On May 5, Sarah Steinbrunner became a CFAES alumna. The next morning, she began her new job as an associate scientist at Abbott Nutrition in Columbus.
“It was really fast. I’m doing product research and development,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
At Abbott, Steinbrunner is assigned to nutritional products.
All the while, Steinbrunner continues to work evenings on a venture with her business partner, Taylor Crooks. It is a brand of allergen-friendly chickpea butter spreads that she developed while still a student majoring in food science and technology.
“I never really saw myself as an entrepreneurial person, but Taylor always saw himself as one. I knew I wanted to create products that help people,” she said. “This all fell into place. This is exactly what I wanted to do.”
She is gaining real business experience as she continues to make spreads from the pilot plant at the Wilbur A. Gould Food Industries Center, which is part of CFAES’ Department of Food Science and Technology.
“There is so much that you really don’t learn until you are thrown into that situation,” she said.
The products, branded as “Yippea,” can be purchased at local farmers markets and Whole Foods stores in Columbus and online at yippea.com. The brand was originally called “Beannut Butter,” but was renamed to improve search engine optimization and to clarify that the products do not contain nuts.
“We wanted something short that would roll off the tongue. ‘Yippea’ is a play on the word ‘chickpea’ and it also means happy,” she said.
The rebrand was a tough decision because the products won several competitions under their old name and gained good exposure.
Partly due to her entrepreneurial nature, Steinbrunner was named a 2019 CFAES Distinguished Senior before graduation, which she described as flattering.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I feel like a lot of the opportunities and accolades were because of all of the work we put into the business, and all we have accomplished.”