Mary Molina, mother of four, is like most mothers in the United States.
She works hard to provide for her family in the best way possible. Her five granola bar varieties are named after her four children: Lola, Ruby, Ellie, Enzo, and her nephew, Nathan. The bars are all-natural, gluten-free and packed with protein, and are sold in hundreds of retail locations throughout the United States.
Molina started making granola bars because her husband, Ernie, asked her to get him a healthy snack at the grocery store. Ernie had been eating fast food to save money and had started to feel the effects of a high calorie, no nutrition diet. The family also was struggling to put food on their own table. When Mary went to the store, the bars Ernie liked eating had a lot of extra ingredients, and Mary wanted something natural. So, she decided to make him something. She simply pulled ingredients out of the cupboard that she thought would taste good. One of those ingredients was honey. Soon, the Lola Granola Bar was born.
Did you have prior experience as a chef/baker?
I’ve worked side by side with chefs and caterers, but I have no formal education. My Aunt Flo is my greatest inspiration. She could make anything; she learned from my grandmother. Ernie also wanted to become a chef. He’s much more talented than I am in the kitchen. The recipe is mine; it was a surprise for him!
What prompted you to make the leap from feeding your family to starting a business?
The second day I packed my husband the bars he called saying people wanted to buy them. I knew I had something great!
And the first bar was named after your daughter, correct?
Our financial situation was weighing heavily on him, and I wanted to cheer him up … that’s why I called it Lola Granola. And, I used honey because Ernie especially likes the honey and sesame bars found in international markets.
You currently have five bars. How does each one differ?
I started out with almond and cranberry because that is what I had in the house. The base of the bar is the same; I change the fruit and nut combinations. As you can see the bar flavors are named after my children, and I thought about which fruits and nuts my children like.
Let’s talk about honey. Why do you use it in your products and what positive aspects does it add to the bars. Why did you choose it as your sweetener of choice?
After I started selling the bars a woman passed me in a store I was delivering to and said “I wish you only used honey, I’m a purist.” That was my epiphany. I started playing around with my recipe and found people liked it better with only honey in it.
The granola bar market has huge competition. What sets Lola Granola apart from competitors?
The difference is Lola Granola Bar is truly all-natural, using honey as our sweetener. The others may add honey or the flavor of honey, but that’s not the same thing. Lola Granola Bar uses all-natural ingredients processed naturally without chemicals.
Do you have any future plans for more made with honey bars or any other products?
We have several new bars we have formulated and we are looking into other snack items.