Voyage LA: Meet Riaz Surti of Hearthy Foods in Downtown Los Angeles -June 17, 2020
Today we’d like to introduce you to Riaz Surti.
Riaz, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I created Hearthy Foods because of my mother. She suffered for years from diabetes and high blood pressure. I remember the day the doctor told her that she had to eliminate rice, naan, and roti’s from her diet. For an Indian mother, these were her life staples. I felt so helpless looking at my mother’s face and seeing the sadness in her eyes.
My mother told me she was eating these foods as a kid like her parents and grandparents. I started to make plant-based flours that my mother would be able to use to make her favorite bread, roti’s, and food, without sacrificing taste. As our diets changed and health improved, I wanted to share these original flours with the world. Although my mother is no longer with us, it was her struggle that inspired me to start the first plant-based flour company. My mother inspired Hearthy Foods, a specialty flour company that makes flour out of fruits and vegetables. I hope you enjoy our flours as much as we do.
Has it been a smooth road?
I was at a crossroads in life. I was a successful multi-franchise owner selling fast food. As a franchise, I would hear about some of the animal rights abuses and childhood obesity problems. I decided to sell my successful restaurants to open my own restaurant. I was running out of money, my mother’s health was failing and I was getting sued in a frivolous lawsuit. It was a perfect storm in the worst way. The problem got worse because the new restaurant did not do well. My restaurant failed miserably during the 2008 financial crisis. It was painful to know I had something great and gave it up because of my conscience. The one driving force was people like mothers who had dietary restrictions need a product that could help them. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, that is how Hearthy Foods was born.
Hearthy Foods are handcrafted artisan flours that pack in all the flavors and nutrients. Fruit and vegetable flour are truly an original idea for example apple, carrot, mango flour. If you think about food, mostly everything has been done before. I created a product no one knew how to use. I created a product no one had seen before. So many naysayers said that this was so ridiculous. This was my new challenge. You know you are making progress in life if you have a new set of problems. I was determined. I was not going to stop after all I had been through. Success and failure are so close. I was able to hold on a little longer to see us finally become successful.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hearthy Foods story. Tell us more about the business.
Everyone has heard of almond and coconut flour. Have you heard of fruit and vegetable flours? Hearthy Foods is making the next generation of flours like apple flour, banana flour, kabocha flour, etc. We realize that people want to eat the comfort foods they are used to like brownies, muffins, pasta, and cookies. However, instead of using wheat flour, fat, and sugar to make these foods, they can use apple flour, banana flour, and sweet potato flour. It is healthier, with no need to add any sugar especially if you are using grain-free and gluten-free flours such as apple flour.
We are proud of our company. There are so many people who enjoy our products. It has given them an opportunity to eat and live in a better way. We make the world’s greatest flours hands down. Hearthy flours have the same consistency as all-purpose flour and are made with one single ingredient. In fact, you can eat them raw. That is how good it is literally. No other company can claim that.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There are so many shifts in the food industry where it is unrecognizable and unfathomable just look at what happened to the dairy and meat industry. Plant products have nearly replaced established industries like dairy and animal protein. This is what is called disruption. Plant flours, we feel, will disrupt the grain flour industry for several reasons: will eliminate medical problems like bloating, food allergies, and have a positive impact on the environment because it will eliminate food waste by repurposing produce that would be wasted.
Address: 2043 Imperial Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90021
- Phone: 2133725093