Interview with Jola Sonkin: CEO of GoMacro

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell readers about yourself? How did you get started? 
Jola Sonkin: My mom and I started GoMacro after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and we decided to go macro (i.e. go macrobiotic). We were familiar with the lifestyle because my aunt was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma cancer and cured herself with macrobiotics. 

Sarah Velasco: What does an average day look like for you? What does your job entail? 

Jola Sonkin: As the mother of 4 and the CEO of GoMacro I wear many hats. I manage our sales and marketing from our office in CA and my mother manages innovations and our manufacturing facility in WI. We brainstorm on a daily basis, building brand awareness and developing new products that meet the ongoing needs of our customers for a healthy lifestyle. 

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about GoMacro? How did it begin? 

Jola Sonkin: When my mother’s health started to improve she was ready to incorporate sweets into her diet. Using macrobiotic principles, she started to experiment in the kitchen producing delicious cookies, bars and pies.. My husband casually suggested we sell them. At the time I was a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, so after school one day, I decided to wrap a few of her cookies in saran wrap, printed up a label listing the ingredients on my computer at home, and called them MacroTreats. The first store I went to, loved them and bought 6 dozen! 

Sarah Velasco: What is your mission? 

Jola Sonkin: Our mission is simple, to manufacture wholesome healthy snacks, the kind that you could make at home if you only had the time. We use the best ingredients that we can find, ingredients that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and omega-3 with no additives or preservatives. We make all our bars every week and do not maintain inventories. We built GoMacro on 5 principles: wholesome, vegan, gives back, sourced sustainably, and macrobiotic. 

Sarah Velasco: What kinds of products do you carry? 
Jola Sonkin: Delicious ones! We have 11 MacroBars, all of which are USDA organic, gluten free certified, vegan certified, kosher certified, and non GMO project verified. We have a wide variety of flavors, both energy and high protein nutrition bars, perfect for a pre or post work out snack, dessert, or meal replacement. We have developed a loyal following among those with food sensitivities. Our strict elimination of all preservatives and our ability as a small company to listen to our customers has enabled us to develop a variety of ingredient combinations. These unique recipes accommodate the needs of our many customers. Whether they are hypoallergenic, looking for a meal substitute or just need more energy to maintain an active lifestyle they will find a bar to suit their needs. 

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about the ingredients you use? 
Jola Sonkin: We use a variety of ingredients from different climates and traditional cultures, all of which have health benefits and are easily digestible. We want to be proud of the ingredients we use in our MacroBars, so we favor small growers and farms that care for their workers and the environment. We pay a premium for quality ingredients. Our organic brown rice syrup is labeled infant safe and our supplier has developed a proprietary method for removing the arsenic without removing nutrients. Our natural sweeteners also take longer to digest, thus avoiding the blood-sugar spikes associated with refined sugars. Healthy fats derived from nuts and seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins and complex carbs from whole grains are slow-burning and boost energy levels throughout the day. Protein comes from a combination of sprouted brown rice protein and pea protein which provides all the essential amino acids. 

Sarah Velasco: What is your #1 best seller? 

Jola Sonkin: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is of course our # 1 best seller. But Granola + Coconut, Banana + Almond Butter, and Apples + Walnuts are catching up. 

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about some of the health benefits in the MacroBars?
Jola Sonkin: We use minimally processed healthy ingredients so that nutrients can be easily absorbed for maximum benefit. We also combine the ingredients in our bars so that carbs and sugars are metabolized slowly providing more energy for a longer period of time. This also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. 

Sarah Velasco: Where can readers find GoMacro MacroBars? 

Jola Sonkin: We are available in most natural retailers and some specialty shops including, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Cottage, Pharmaca, Earth Fare, and Wegmans. You can also buy us online at www.gomacro.com and use our store locator for a more detailed list of retail shops in the U.S., Canada and UK. 

Sarah Velasco: Anything else we should know? 

Jola Sonkin: All GoMacro boxes are made from molded pulp which is 100% post consumer corrugated waste. The boxes are 100% biodegradable and compostable. They can be used as seed starters and planted directly in the ground. Our waste MacroBar wrappers are sent to Terracycle to be recycled and Terracycle contributes two cents to a charitable organization for every wrapper that they receive.