Kay’s Naturals products were developed by Dr. Massoud Kazemzadeh (known as “Dr. Kay”) for his first wife Linda, a juvenile diabetic.
After receiving his Ph.D. in food science from Texas A & M University in the 1980s, Dr. Kay and Linda moved their young family to Minneapolis where Dr. Kay worked with several Fortune 500 companies in developing new snacks and cereals for the consumer market.
He was often concerned about the nutritional quality of the products he helped develop as they were nutrient poor – high in carbohydrates, but low in fiber and protein. After years of seeing his wife suffer with her illness he knew the marketplace offered few options for people with diabetes. A diabetic friendly diet is a reduced carbohydrate diet. All products in the snack and cereal markets – loved by consumers for their convenience – were mostly, if not all carbohydrate.
Sharing his thoughts with Linda, they developed the idea of starting a company that would make the snacks and cereals that consumers love in a healthier format: more protein and fiber. They registered the name “Kay’s Naturals” with the state of Minnesota and wrote a business plan. Dr. Kay began testing product prototypes. Sadly, just at this time, Linda’s diabetes took a turn for the worse and she passed away from complications related to diabetes in 1997.
After Linda’s passing, Kay’s Naturals would lay dormant for the next few years, but Dr. Kay and Linda’s dream was always present for him. He understood the food choice disadvantages facing people with diabetes and was committed to pursuing the plan he and Linda had worked so hard to develop. Eventually, Dr. Kay would marry Ann Jones, an attorney from Texas.
Understanding the importance of Linda and Dr. Kay’s dream , Ann would eventually take over the company and pursue marketing products for Kay’s Naturals. Dr. Kay would continue to develop light crunchy snacks and cereals that mimic popular consumer products with a healthier nutritional profile of approximately 33% soy protein, 10% fiber and 57% net carbohydrates. Today Kay’s Naturals sells a dozen products – 3 cereals, 4 snacks, 3 pretzels and 2 cookies. With a food scientist at the helm, Kay’s Naturals is always developing new products.
Once the original product – Protein Chips – launched, Dr. Kay and Ann found that people with diabetes were not the only ones looking for products higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. Athletes, body builders, individuals who have had weight loss (bariatric) surgery were among the groups that quickly responded to the company’s products. With the epidemic of obesity on the rise, Kay’s Naturals is committed to offering healthier, nutrient rich snack & cereal options to consumers. Eventually Dr. Kay found a wheat-gluten free formula worked very well for the products and the line has been wheat-free & gluten free since January 2009.