SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 9, 2014

Peabody businesswoman Anne Counihan offers snacks in a bag

By John Castelluccio
Staff Writer

---- — PEABODY — Anne Counihan is a self-professed “sweet freak,” but she found that the processed sugar in candy, desserts and most other foods the average American consumes was just too much for her. So, she decided to make her own dried fruit snacks and market them.

“All Fruit Inc. was started because I wanted to share with others my love for a healthy snack option,” she said. “It seems today that our food is far too often dipped, coated or sprinkled with some sort of sugar or flavor enhancer to make it more appealing. I am not sure why that practice was started except to get us hooked on cane sugar.”

Counihan, a 58-year-old Salem resident with a background in sales and electronic distribution, said she dried meats, particularly chicken, for years, but became interested in dried fruit as a snack for her son.

“We started mixing nuts in with the fruit because it added a different taste to the already yummy dried fruit,” she said.

“I started the business mostly because a friend of my husband said it was too complicated to start a food business. I took it as a personal challenge,” she said. All Fruit Inc. was founded in June 2010 but sat idle for three years while Counihan worked her full-time day job as a sales representative at an electronics company. Last June, she was laid off and used the opportunity to “push the dried fruit business forward.”

Counihan said she was fortunate to find a perfect spot in Peabody from which to kick the business into gear, and she began renovations at a vacant commercial unit at 76 Walnut St. in November. This May, she finally got the business up and running, with a marketing plan in place for U-Fruit Dried Fruit and Nut Zip-Ups. There are 12 combinations of fruit and nut mixes available in individually wrapped, resealable bags.

The snacks are low in calories, and the only sweetener is the natural sugar contained in the fruit, which also acts as a natural preservative, according to Counihan. Flavors range from tropical blends to Pearstachio — pears and pistachios — and apple pie. Other mixes include strawberry, cantaloupe, cinnamon and macadamia nuts.

Counihan plans to sell the snacks at farmers markets and to local grocers or natural foods markets, such as Shubie’s in Marblehead, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Counihan will be a vendor at this year’s Peabody farmers market, which begins July 15. She’ll also be selling online at www.allfruitinc.com.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.