Waffles are a go to breakfast food for many people. There are frozen waffles, homemade, belgian waffles, Norwegian waffles, and everything in between. However, finding a waffle that can help keep you on track for your diet and weight loss or just general healthy lifestyle can be a hard thing to do. That is why Benedicte Engen created Viking Waffles.
“For years I had experimented with my own diet to create Viking Waffles, inspired by enhanced knowledge in nutrition and being a soccer athlete in Norway- I knew that the foods we choose to eat can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health and at the time I hated the feeling of restricting myself of my favorite food (norwegian waffles) in order to live healthy. I never really had a plan of making Viking Waffles a business but after authentically modelling how Viking Waffles improved my life, people kept asking about the recipe and product and combined with my extreme passion for healthy baking, Viking Waffles was born in NYC and from there my real motivation became hearing customer stories and impact Viking Waffles have on people’s health, from families and kids loving our brand to the opportunity to help people with serious weight issues, to support dedicated athletes or simply serve as a happy- convenient meal that taste amazing (and let the nutrition be the bonus) which I believe is the key to be able to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle without going on any diets,” Benedicte explains.
Benedicte started off with a plan to go to medical school to become a doctor. She quickly realized that this was not the path intended for her. She decided to give business a try feeling that she had nothing to lose if she failed. That is where her waffle adventure began.
“I dropped out of medical school in Norway to join a entrepreneurship and business english class for a semester in NYC that led me to stay in NYC to start my health food company with no prior business experience. As a young 24 year with little fear of failure, I learned step by step with a customer focused approach to validate my business idea and build Viking Waffles -the world’s healthiest waffles. I started making the waffles in a church kitchen to own a bakery in Manhattan,” Benedicte recounts.
A lot has changed for Benedicte and her business due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many other businesses, shortages have affected her business. She has been able to overcome the challenges and work hard to make sure her waffles were still in stock for the people who enjoy them.
“It’s definitely been a learning experience. Running a business during times of normalcy is challenging enough, so when a new set of challenges and the pandemic came, a lot of energy was spent knowing how to safely operate an essential food company, following CDC guidelines closely, and watching our sanitary operation. We had less people baking together in shifts to ensure social distancing. We were lucky to be operating as an e-commerce company before covid, but noticed the whole supply chain got affected and we had times where we had ingredient shortages causing delays which became our biggest challenge.
I think the most important step was to increase communication internally and with customers, which I truly believe built a closer community and stronger team as leadership in crisis got tested. We all can together stand through this with positivity, high morals and can learn how to see opportunities in a time of crisis. I’m also grateful for my team at Viking Waffles who showed true leadership and we learned that we have a very strong Viking Waffle community around us through all of this!” Benedicte exclaims.
Benedicte is hoping to continue to grow despite the challenges of Covid-19 and all that 2020 has brought. They hope to be able to launch their product in Europe as well in order to grow and expand the market reach of Viking Waffles.
“We hope to grow our online community and be as resourceful as possible with a customer approach to create more fun, healthy, and innovative Viking Waffle products and protein baked goods that make people happy and healthy. We also hope to launch in Europe by 2021,” Benedicte says.