August 2021

Local Plant-Based Health Bar

By brad kava

As a mom of three kids who moved to Santa Cruz from Stockholm, Sweden two years ago, one of the first new experiences for Jessica Wikingellism 33, was making lunch.

In Sweden, schools provide food for all the students.

“I am not a chef, nor do I like to cook, so naturally I started to look for healthy snacks to put in my kids lunch boxes,” she recalls. “I also wanted something for myself since I often forget to eat lunch while working from home or running errands.

I have always cared for my health being an old track and field athlete and also with a family that likes to be outdoors and active. To my surprise in a country that has everything, I had a hard time finding a snack that contained nutrients, with low amounts of sugar and that was organic.”

She asked a chef friend to help her find something that was plant based, tasted good but didn’t contain more than 10 grams of sugar, but he didn’t know of any. She also wanted something that had twice as much protein as sugar.

“I was tired of all the date bars or protein bars that only tasted like protein powder and chemicals, so I decided to make my own. I wanted a natural bar that contained a lot of nutrients, no gluten, GMO, dairy or nuts with low amounts of sugar but enough protein for me and my kids. I experimented a lot with different ingredients until I found 5-10 ingredients that were all natural, organic and could be combined into a bar that would not only taste good but as a rule of thumb, contained twice as much protein as sugar.”

She was tired of brownies and cookies and wanted flavors that would go well together, like beet and coconut, with sweet and sour tastes that were surprisingly good.

Thus was born Växa Bars. The name came from the word grow in Swedish. “It just kind of came to me because I have small children and I wanted them to grow in a healthy environment and I wanted it to be in Swedish to bring my heritage to the bland.

Her picky eater kids, Love,5, (pronounced Lu-vey in Swedish), Wilder, 3, and River, 8 months, were her first taste subjects and the bars passed their tests.

“My kids don’t understand the benefits of nutrition rich diets yet, for them it’s all about the flavor. With Blueberry Choco, No-Nut PB&J with sunflower butter and raspberries and Orange Tumeric, with orange peel, tumeric and apricots and finally, beet coconut.

“We have the flavor options to satisfy your entire household.”

Jessica is a brand consultant who specializes in social media management and her husband, Jake, a Santa Cruz native who met her in Brazil, is a product manager for a company that sells hospital supplies to emerging markets.

But this new endeavor is really taking off. The bars are being sold at AJ’s Market, The Point Market, Soul Salad, Aptos Natural Foods and Wild Roots Market.
Learn more at

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