2600 years ago, ancient Greeks developed a very sophisticated diet which helped them nourish their creativity and sustain through battles. And since the 19th century, a man named Yannis Varellas’ family has been milling grains in Greece and enjoying their own family recipes. For five generations, love and dedication to their lands and crops was inherited from one generation to another and now, here in 2023 Yannis has taken all and brought it to the United States and packaged it up under his OLYRA Foods company name, while allowing all of us to shop for his family’s breakfast biscuits and more in over 5000 stores such as Sprouts Market, Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Fresh Market, Stop & Shop, Giant etc. as well as independent stores.
Yannis and his company want to communicate ancient Greek values to people’s diet through modern people’s needs and he spoke to us about it all in an exclusive one-on-one discussion.
1. Yannis, tell us first, how has OLYRA helped make breakfast and snacks in general healthier for all?
A few years ago, observing the growth of breakfast biscuits and the need for healthy breakfast snacks, I came up with the idea of offering the first ever organic and nutritious breakfast biscuits. OLYRA has made breakfast healthier by using simple and real ingredients as well as ancient Greek Grains, to provide the sustained energy each consumer needs. These ingredients are known for their health benefits and are rich in nutrients, so each Olyra pack offers 4g of fiber, 5g of protein and only 6g of sugars. I am very glad that we have helped consumers make more informed choices about what they eat for breakfast and snacks, and this can lead to a healthier diet overall.
2. Your company & products are 100 years in the making. Explain this to us!
Since the 19th century, my family has been milling grains. For five generations, love and dedication to our lands is inherited from one generation to the next. Working closely with a community of farmers, we grow the same grains on the land of our ancestors. Our grains are traditionally stone-ground.
Inspired by the wisdom of Ancient Greeks, I studied their sophisticated diet and came up with the unique recipe of Olyra Breakfast Biscuits. Using innovative production methods, we created Olyra breakfast biscuits that meet the modern needs of our consumers. OLYRA’s focus on ancient greek diet and ingredients is a way of honoring and preserving the cultural heritage of Greek food, while also offering consumers healthier and more sustainable snack and breakfast options.
3. What has the feedback been on your products since it launched across the United States from Greece?
OLYRA products have been widely accepted since they were launched in the United States. Consumers appreciate OLYRA’s focus on using real ingredients, ancient grains as well as their commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing practices. The most important reviews we receive from our customers are about the taste and quality of our products and we are very proud to offer a healthy and delicious snack as a breakfast option to our consumers.
4. What other products are coming up for OLYRA?
Three months ago, we launched our cream filled breakfast biscuits, crunchy biscuits with a creamy filling inside. They come in 3 delicious flavors: Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate and Almond Butter. This extremely mouthwatering snack offers 5g of protein, 4g of fiber and only 6g of sugars and follows the same guiding principles: “sustained energy from organic and simple ingredients that promote a balanced lifestyle”. We are constantly looking for opportunities to bring healthier, yet organic and convenient snacks to the US market and are very excited to launch our next products in a couple of months.
5. Does OLYRA have any nutritionists or health experts as part of the company? How do you ensure your products/formulas remain top grade?
We work closely with a team of expert food scientists and nutritionists to ensure our products’ nutrition and ingredient profiles. We also send our breakfast biscuits to specialized labs that perform multiple tests to ensure that all our products meet specific nutritional and safety standards and remain top grade.
6. Where can people get your products today?
OLYRA is the fastest growing natural Breakfast Biscuits brand in the US our products are sold nationally. Today we are in 5000 stores in key accounts such as: Whole Foods, Sprouts Market, Publix, Kroger, Fresh Market, Giant, Sam’s Club etc as well as many independent stores. Our products are also sold through Amazon and our e-commerce.
7. Anything else on the health topic you’d like us to include or for our readers to know?
In 2001 the natural, organic, and functional Food & Beverage market in the USA was $1b and today it is more than $180 billion. Nowadays, US consumers are looking for breakfast snacks that fulfill three major pillars: convenience, good-sustained energy, and of course delicious taste. I truly believe we can learn a lot from the wisdom of Ancient Greeks and their holistic life approach. Today more than ever Hippocrates quote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” is more relevant.
Μoderation in everything is the key to a well-balanced lifestyle, so we encourage all our consumers to eat healthy, get regular physical activity, maintain good sleep hygiene and prioritize their mental health.