Christmas morning idea sparks new company

8:50 AM, Dec 16, 2010   |    comments
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Chris Haase was home for the holiday, when the idea for FruTons came to him.

"I awoke to a smell of my youth, a fresh baked loaf of my mother's banana bread cooling downstairs," Haase explained. "I had my 'ah ha' moment."

He started thinking about how to turn the banana bread into a crispy snack. He told his mother about his idea and they got straight to work.

"Within 15 minutes my mother, Jeri, the original baker and inspiration for FruTons, was cutting the banana bread loaf into cubes and we were giving them a second bake to see if there was any validity to the idea. Two hours later, we turned out the initial batch. We knew right away we had something special," Haase said.

"You could snack on them all day anytime, at home, at work, or even in the car, instead of pigging out on cookies and chips," he added.

The company now sells the square shaped treats in four different flavors, all of which are made from natural ingredients. While FruTons are based on fattening baked goods, Haase says they've worked hard to cut down on the saturated fats and calories.

"It had to be a healthier formula than the snacks we were replicating, as banana breads, coffee cakes and lemon poppy muffins are just swimming in saturated fat, calories and bad cholesterol," Haase explained.

The team was able to cut the total fat from almost seven grams per serving to just three, better than 50 percent. They cut the saturated fat from almost four grams down to just one per serving, nearly a 75 percent in the reduction of unhealthy fat. They cut the calories in half, the fat calories by 66 percent and the cholesterol by almost 70 percent.

Chris Haase is an unlikely CEO. Four years ago, he was teaching his 8th grade history in Gilbert, Ariz.

"After the sudden passing of my father to a heart attack at age 51, the entrepreneurial spirit of my dad, a former CEO in his own time, began to grow in me," Haase said.

FruTons are currently sold on Amazon.com, but the company has big expansion plans, including stores and vending machines. You can learn more about Haase and his company by going to their website: www.cravefrutons.com.

9NEWS Business Reporter Gregg Moss frequently profiles successful and fun companies throughout the metro area and sometimes further afield in his Where In The Town segment. Know an interesting local company? Let Gregg know, by CLICKING HERE.

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