Ingrained granola, raw bar bakery owner quit job in finance to provide fellow millennials with healthy food


CHICAGO (WLS) — Syndney Verwilst recently quit her job in finance to live her dream. The 27-year-old opened Ingrained, a health food bar that provides fellow millennials with healthy treats.

There’s something sweet about following your passion, especially when the taste is just as sweet for those you encounter.

“I would do it for free,” Verwilst said. “I just love watching others understand diets more.”

Verwilst’s passion grew out of pain. She battled an eating disorder as a teenager, and is glad she can now help others with their relationship to food.

“That’s what my whole brand is about,” she said. “It’s about purposeful eating. Like, purpose-driven eating.”

Ingrained opened near LaSalle and Chicago on the Near North Side in May. The health food shop specializes in granola and raw bars, which she calls Functional Frozen bars, the most popular items on the menu. The flavors change daily – Verwilst typically posts the next day’s menu on Ingrained’s Instagram account at night – and once they’re sold out, they’re sold out.

The colorful, psychedelically swirled snacks also help incorporate adaptogen/superfoods into one’s diet which can help boost energy during the day, according to Ingrained’s website.

Ingrained also sells six kinds of granola, all original recipes by Verwilst.

Consumer experts say millennials are more concerned about the food they put in their body than older generations, and that taste is just one of many factors.

“Millennials are just more able to sort of toggle through a bunch of information and make choices about what matters, and assuming they can afford it they’re willing to pay a small premium for food that is better for them,” said Jeff Fromm, co-author of “Marketing to Millennials.”

“We want to feel good after we eat something,” said Yulie Qiao. “The occasional chips, chicken nuggets, they’re awesome, but for a sustainable lifestyle you have to put good ingredients, good food in your body.”

Verwilst runs the business with her business partner and husband Andrew. You can visit Ingrained at 108 W. Chicago Avenue.

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