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"I jumped on board with IDDSI because I’ve always believed it would reduce errors in the food served to people."

John Holahan

Image by João Silas
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  • Writer's pictureJohn Holahan

A Beautiful Partnership

This week I attended the ribbon cutting at the Trisco Foods’ new factory in Colorado Springs, CO.   This represented the culmination of many years of hard work and cemented the beautiful partnership between Trisco Foods and SimplyThick.  I am so proud to be a part of such an innovative partnership that is Making People’s Lives Better, around the world, every day. Thanks to the entire Trisco team for your hard work to bring this factory on line!

This also is good time to take a moment to stop and reflect on what led up to this momentous (and unlikely) partnership!

In 2001 in the matter of about 2 weeks, I completed my MBA, my wife quit her job, and our first child was born.  I also made a choice that shocks many people. I turned down a “safe” job at a big company with excellent benefits, bonuses and stock options, and instead, I started SimplyThick, LLC.

The reason was simple:  I felt that by pursuing and developing SimplyThick gel thickener, I had the opportunity to Make People’s Lives Better.   Over the years I’ve always held onto this concept in my decision making – We Make People’s Lives Better.

SimplyThick gel thickener, what we now affectionately call “Classic SimplyThick” was revolutionary.  It was a dramatic break from the status quo and changed the face of the thickeners for people with swallowing problems. 

For example in 2001, it was “common knowledge” that you couldn’t give people the thickening agent we use (xanthan gum) because it “causes dehydration”.  We fought that with science and the truth.  Now nearly every competitor we have uses xanthan gum in at least some of its products. Today, the quality of products offered and the beverages they can make far exceed anything that was imaginable in 2001. 

A few years ago, I came across a technology that solved the biggest issue with Classic SimplyThick.  Classic SimplyThick had to be mixed vigorously with a FORK or shaken in a closed container to work.  This new technology could be gently mixed with a spoon to thicken!  It was the technology of another company – Trisco Foods, Ltd.  And it was only available in Australia and the South Pacific at the time.

It was a shocking moment.  A threat to our business.  A technology improvement that I - the inventor of Classic SimplyThick - didn’t create. The question before us was how to respond?  We had many options.  Most of them involved protracted business and intellectual property battles. 

For me, it was 2001 all over again.  I had to ask myself - which option will allow me to help more people improve their quality of life the fastest?  And then the choice was simple, we had to partner with Trisco, if possible.  You can read more about my decision making process here

Eventually we worked out an agreement.   For now, I won’t share the details of the starts, stops, bad choices, near misses and heartache before we finally reached that agreement.  And on February 1, 2018, using Trisco’s technology, we launched SimplyThick EasyMix!  The new formula has been a hit with customers.

In fact, it has been such a hit that we needed the capacity of the new factory.  So, it was with great pride, admiration and happiness to be there to see the ribbon cut on the next phase of our joint quest to Make People’s Live Better!



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