Seven Sundays is an exemplary business not just for its growth, but in how it has grown. From the start, Hannah prioritized working directly with farmers whenever possible, finding new and thoughtful routes to ingredients, and authentically telling the brand’s unique story.
This company with a regional grain footprint has a sweet origin story: when Hannah Barnstable and her husband Brady discovered muesli while on their honeymoon in New Zealand, they realized it was a healthy breakfast that they’d be proud to popularize back home. In 2011, Hannah started off preparing the first batches of Seven Sundays muesli by hand in a commercial kitchen space she rented, selling it at Minneapolis farmers’ markets. Concocted from rolled oats and a variety of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, muesli can be soaked overnight, cooked like oatmeal, or even used as an ingredient in cookies. Wondering about the name? Just imagine a week of Sundays, where you “live the most simply and deliberately.” Yeah, it sounds pretty great.
A decade in the books, Seven Sundays is an exemplary business not just for its growth, but in how it has grown. From the start, Hannah prioritized working directly with farmers whenever possible, finding new and thoughtful routes to ingredients, and authentically telling the brand’s unique story. As Seven Sundays has expanded, they’ve shifted the traditional ingredient sourcing methods many CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies employ, of working with aggregators, brokers, and distributors toward working directly with farmers and processors. Doing so means lower costs for Seven Sundays, tighter relationships, and better insights into how the ingredients they use are grown and processed.
In fact, Seven Sundays’ commitment to local sourcing and relationships led to an Oat Pilot Project in 2018, a collaboration between a network of Midwest farmers, and contacts at Oatly, AGC member Practical Farmers of Iowa, Grain Millers, and Sustainable Food Lab. The goal of the project is to build a larger base of farms that can produce food-grade oats in the corn belt. For their part, Seven Sundays is providing cost sharing, a price premium for transitional and organic oats, and estimates of how many acres of production they can use, which helps farmers plan their season. As they wrote in September 2021 on their blog, “In the 3 years since the start of the program, we have increased our oat acreage from one farmer with 100 acres to five farms totaling almost 500 acres enrolled in the program.”
For crops not grown locally, such as coconut, Seven Sundays established a supplier approval program to help ensure quality and keep an eye towards continuous improvement. Brady explains, “When I have options, I’ll look at sustainability and social impact such as Fair Trade practices to help pick the suppliers which are most aligned with our values.” This approach is in line with the standards required to maintain their Certified B Corp status, which they’ve held since 2019.
All of this focus comes from a genuine concern for the impact their purchasing has on regenerative agriculture, farmers, and community, so Seven Sundays discusses that in their consumer messaging. “Regenerative agriculture is a complex story. We try to keep the messaging simple, be transparent, connect with our farmers, share their stories, continue to learn, and hope that our consumers will see over time that we’re moving things in the right direction,” Brady explains.
Seven Sundays speaks frankly about things like the presence of glyphosate (Roundup) in commodity oats (they test routinely for glyphosate and have never detected it in their products), the necessity of soil health and their role as a food business in supporting it, and they also offer lots of information about their farmer suppliers, such as buckwheat from Whole Grain Milling, flax from AGC member Askegaard Organic Farm, and sunflowers from AGC member Field Theory.
Always innovating, Seven Sundays recently expanded their product offerings. In addition to eight types of muesli, including Certified Gluten Free and grain-free blends, they now also carry a line of cereals made with upcycled sunflower seeds in flavors such as Maple Sea Salt and Real Berry.
Shop and stay in touch with Seven Sundays using the links below. You’re sure to enjoy the playful tone you’ll find in their newsletters and even more so in their social media—they can get mighty creative with those reels!