Interview with Scott Mandell - Founder and CEO of Enjoy Life Foods
I am so excited to be doing an interview with Scoot Mandell. As many of you know, my daughter has severe allergies. While I nursed her for 14 months, I was forced to be on an elimination diet. Enjoy Life Foods Cookies really helped me with my sugar cravings. I am in love with this company.
Scott Mandell is the Founder and CEO of Enjoy Life Foods, a company dedicated to developing, producing, and marketing great tasting gluten free and allergy friendly food products since 2001. Scott is a visionary, as he saw the growing need for foods that cater to people with food sensitivities far ahead of current trends. Scott is a hands-on leader who remains extremely involved in all aspects of the business and in ensuring that Enjoy Life stays true to its brand promise and company mission.
Prior to Enjoy Life Foods, Scott was a Vice President in commercial lending at American National Bank in Chicago (currently JP Morgan Chase) from 1993 – 2001.
Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University (Bloomington) in 1993 with a major in History and a minor in Business. In December 2001, he earned his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University with concentrations in the areas of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Finance, and Management & Strategy.
Mr. Mandell serves on the boards of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, and the Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc.. Scott is a member of the Young Presidents Organization, a mentor to many up start entrepreneurs, and is an active alumnus and frequent speaker at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Scott was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2006 and was named to the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” list in November 2008.
Scott resides in Deerfield, IL with his wife (Dana) and their two sons (Ronnie and Ryan).
Enjoy Life Foods
Enjoy Life Foods, founded in early 2001, has the mission to make great-tasting allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods that nearly everyone can eat freely without worry.
Company founder Scott Mandell started Enjoy Life after writing the company’s business plan, as part of a class assignment for the MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The notion that people with dietary restrictions must frequently sacrifice good taste and nutrition in order to find allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods inspired the business plan. Scott and his team envisioned a unique company that would offer great tasting, nutritious foods for people on restricted diets.
In late 2001, Scott, a former commercial banker, traded in his business suit for an apron and sought funding for the new venture from friends, family and “angel investors.” He used the funds raised to get the company off the ground, develop products and build a dedicated nut- and gluten-free bakery in the Chicago area.. The company took the unusual approach of investing in a special facility so that people with food sensitivities would know that all Enjoy Life products were made in the safest environment possible. In January 2006, Enjoy Life was the first company in the world to receive independent gluten-free certification for all of its products from the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Today, Enjoy Life’s product line has grown to eight categories, including, cookies, bars, salty snacks, granola, cereal, trail mixes, chocolate bars, and baking chocolate, all of which are sold in natural food, conventional grocery, and mass accounts throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as through specialty online retailers.
In early 2006, Enjoy Life moved to a larger production facility where it currently operates. Fueled by increased consumer demand for great-tasting allergy-friendly foods, distribution expansion into new markets and retail outlets, and the introduction of delicious and unique new products allowed for the expansion growth. Enjoy Life Foods was named to the Inc. magazine’s 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies for seven consecutive years.