The Conversation: Mark Patterson
Naturally Smart Foods
Photograph by Tiffany Manning
Mark Patterson started his Naturally Smart frozen dessert business to fill a hole in the market: his creamy concoction is not only simple and natural, but higher in protein than ice cream so it appeals greatly to the health foodies and exercise set. In just over two years, he has gone from toting pints around in his Mini Cooper to seeing it on the shelves of Whole Foods and thirty-five other locations to now shipping thousands of pints to Bahrain in the Middle East. Somehow, we were able to slow him down for a minute to answer some questions …
What prompted you to hone in on the frozen dessert market? Are you a big ice cream eater?
Growing up in upstate NY, ice cream was part of life. My mother had at least five gallon containers of ice cream in the freezer at all times – three boys, a husband and our friends created a big demand. I was in the restaurant industry here in Jacksonville Beach for almost twenty years. I needed an out and I was working on several ideas. My wife, Gail, and I are always looking for “better for you” options in grocery stores. Naturally Smart with higher protein and lower fat is the “better for you” option in the frozen dairy case. I became very passionate about Naturally Smart and here we are today.