The Next-Gen Olive Brand
After sampling over 50 types of olives across six countries, Nikki Seaman created Freestyle Snacks for the modern consumer.
After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).
Nikki Seaman, an Atlanta resident and University of Pennsylvania graduate, recently launched her innovative olive brand, Freestyle Snacks. Seaman, who started her career in management consulting at Bain & Company, has always had a passion for understanding consumer preferences. She worked alongside consumer packaged goods industry veterans at PepsiCo and Whisps, studying the role that health and convenience play in customers’ purchasing decisions, before embarking on her own path.
“For far too long, olives have been doomed to cans and jars, showing an unappealing ‘eyeball aesthetic,’ a bland taste, and an inconvenient experience,” she said. “At Freestyle, we’re giving consumers the taste with none of the hassle. We’re sourcing and producing the highest quality, best-tasting snacks and serving them in on-the-go, friendly, re-sealable and — dare I say? — sexy packaging.”
An avid olive lover, Seaman wanted to apply the innovative packaging design she observed with cheeses, salami and even tuna fish to a category she considered unsuited for the modern consumer lifestyle. Using COVID precautions to her advantage, Seaman noticed that retailers like Whole Foods had removed their open olive buffet bars, which could be messy and require draining. Plus, “the traditional retail olive-positioned shopping aisles are unimpressive,” she said, “showing watery, bland brands that have olive ‘eyeball’ photos staring at you.”
After sampling over 50 types of olives across six countries, Seaman identified and sourced the perfect Greek olives from the Kalamata region, which she finds to be more flavorful. She also set about designing convenient, liquid-free pouches to satisfy those quick, savory cravings and located a co-packer in Boston. Freestyle olives are marinated in EVOO and all natural spices. They are low-calorie, plant-based, sugar-free and filled with heart-healthy fats. They’re also high in antioxidants, Vitamin E, copper, calcium and iron. The first three flavors include Kalamata Olives Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Green Olives Lemon Garlic and Green Olives Hot & Spicy. A package of 32-35 olives retails for $4.99.
Olives are traditionally found in the Mediterranean basin and have a long Jewish history. Travelers to Israel and Greece are taught about the history of the olive tree, including one of the most enduring metaphors for peace — to extend an olive branch. They are technically drupes, part of the stone fruit family that also includes peaches, mangoes and cherries. Olives are often bitter when eaten directly from a tree, becoming savory and flavorful only when they are cured in brine.
Now, Seaman is working on building a strong valuation for her brand so she can appear on the popular TV show “Shark Tank.” In addition to inventing new snacks, Seaman enjoys spending time with her husband and Sheepadoodle, Lila. In addition to olives, she’s an enthusiast of red wine.