit with tomato and Italian spices): Paired well with Italian-inspired toppings such as cheese, basil, pesto, or salads.

Blueberry: Like a muffin version, without the grains, butter, and sugar overload. Partners well with nut butters, coconut oil, yogurt, and honey.

Cinnamon: A French toast rival packed with veggies. This flavor goes along nicely with nut butters, coconut oil, yogurts, honey, and jellies.

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If reading the flavor profiles of Swapples has you convinced that you need to make some major life changes that involve eating more waffles…I’m with you. But of course, as lovable as waffles are, similar to any startup, Swapples has come to be thanks to a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and perseverance.

Actually, the company was started after founder, Rebecca Peress, found herself nearly blacking out every morning after breakfast thanks to stress on her blood sugar and impact from an autoimmune disorder. After a diagnoses, Peress slowly began to pay more and more attention to nutrition labels –– and was shocked to find that she had been eating 40g of sneaky added sugar a day thanks to mis-leading labels and packaged food. At the same time, Peress came to terms with how little vegetables she had been eating. It was those realizations that forged a path for a better food option.

Speaking to how her diet is now, years later, Peress told the Washingtonian:

“I like knowing exactly what I’m eating. I like to count the ingredients on my hand. I ignore literature and choose to eat what makes my body feel its personal best, and for me, that’s paleo (grain free and dairy––except for Swiss cheese, because it’s too damn good, agreed?)…In following this dietary lifestyle for the past four years, I can say hands down I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”

Her diet choices soon led to more cooking and experimentation in the kitchen, where she began to make new versions of some of her favorite foods. The Bridge BK got the scoop on the start of her story:

“When I cooked up Swapples for myself and brought them into work for lunch, my boss and other co-workers began paying me to make the same for them. I created an LLC an decided to go for it even though I had no idea what I was doing.”

So far, Swapples has found success through incubators. They’ve been involved in Union Kitchen in DC as well as Pilotworks in Brooklyn, NY. As made clear on their website, the company has no plans to stop their swappin’ ways anytime soon:

“We’re on a mission to inspire others to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet, one plant-based waffle at a time.

You can find Swapples in a variety of Whole Foods and natural grocers in the DC metro area. See specifics here: https://www.swapfoods.com/store-locator/

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