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Meet the Founders: Chiara Munzi and Izzy Gorton of ChiChi Foods

Chiara Munzi and Izzy Gorton of ChiChi Foods

While attending Washington University in St. Louis, Chiara and Izzy were disappointed by lackluster breakfast options. So, this dynamic duo came up with a protein-packed hot cereal made from organic and regeneratively-grown chickpeas. For months, the two tirelessly dried and hand-rolled chickpeas in Chiara’s dorm before finally renting a commercial kitchen to expand production. 

Their grain-free recipe is made with just a few simple and natural ingredients, boasting less carbs and higher fiber than regular oatmeal. Choose between Banana Bread, Apple Pie, and Maple Syrup for a delicious and easy-to-make breakfast that can be whipped up in as little as two minutes. 

Recently, we caught up with Chiara and Izzy to learn more about their journey and hear their advice for fellow entrepreneurs.

ChiChi Grain Free

1. Why did you start ChiChi Foods?

We were frustrated with most easy breakfast foods. Cereal, toast, and breakfast bars caused an energy crash because they lacked protein and were packed with sugar and processed ingredients. Even oatmeal spiked our blood sugar and caused bloating. 

That’s why we turned to chickpeas. We started experimenting in our college dorm kitchen until we created a chickpea hot cereal that is high-protein, grain-free, and made with just a few simple ingredients. That is how ChiChi was born! 

2. What obstacles did you face along the way?

Launching ChiChi while in college presented us with a steep learning curve. In just months, we needed to understand everything from food production to packaging design to digital marketing and more! We made plenty of mistakes along the way but are so grateful to the food and beverage community for accepting us with open arms. 

Two girls about to eat some ChiChi grain free oatmeal

3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Build your business in public by sharing the ups and downs of your journey on social media. This transparency is scary at first, but it helps create a genuine connection with your audience and turns challenges into opportunities for engagement. 

Follow us on Instagram (@chickpeaoats) to see our own behind-the-scenes content!

4. What’s on the horizon for ChiChi Foods?

Listening to our customers to improve our products and add new flavors. We’re also working on a recipe book that will include chickpea waffles, pancakes, cookies, and other foods you can make with ChiChi.  

All the things you can make with ChiChi

5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?

Our motivation comes from the positive responses we get from our community. Every piece of feedback, whether it's an email, a social media mention, or a review, inspires us to keep going! Balancing work and life is still a challenge for our small team. Yet, we’re so passionate about revolutionizing breakfast with chickpeas that it doesn’t even feel like a job! 

Meet the Founder