On the Trail: 26-year-old Houston native creates a guilt-free treat with a purpose
Justin Anderson’s relationship with granola didn’t start softly. When he was growing up, the Houston native and Woats Oatsnack founder broke a bracket on his braces when he bit into a hard cluster of the popular snack.
So he went into the kitchen to cook up a softer yet equally satisfying version with oats, honey and nuts. He started selling batches of his oaty goodness, and by age 16, he had his own company, called Anderson Trail. That brand is still on grocery shelves today.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur, driven by a positive upbringing and studies at Texas Christian University, is committed to helping the community and motivating people to follow their dreams, just as he did. He also credits the nonprofit Entrepreneurs for North Texas for proving it’s possible to lead by example and do good.
As a result, Anderson created another oat snack brand, Woats, that does more than satisfy cravings. The company plans to give back to the community in four ways:
- Giving three $1,000 merit-based scholarships to high school students every year
- Partnering with charities and promoting them through social media outlets monthly
- Providing organizational and financial resources to inspiring community projects
- Speaking engagements with children, in which Anderson can share his experiences following his dreams and empower kids to do the same
“We give 1 percent of our net revenue to supporting our mission of inspiring young adults to follow their passion and make an impact on the world,” says Anderson. “We all know there are companies with social missions, [most of which] benefit people in other countries. But there are so many people in America that need inspiration. Even if we’re doing it on a small, local level, there’s a great opportunity to help people.”
Currently Woats is available in three decadent flavors: Cookies n’ Dreams, Peanut Butter Graham Slam and Nuts About Berries. Anderson hesitates to call Woats “granola,” suggesting that it’s more of an indulgent snack. “It’s like the Ben & Jerry’s of oats,” he says.
Although Woats has a decadent quality, the clustered snack has between 120 and 130 calories and 9 to 11 grams of sugar per quarter cup, which Anderson points out is far less than most similar snacks on the market. Consider it a guilt-free treat.
Until Woats makes its grand announcement on Facebook about where to find bags in store (Anderson hopes next month), you can buy bags online for $6 each or three for $15. In the meantime, Anderson says he is considering funding requests on an individual basis.
“We’re looking to work with groups seeking fresh ideas and help with organizing so that they can make their project successful.”