Meet the Producer: Julia Stamberger, Founder and CEO GoPicnicuser rating
Put simply, Julia Stamberger changed the way we eat on airplanes. In 2006, she launched GoPicnic, a line of shelf-stable, ready-to-eat meals developed specifically for in-flight dining for major airlines. Customers enjoyed an all-natural meal while the airlines appreciated the minimal prep and cleanup. Soon after, GoPicnic expanded its offerings to hotels, corporate events, college programs and more.
In 2010 Stamberger expanded the business again with GoPicnic Care Packages, giving consumers a thoughtful way to send familiar foods to family and friends who lived far away. Another year later, she began to focus on the health-conscious, busy consumer by introducing eight ready-to-eat boxed lunches for the retail market. These nutritionally balanced, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat boxed lunches and meal boxes require no refrigeration, heating, or preparation and are made with 100 percent natural ingredients.
Each meal is high in protein and fiber and weighs in at less than 500 calories, with such varieties as Hummus + Crackers, with Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame, a fruit-and-nut mix, and an organic dark chocolate square; and Salami + Cheese, featuring Old Wisconsin Beef Salami Slices, asiago cheese spread, a fruit-and-nut mix and a chocolate cookie cluster. GoPicnic’s offerings include gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, kosher and all-natural selections. As an added bonus, each box is compact—no bigger than a typical hardcover novel—and lightweight, so they’re easy to transport anywhere.
Stamberger shares more with foodspring.com:
What is your favorite product in your line and why?
I love our Salmon + Crackers. We designed our own tasty chili-lime salmon spread and combined it with crackers, dry-roasted edamame, and Ginger Zip, one of my favorites of our Sweet Perry Orchards fruit-and-nut mixes. Oh, and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert!
Who is your culinary idol and why?
Julia Child. First, she didn’t start cooking until her late 30s and didn’t start her chef career until her 40s. She was a true entrepreneur in her own right, and a bit of a revolutionary. She managed to get her start in the elitist French-cooking scene in the 1960s despite being both a woman and an American, two significant obstacles. Her cookbooks were two of the only ones my mother relied on when I was growing up.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Mac & cheese and fried chicken. Together, if possible.
Best meal ever?
Our Iron Chef competitive dinner parties: In 2000, my friends and I designed the format and have been hosting these annually with rotating competitors. We have two chef teams (chef and sous), one key ingredient, two weeks to prepare, and 12 dining judges. Each chef must make five dishes based on the key ingredient, and one must be dessert! Key ingredients have included orange, corn, onion, cheese, peach, cherry, egg, squash and, of course, bacon.
If you weren’t making healthy shelf-stable meals, what would you be doing instead?
I’d be starting another company of some kind—I’m like a lemming in that respect. Throughout my life, I was always working on starting some kind of business, including a black-market candy business, a DJ enterprise, a dot-com in the travel space, a music-management company, a not-for-profit teaching people interviewing and networking skills to secure new jobs, and now a new concept in nutritious grab-and-go meals. I love the food industry, very glad I ended up here, and I see new opportunities for great products every day. So if it wasn’t GoPicnic, at this point it would be another company specializing in tasty food; perhaps one in collaboration with my husband, who was most recently the Senior Global Grocery Buyer for Whole Foods Market and who just started his own natural-products consultancy.
Aside from your products, what three items can you always find in your kitchen?
Cheese (all kinds!), skim milk and espresso beans. After all, I was raised in Switzerland!