When it comes to food, ‘fun’ and ‘flavorful’ tend to describe sweets such as the triple chocolate ice cream in the fridge or the toasted coconut chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.
However, Ball State alumna Betsy Opyt hopes to put the “fun” and “flavor” into healthy eating options through her company, Betsy’s Best, with her gourmet nut and seed butter products in Naples, Florida.
“At the age of 13, I knew the connection of how nutrition plays a role in your fitness, your overall health and your ability to perform and excel better,” Opyt said. “I knew I was going to be an activist at helping others empower and improve their lives through healthier eating and lifestyle habits.”
Opyt’s first steps toward her 13-year-old self’s dream was attending Ball State because of its “strong” dietetics program, where she quickly earned the nickname “Betsy Crocker.”
“I was always creating and crafting things in the kitchen,” Opyt said. “I just loved playing around with recipes and seeing how I could make them healthier and just delicious.”
After graduating in 1999, Opyt became Miss Indiana in 2000. The Indiana Department of Education funded Opyt’s Miss Indiana platform, “A Healthy Beginning,” to spread her passion for healthy living across the state.
Over the course of a year, Opyt traveled to more than 110 schools and educated children aged between kindergarten and high school about “information that would help them, their bodies and their lifestyles to make them feel better.”
Following her time as Miss Indiana, Opyt gained work experience through different dietary jobs in both Indiana and Florida, where she moved with her husband.
In 2013, Opyt finally fulfilled her 13-year-old self’s dream by kick-starting her own dietary consulting company, specializing in preventative work to optimize clients’ diets in hopes they would avoid common sicknesses.
Betsy’s Best followed later that year after Opyt needed a way to get her 3-year-old daughter to eat nut butters.
When it came to the creation of Betsy’s Best, Opyt wasn’t alone. In 2011, she met her business partner, Ron Nordmann, a former 30-year Wall Street employee, when he and his wife contacted her looking for a personal trainer.
By the end of 2012, Opyt and Nordmann had created Healthy Concepts Food Co, LLC.
Before meeting Opyt, Nordmann said he knew next to nothing about food, but after tasting her nut butters, he said his feelings were “love at first bite.”
“I always equated health food with something that tasted like cardboard, but the stuff she brought my wife and I was absolutely delicious,” Nordmann said.
In five short years, Opyt has created five different gourmet nut and seed butters which have been tested and approved by family and clients.
Mina Bobel, Opyt’s mother, said she currently has all five flavors sitting on her counter. She also professed her husband’s addiction, and said he has been eating them by the spoonful.
“[When you eat the butter,] you say ‘Is this good for you?’ Bobel said. “This tastes too good to be good for you.”
In 2013, Opyt set up her first booth at her local farmers market in Naples, Florida, where many customers agreed with her mother and business partner — the butters tasted great. To prepare for the likely sell out, friends and family would pitch in to help jar about 200 butters in a church kitchen Friday night.
One year later, Opyt approached the Whole Foods regional buyer about a trial period to get her butters on their shelves at the Naples store.
After listening to her story, the buyer gave Opyt access to the entire network of Whole Foods stores in Florida.
Since then, Opyt said her gourmet nut butters have made their way to many more stores and become the best-selling gourmet butters in Naples, Florida.
Opyt hopes to make her gourmet butters more accessible in other grocery shopping outlets across America, expand her brand beyond the production of gourmet nut butters and continue to change people’s minds about what’s “fun” and “flavorful” with her healthy eating products.
“With my nut butters, I’m hoping I’m inspiring people to make healthy eating fun,” Opyt said.
Contact Adam Pannel with comments at email@example.com.