Amy Cohn, Founder & CEO, has a hybrid of experience of building new businesses and growth for global brands to hyperlocal high-growth startups. She is a former tech and media exec running digital innovation at Disney, Oprah as well as startups. After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2020, she is now focused on creating accessible solutions for people with chronic conditions.
Her brand, Joydays is a next generation, functional food company offering low glycemic snacks with nostalgic flavors that don’t compromise on taste. They aim to be the brand leader in the blood sugar balance vertical which is becoming a rising trend.
What inspired you to start JoyDays?
We believe there is a shift in the food landscape that is moving from solving for general ‘healthy’ to food solving for specific health and medical concerns. Chronic conditions affect the majority of people, and yet modern brands aren't tackling these audiences or verticals.
51% of the US population currently have prediabetes or diabetes. 95% increase in T2 Diabetes diagnosis in youth in the last 15 years. This and conditions affected by blood sugar imbalance are the largest epidemics of our time, and affect people in food deserts and diverse communities the most. No one is currently creating accessible solutions that focus on this enormously underserved vertical.
Right now, when you walk into a convenience store, Walmart or other retail - the only snacks you can choose on the go to balance blood sugar are nuts or Glucerna - so people choose the Chips Ahoy or Cheetos instead. With 20% of meals eaten in the car, people need on the go solutions that also bring them joy. Food is often the first habit change in making better decisions, and having access to something that actually brings you joy and tastes good is key in that top of funnel habit change.
We polled 3000 people with diabetes, and asked them what they missed most - and the first answer was resoundingly that they missed cookies. So worked with top dieticians, doctors and chefs to create a first in market innovative product that won’t create blood sugar spikes. This was a scientific endeavor, which created a first ever unique product that has actual function.
More importantly, brands that are catered to this market are medicinal, dated and 'otherizing' - such as Glucerna. Our goal was to create a modern brand that could disrupt the medical diabetes shelves - and a mission that no one will ever feel 'otherized'.
Joydays are the perfect low-sugar treat you can give in your child's lunchbox, and an indulgent snack for you to keep in the pantry. We re-invented the chewy Chips Ahoy, and our cookies are delicious blood sugar-friendly snacks. Available in convenient 30g on-the-go-packs (two cookies per pack) in chocolate chip, double chocolate, and peanut butter flavors, they are low sugar (3g), low net carb (10g -11g), a good source of fiber (5g), and protein (3g). They contain low-glycemic ingredients and absolutely NO sugar alcohols!
We worked with top dieticians, doctors, and chefs to create a first-in-market innovative product that won't create blood sugar spikes.
What have been the biggest challenges for you as both a mom and a business owner? How do you balance the two?
I think it’s hard for any parent. It’s unfortunate moms get asked the question more about balance vs dad entrepreneurs.
How do you guide your children towards being healthier/ eating less sugar?
They will always be exposed to it, and we try to limit what we have in the house, but we don’t make it super restrictive - otherwise that’s counterproductive and makes them want it more. Best thing we can all do as parents is just to try to keep putting healthy foods in front of them, even if they refuse.
Is there any tips you have for new moms trying to navigate eating healthy while also being busy?
It’s hard for new moms. Don’t worry about eating healthy - you do you - you have enough to worry about. You need energy, so eat what makes you feel good.
What has been the most meaningful moment in building Joydays?
A child with T1 diabetes telling us not only did she love them and they didn’t spike her blood sugar - but more importantly she wasn’t embarrassed to have them in her lunchbox.
What do you wish more people understood about blood sugar?
It’s related to so many things and has the biggest impact on health - from cancers, to heart conditions to diabetes.
- 95% increase in T2 diabetes in the last 10 years with kids under 16 yrs.
- 2.4M deaths can be prevented by reducing 20% of sugar in packaged foods
- $250B / yr of medical costs are related to blood sugar imbalances
What do you hope to accomplish in 2023?
Work to create more meaningful connections with people. Be as good of a friend as I can, and show up for others. Be there to be a good listener and guide for my kids.