A Healthy Indulgence

Delivering sweetness without the sugar

When CHARLOTTE GROSHON competed in a fitness show in 2013, she learned a lot about nutrition and meal planning during her fourteen-week training period.

“I have the biggest sweet tooth,” Groshon says. “I need something sweet after every meal!”

She began to read product labels carefully and realized items packaged as healthy and sugar-free still contained hidden sugars in the form of barley malt, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup.

Groshon eliminated dairy from her diet seven years ago but struggled to find healthy options for her sweet tooth. “There are a lot of milk-free drink options available on the market, but not sweets,” she says.

Frustrated with the limited selection, Groshon launched Cravings. She has always baked at home for herself and family, and quickly realized she had formed a hobby that could be a business. In 2017, she quit her full-time accounting job and took a part-time gig at a local coffee shop to give her more time to focus on the business.

“In the beginning, there were more failed recipes than successful ones,” Groshon says with a laugh.

Within six months of creating and testing recipes, she rolled out her first product – a protein muffin. Chickpea peanut butter blondies and black bean brownies soon followed.

“Those are still my top sellers,” she says.

Groshon began selling her products at farmers markets and a couple of coffee shops.

She now distributes more than 750 fresh-baked snacks each week to fourteen wholesale locations in the area, including Grinders Caffé, Social Coffee and Supply Co., Java Dog, and Luna Caffè in Wilmington; Island Wellness in Carolina Beach; SUNdays in Wrightsville Beach; Matter More Coffee in Hampstead; and Delilah’s Brew and Chew in Ocean Isle Beach. You can also find her at the seasonal farmers markets at Poplar Grove on Wednesdays and Tidal Creek on Saturdays.

All Cravings wholesale and personal orders are preservative-free and baked the same day as delivery. Groshon’s website (cravingsthehealthyfix.com) includes online ordering and a full list of locations.

She bakes cookies and muffins with wholesome ingredients such as whole oats, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. Simple spices such as ginger and clove add flavor. Groshon uses oat flour and almond milk to make gluten-free and vegan items.

“Oats are naturally gluten free. Almond flour has a great consistency. The natural fats from almonds give it a butter texture, which is perfect for baked goods,” she says. “Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute for oil, and agave gives a sweet flavor without spiking blood sugar as much.”

As consumers continue to seek out healthy alternatives for everyday favorites and struggle with dietary constraints and desires, Groshon knows the need to satiate taste buds, which can be hard to do with legumes as the main ingredient.

“I want to make products that are delicious, but still good for you. Eat it, enjoy it, and don’t feel guilty about it,” she says.

She hopes to grow her business by moving into a commercial kitchen in downtown Wilmington. A larger space will allow her to be more efficient with a larger oven as well as add more wholesale accounts, and a freezer section will allow her to move into markets outside of Wilmington. She also wants to experiment with plant-based ice cream cookie sandwiches.

“I never thought it would be what it is today,” she says. “Cravings has taken off and it’s busy.”

To view more of photographer Megan Deitz’s work, go to megandeitz.com.

Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for WILMA newsletters and announcements.

Categories: Health